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Thrive | Mental Health

Addiction and its Effects on the Mind

Addiction can be a serious problem among young people. With rising mental health issues and external pressures, many young people can turn to recreational drugs to deal with their problems and feelings. If you become reliant on drugs, then you can, unfortunately, become addicted. According to the NHS, 1 in 3 people suffers from addiction.

You can become addicted to lots of different things such as weed (cannabis) and other drugs, gambling, alcohol, and nicotine. Addiction can cause changes to the brain’s natural balance as it alters its chemistry and changes its communication patterns. Eventually, it can affect the brain’s structures and the way it functions.
Despite its dangers, there is a misconception between abuse and addiction among many young people.

Abuse

Abuse is when you use a substance in the wrong ways. For example, you might abuse prescription drugs by using more than the recommended amount. Abuse tends to be easier to stop with the right help, such as talking to your GP.

Addiction

Addiction is when you feel incomplete without the substance, or you feel you need it throughout the day. It’s when you can’t stop using something. Eventually, it can lead to problems that can affect you financially and can lead to pushing away family members and friends. You feel you want the drug all the time and you might find it difficult to stop using it.

Due to the brain enjoying the experience and the relief it gives, you might feel the urge to carry on using the substance. One of the main reasons why young people use drugs is due to the release of dopamine; a chemical released by the brain which gives a pleasurable feeling. Dopamine release can occur from things such as feelings of love and affection. Those using drugs may carry on taking the drug as they become addicted to the release of dopamine and the associated feelings of happiness.

Where to get help

The stronger the drug and the more often it’s used, the higher the likelihood that it can impact your overall mental health as a young person. Addiction is treatable, and there are many ways to overcome it and lots of support out there to do so. If you’re struggling with addiction, remember you can always talk to your GP or speak to Frank on 82111 or 0300 123 6600.

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