I stand in front of the mirror, I see the dark shadows under my eyes. My cheekbones stand out, as my eyes sink into my face and my cheeks delineate my face. My jawline stands out.
I run my fingers through my hair, as I reach the ends, I get almost a handful of hair that falls off. I look back at the dull, unhappy reflection in the mirror.
I don’t eat, I hardly drink any liquids. My body feels brittle, weak, and paper thin. My teeth begin to peel off.
I can see all the detrimental effects of my daily choice. Yet, I can’t stop myself. I have to keep going. I need to do it again.
According to the National Institute of Health, drug addiction is characterized by compulsively seeking and using an external chemical substance, despite the physical and mental damage that comes with it.
This occurs due to the neurochemical changes that go on in the brain, while an individual consumes his/her drug of choice. These chemicals affect, primarily, the limbic system; also known as the reward system. The overstimulation that the drug has on the brain, makes the user feel a euphoric high, which prompts him/her to reuse the drug. However, the continuous use of the drug gets the brain acquainted with the overflow of neurotransmitters, as a result, the brain adapts to it. Hence, tolerance levels continue to rise, which in turn prompts the user to increase dose and frequency use of his/her drug of choice. All to get the same ‘high’ as the first time the drug was used; they chase the high, at whatever the cost.
The nature of the addictive behavior can lead –and it often does – to relapse when a person is in recovery from drug use. However, this does not mean that once in a drug addiction, a person is doomed to stay there.
Treatment for drug abuse is tailored to the person’s drug of choice, and though it is not a cure, it can help them surpass their addiction and lead a normal life. Relapse in the shadows, waiting to pounce. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, or a sign of weakness, a relapse simply means –as the website maintains – that a different route in treatment is needed.
I’ve never experienced a drug abuse problem; however, I fully relate to people going through this chronic disease.
Fifteen years ago, a chubby teenager got tired of getting bullied for her weight problems, she found solace in an eating disorder: Anorexia.
I compulsively worked out, addicted to the feeling of accomplishment and the thought of being skinny. Even when I saw the detrimental effect on my mental and physical health, I couldn’t stop.
In both scenarios, I believe it takes determination, support, and a mindset to want change. To want to be free from that addiction.
It’s a lot of hard, everyday work, but it’s worth it.
In truth, “to be free is very sweet”.
An incurable passion for writing; a poet and storyteller at heart. I am a writer on the road.