Quest On Addiction FAQs

Que 1. What is the basic knowledge about drugs?
Ans. Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. Some are medicines that help people when doctors prescribe them. Many have no medical use or benefits. When taken (usually by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting), abused drugs find their way into the bloodstream.

Que 2. How many drugs does it take to become an addict?
Ans. Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can't predict how many times a person must use a drug before that happens. The only way to be sure that a person will never become addicted to a drug is if they don't use it. There are many things that influence whether a person will become addicted. Their biology (a person's genes) and their environment – like whether their friends or family use drugs or positive influences like sports or music – play a role. We also know that the younger someone is when they start to use drugs or alcohol; the more likely they are to become addicted. If you don't use before your brain is fully developed (in your mid-20's) your risk for addiction is MUCH low.

Que 3. why do you get addicted to drugs?
Ans. Drugs cause addiction by changing brain circuits over time. Many addictive substances increase levels of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Circuits in the reward system use dopamine to “teach” the brain to repeat actions we find pleasurable—a process called reinforcement. When people take drugs, the brain releases a lot of dopamine, which strongly reinforces the action of taking the drug. Over time, dopamine is released less by taking the drug itself than by other activities, people, and places that are associated with drug use. This leads people to feel highly motivated to take the drug whenever they encounter those cues.

Que 4. How are people with drug addiction treated?
Ans. Good question! Drug treatment can take different forms depending on the drug and needs of the individual. In some cases, medications can be used to treat addiction. Cognitive-behavioral treatment can be useful by helping people better understand the reasons they use drugs and address them, such as learn how to deal with stress and cravings for drugs, and develop different friends and activities to replace drug use. More information about drug treatment can be found at:

Que 5. How can you know if someone is addicted to a drug?
Ans. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. If someone you know continues to use drugs despite harmful consequences, he or she may be addicted. If your friend starts behaving differently for no apparent reason—such as acting withdrawn, frequently tired or depressed, or hostile—it could be a sign he or she is developing a drug-related problem. Friends, parents, teachers and others may overlook such signs, believing them to be a normal part of puberty. Through scientific advances, we know more than ever before about how drugs work in the brain. We also know that addiction can be successfully treated to help young people stop misusing drugs and lead productive lives. Intervening early when you first spot signs of drug use in your friend or family member is critical; don't wait!

Que 6. Why do some people become addicted to drugs while others don't?
Ans. Great question! There is a lot of variation in who becomes addicted to drugs, and a lot depends on your own family's genetic susceptibility to substance abuse and the environment you grow up in. The best bet is to not even start taking them and avoid the risk! See these easy-to-understand videos on how anyone can become addicted, and why drugs are so hard to quit.

Que 7. If my parents are addicted to drugs can I get addicted to them too?
Ans. That's a very good question. There is a genetic component to addiction, meaning that if your parents are addicted to drugs you are at increased risk for addiction. But that doesn't mean that you will become addicted to drugs. Environmental factors also play a role in addiction risk. These include the influences of family and friends, economic status, and general quality of life. Peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and parental guidance can also greatly affect a person's likelihood of drug use and addiction. Genetic and environmental factors also interact with development--Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. Because teen brains are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs. The best way to prevent drug addiction is not to start using drugs.

Que 8. If a pregnant woman abuses drugs, does it affect the fetus?
Ans. Many substances including alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs of abuse can have negative effects on the developing fetus because they are transferred to the fetus across the placenta. For example, nicotine has been connected with premature birth and low birth weight as has the use of cocaine. Heroin exposure results in dependence in the newborn, requiring treatment for withdrawal symptoms. It is often difficult to tease apart the confluence of factors that go with drug abuse during pregnancy—poor nutrition, inadequate prenatal care, stress, and psychiatric co-morbidities — all of which may impact fetal development.

Que 9. What is detoxification, or “detox”?
Ans. Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in a drug treatment program and should be followed by treatment with a behavioral-based therapy and/or a medication, if available. Detox alone with no follow-up is not treatment.

Que 10. What is withdrawal? How long does it last?
Ans. Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

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