How many of you are psychologists? I’m not, obviously, but my source is–a psychopharmacologist–one who studies drugs and the effects they have on the brain and body–to be specific.
Don’t get me wrong. Addiction IS hard to overcome. It IS really, really damaging to your health. My only point is that this idea that “drug addiction changes your brain” is total hogwash. It alters the chemistry of your brain for a short while. Overdoses can lead to other side effects, as kaleid pointed out. Brain damage can certainly occur. However, the idea that drugs actually change your brain–fool your brain into requiring the substance–it’s just not true. What makes narcotics abuse so dangerous is the environment in which it occurs compounded with the effects of the drugs themselves. Drug abuse is often coupled with poverty, homelessness, and other health issues. Drug abuse is also very often co-morbid with depression and/or other disorders.
All I’m saying is that rather than spreading this mantra that drugs are unbeatable, brain morphing substances is incorrect and unproductive. If we want to solve the substance abuse issues that plague many of our cities, we have to step back for a second and admit that it’s a manageable, beatable problem–if we can’t do that, we’ve already lost the fight.
Finally, to those of you who assume that I haven’t had family or friends with diseases or addiction issues–you assume too much. I just don’t give in to the hype as fast as you do.