Why Drug Abuse and Addiction is a Disease – That Can Be Stopped

For a lot of people it’s very hard for them to understand why people become addicted to drugs or alcohol. For these people they experience a normal life and can cope with whatever stress the day throws their way. Because they can cope with their problems they often view those who cannot as being weak. They think that drug abuse and addiction can simply be stopped if the person is mentally strong enough, and that changing their behaviors will help fix their problem. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Friends, family and co-workers often have no understanding of the complexities of addiction. Few are willing to recognize or accept that it is a disease, and because of the way it affects the brain the person is not capable of using willpower to stop. Many don’t realize that with current medical advances, there are now treatment methods that will help the addict and will work, allowing them to lead happy and productive lives again.

Addiction is a condition that at its most basic level, is a brain disease that causes the addict to become compulsive about using despite the consequences that will result from this behavior. It actually changes the function and structure of one’s brain. In the beginning the decision to start is often of their own choosing, but in time the changes caused to the brain will cause a person to lose control of their ability to moderate their usage, as well as affecting their judgment to make a decision to stop. The impulses from the brain can be so intense that they simply cannot stop.

These changes to the brain are what makes it so difficult for the addict to control their actions. Through medical research there are now treatments available that combine medication with behavior therapy, and people who use this combination have a better chance at success than with many other kinds of treatments. This disease is a chronic one and relapses often occur. This does not signify failure, but simple that other treatments should be tried or that the current treatment needs to be adjusted. Science is beginning to revolutionize our understanding of drug abuse and addiction and how to treat this condition.

The problem of addiction is a very costly one for society. It is estimated that almost $500 billion dollars a year is put into numerous programs and treatments, not to mention the cost of the crime that is usually involved in order for someone to feed their habit. This does not even address the social cost as families are broken apart, addicts lose their jobs and things such as child abuse and domestic violence start to increase.

Science is today actually proving that drug abuse and addiction is a very preventable condition. It has been shown that preventative programs are extremely effective in preventing the cycle of addiction from even starting. With programs that involve families, communities and schools, as well as the media, addiction can be stopped before it even starts. Today youths are being educated about the risks involved with drug abuse, and with this knowledge and understanding, many will make the decision to not even begin. As this message gets stronger with the help of teachers and healthcare professionals. Kids and adults who know that they are at risk, are now choosing to not even take the risk of starting. This is a start toward controlling the problem and the subsequent social issues that can result from addiction.

Are Steroids Necessary to Excel?

As a 35 year fitness veteran I have worked with thousands of athletes, some of them using steroids. Many of these athletes believe that this is the only way to get results. The fact is that intelligent training can closely match the results of steroid use without the side effects.

There is a wealth of information available in the area of sports science explaining how to naturally optimize the body’s ability to produce testosterone, estrogen, and growth hormone and how to train more effectively. Unfortunately athletes are still not tapping into this knowledge as is evident by the pervading paradigm amongst serious athletes, recreational athletes, and the general population of fitness enthusiasts that the more they train, the better they will perform.

This mentality can eventually lead to decrements in performance through overtraining syndrome (OTS) which is very prevalent in sports today and unfortunately also very common in young athletes, where it tends to manifest in the form of increased injury rates.

I believe this need to recover from overtraining and pressure to perform invites steroid use. Understanding that exercise even slightly in excess of our adaptive capacity will result in overtraining prompted me to experiment with programs that would optimize results and performance by enhancing the recovery ability of the body.

A new training system I developed (3 Cycle Training) embraces quality over quantity. This program explains how to create a metabolic stimulus to the body (the catabolic phase) with less volume of work. This allows for a more effective recovery cycle (anabolic phase) as you are not overtaxing the body’s ability to adapt.

If an athlete is getting results because he or she is not in a catabolic state all the time, the need for steroids is eliminated. In my book 2-Days to Fitness I redefine what effective exercise is. In fact I go so far as to say that most every thing you know about exercise is wrong!

Rick Bramos has trained thousands of clients beginning in 1973 as a Physical Activities Specialist in the U.S. Army. Rick opened the first Gold’s Gym in S.C. in 1982 and was one of the few men certified to teach Step, Spinning, Body Pump And other classes in the late 80’s and early 90’s.