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Drug Addiction

People become addicted to drugs either because they haw been prescribed them bv a doctor for use over some lime, or because they enjoy the pleasurable effect a drug gives and go on to take it habitually and in increasingly large amounts, So-called soft drugs, those that are only mildly addictive, such as codeine, or apparently non-addictive, such as cannabis, may be used without serious psychological effects. It is the so-called hard drugs such as heroin that can lead to severe addiction, since they must be taken in bigger doses to maintain the pleasurable effect. The mortality rate among heroin addicts is very high. Some precribed drugs are also addictive. They include the benzodiazepine drugs, such as the tranquillizers Valium and Ativan, and sleeping tablets such as Normison and Mogadon. For a short time these drugs are very effective, but tolerance and then dependence can occur after a month or so, without one realizing. Volatile substances such as glue, if inhaled, may also lead to addiction. Drug addiction leads to physical and mental breakdown, since the body's chemistry is disturbed.

Treatment

Drug addicts need help but are unlikely to seek it if their addiction is to an illegal drug such as heroin. It is important, therefore, to recognize drug addiction early if possible, and act quickly. Generally the best action is to consult your doctor who, if the problem seems to be some prescribed drug, will recommend steps that you can take to break the habit. If, on the other hand, the problem arises in a young person whose drug abuse is related to emotional problems, it is important first to gain his or her confidence so that the problem can he discussed openly. Hospital treatment will he necessary, first to break the habit and then to prevent renewed addiction by psychiatric treatment.

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