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Should you go to jail because you suffer from an addiction?

People struggle to understand what it's like to suffer from addiction. In fact, you might not even truly understand it. You might feel like the addiction owns you, which makes it difficult for you to move past it. Additional problems arise when you encounter law enforcement since their function remains enforcing the law despite the fact that you need help shaking your addiction instead of just spending time in jail.

What happened when I used drugs for the first time?

You made a conscious decision to take drugs the first time, but that voluntary decision more than likely went from a want to a need that you could no longer deny. What causes this? Your brain releases a chemical called dopamine when you take drugs. Dopamine (the "feel good" hormone) causes the "high" that you feel.

The real problem begins when your brain no longer releases enough dopamine to achieve that high. Your body builds up a tolerance to the drugs you take, which means that you fail to experience the same high from the same amount of drugs. Therefore, you take more in order to achieve the same result. Before you know it, you no longer control the drugs; instead, the drugs control you.

What happens to my brain and body once the addiction takes hold?

First, other sources of pleasure in your life begin to take a backseat to the drugs. Food might not taste good anymore, and your friends and family may no longer give you the happiness they used to provide. The longer you use drugs you may experience the following changes:

  • Your ability to make decisions declines.
  • Your stress increases.
  • Your judgment becomes compromised.
  • Your memory functions suffer.
  • Your ability to learn new things declines.
  • Your behavior changes to a point where you probably don't even recognize yourself.

Your friends and family more than likely fail to recognize you anymore as well. They might try to point out these changes in you, but without taking steps to help you get away from the drugs, their concern means almost nothing, especially since you might no longer care what anyone else thinks.

Why did I become addicted when so many others don't?

The prevailing theories regarding addiction indicate the following:

· Development: The earlier you start taking drugs, the more likely you will become addicted to them. Teens face the greatest risk of addiction for this reason.
· Biology: Research shows that some mental disorders, your ethnicity and your gender set the stage for a potential addiction to drugs.
· Environment: The people in your life affect whether you use drugs. Peer pressure, abuse and stress increase your risk. Even your economic status, lack of parental guidance and exposure to drugs at an early age could influence whether you take that first step into addiction.

Regardless of what caused you to take drugs in the first place, you suffer from an addiction. Would it really serve you best to spend time in jail? More than likely, it would only increase your desire for drugs, and the cycle could continue. You need treatment to get to the root of your problem in order to defeat the addiction. You need to learn different ways to cope with the stresses of life so that you never return to using drugs.

If you face drug charges, you need an attorney who understands these needs. He or she should fight for your right to a second chance at life. No one should tell you that you are beyond help. You deserve the chance to find your way back from this nightmare.

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