What is drug abuse?
Drug abuse or substance abuse refers to the use of certain chemicals to create pleasurable effects on the brain. Drug abuse is the excessive, maladaptive, or addicted use of drugs for purposes other than those prescribed by a doctor, regardless of the potential social, psychological, and bodily side effects. Over 190 million people use drugs worldwide, and the problem has been growing alarmingly, particularly among young adults under 30.
The history of nonmedical drug consumption is ancient. The discovery of the mood-altering qualities of fermented fruits and substances such as opium has led to their use and, often, acceptance into society. Just as alcohol has a recognized social place in the West, so many other psychotropics have been accepted in different societies.
The major problem that arises from the consumption of psychotropic drugs is dependence, the compulsion to use the drug despite any deterioration in health, work, or social activities. Dependence varies from drug to drug in its extent and effect; it can be physical or psychological or both. Physical dependence becomes apparent only when the drug intake is decreased or stopped and an involuntary illness called the withdrawal (or abstinence) syndrome occurs. Drugs known to produce physical dependence are the opiates (i.e., opium and its derivatives) and central-nervous-system depressants such as barbiturates and alcohol. When a person depends on a substance to make them feel good, this is a sign of psychological dependence. With regard to substance and user, this kind of dependence varies greatly. In its most extreme form, the drug user gets fascinated with it and devotes almost all of his attention to finding and consuming it.
Types of drugs abused
People can abuse any substance, medication, compound, or drug that induces either altered states of consciousness, euphoria or both. Most of this abuse can lead to severe withdrawal, which needs a medically managed detox if the individual wants to stop. The many types of drug abuse cover the entire spectrum of compounds. But It is not limited to illegal drugs. Drug abuse can include both illegitimate substances people acquire on the street and substances acquired legally. However, people can obtain drugs legally through a doctor in entirely unscrupulous ways. The types of Drugs abused are:
- Prescription Drugs
- Synthetic Cathinone
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
- LSD: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD, is a substance that affects users psychologically, physically, and sensory. They consist of hallucinations, losing contact with reality, a feeling that your body and mind are not connected, nausea, and alertness. Between six and fourteen hours can pass before the sensory experience (seeing items “breathe” or “ripple”) ends. LSD is a potent substance that can cause panic episodes, or a “bad trip,” severe psychosis, brain damage, and physical harm even though it is not physiologically addictive. The medication can be injected or administered orally.
- Crack: Cocaine is transformed into the smokeable substance Crack via additional processing. It is one of the less expensive medications on the market, making it easier to obtain and misuse. Crack is highly addictive and can cause several health issues.
- Cocaine: One of the stimulant medicines that is most commonly used illegally is this one, popularly known as Coke. While cocaine does have some medical applications (it is occasionally used in nasal surgery), it is primarily used recreationally, either by smoking, injecting, or snorting it up the nose. The effects start almost immediately and persist for up to an hour and a half. Effects include losing contact with reality and experiencing intense joy and happiness. Because it is often combined with other substances like quinine or local anesthetics when purchased on the street, cocaine is extremely addictive and even more dangerous. Cocaine abuse over a long period can cause mortality, heart attacks, high blood pressure, paranoia, and hallucinations.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is a flammable liquid produced by the fermentation of fruits and cereals. The ultimate result is a medication in the form of a beverage that helps people feel less anxious, relaxed, and impaired judgment. When abused and used excessively, it can be harmful to one’s health and cause alcoholism. Alcohol abusers are more likely to commit suicide and engage in violent and abusive conduct. Alcohol creates short-term euphoria and sedation. possibly the drug that is most frequently abused. Prolonged abuse results in significant physical impairments, liver damage, and finally loss of mental health. Alcohol has hypnotic and sedative properties. It functions by calming down the central nervous system. Alcohol slows down physiological processes like respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate. Alcohol has several different effects that range from mild drowsiness to total anesthesia. Most drinks include a lot of sugar, which creates a dangerous mix of a potent depressive and a modest stimulant. One of the main killers on the planet is excessive alcohol consumption.
- Prescription Drugs: Any prohibited medicine that has been prescribed by a doctor to treat a particular condition falls under this category of pharmaceuticals. These include stimulants, analgesics, sedatives, and painkillers, all of which are marketed illegally for non-medical uses. The medications can be injected or snorted after being ground into powder form. Euphoria reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced concentration and focus are a few of the outcomes (usually in academics). These medicines require medical supervision because of their addictive qualities. They can become addictive and extremely harmful when misused, especially when combined with alcohol or other substances.
- Synthetic Cathinones: also referred to as “bath salts,” are a synthetic drug that is manufactured from a stimulant found in the khat plant, a species of shrub (including online). The 2012 World Drug Report finds an increase in synthetic drug synthesis. You can snort, ingest pills made of bath salts, snort them, inject them, or smoke them. They have similar effects, such as energy boosts, heightened sexual drive, hallucinations, increased confidence, etc., to substances like cocaine or MDMA but are less expensive. Death is one of the unfavorable outcomes, along with paranoia and panic attacks. Additionally addictive, bath salts have very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): It is commonly taken at raves and parties and is known by the generic name Ecstasy. Although research is ongoing, there are currently no known medical applications for this substance, which is primarily used recreationally. Emotions of euphoria and calm, feelings of empathy for other people, hallucinations, a rise in self-confidence, decreased anxiety, etc. are some of the short-term consequences of ecstasy. Ecstasy usage and chronic use can result in addiction, paranoid behavior, and sleep or eyesight problems, among other concerns.
- Amphetamines: a class of medications that support the central nervous system by acting as stimulants. Adrenaline, a natural stimulant, is jolted through the body by the substance, causing the user to feel more alert, assured, and energized. These are amphetamines’ advantageous benefits. Amphetamines can sometimes have a negative impact and make the user feel uneasy and aggressive. Each person has a different response. The street names for the many forms of amphetamines, such as crystal, crank, speed, uppers, or bennies, are more frequently used to refer to them. You can inject or smoke amphetamines. Because the medication enters the brain considerably more quickly, this results in an immediate, euphoric sensation.
What are The categories of drugs abused?
- Depressants: Examples of this are heroin and sleeping medications (barbiturates), which suppress the brain’s capacities.
- Stimulants: These stimulate the brain, resulting in higher activity bursts and alertness. Along with behavioral changes including agitation and poor judgment, further symptoms include a quick heartbeat, dilated pupils, elevated blood pressure, nausea or vomiting, and dilated pupils. With the use of cocaine and amphetamines, delusional psychosis may arise in extreme cases.
- Hallucinogens: These result in hallucinations and a sense of separation from oneself that is “out of this world.” Hallucinogens can lead to delusions, paranoia, sadness, and even impaired sensory experience. Ecstasy, mescaline, and LSD are some instances.
What are the causes of drug Abuse?
According to studies, kids who have drug-using parents are more likely to start consuming drugs themselves. But this is not the only reason. Not all drug users originate from homes where drugs are often used. Other elements have been demonstrated to contribute to drug misuse. For instance, a person may turn to drugs to cope with a traumatic experience, mental disease, or condition, such as depression, to numb their feelings or flee the agony. This could eventually develop into drug abuse.
- Peer Pressure – This can especially be a problem in the adolescent, and teen years when there is pressure to fit in.
- To have a good time or feel good mentally or physically.
- An unstable home life.
- Absent or abusive parents.
- A way of rebelling against parents or authority.
- Emotional or behavioral problems.
- Readily available drugs in the home or community.
- Curiosity about drugs or illegal substances which eventually leads to abuse.
What is the effect of drug abuse on the youth?
Drug use disorder can lead to short- and long-term negative health effects. These effects can be physical and mental and can range from moderate to severe.
Physical effects of drug abuse
Psychoactive drugs are chemical compounds that affect the mind and body.
Taking different drugs may cause:
- changes in coordination
- blood pressure and heart rate changes
- feelings of being more awake or sleepy
- improved sociability
- pain relief
- changes in the appearance of a person’s body
When chronic substance use occurs over a long period, these short-term physical effects may cause long-term changes to a person’s brain and body.
Using any drug can cause short-term physical effects. The following are examples of common drugs, their short-term physical effects, and potential health risks due to SUD.
- deficits in coordination
- a quickened heartbeat
- reddening of the skin or face
- nausea and vomiting
- potential hypothermia
- potential coma
- heart disease
- increased wakefulness and physical activity
- decreased appetite
- increased breathing
- increased or irregular heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- increased temperature
- narrowed blood vessels
- enlarged pupils
- increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
- abdominal pain and nausea
- erratic and violent behavior
- heart attack
- slurred speech
- problems with movement
- slowed breathing
- lowered blood pressure
- heroin and other opioids
- dry mouth
- slowed breathing and heart rate
- tobacco and nicotine
- increased blood pressure
- increased breathing
- increased heart rate
- chronic bronchitis
- heart disease
Addiction is frequently intertwined with other mental health issues, but this relationship doesn’t always have a clear directionality. For example, people who suffer from mood or anxiety disorders are almost twice as likely to also suffer from a substance use disorder, and people who suffer from substance use disorders are approximately twice as likely to also struggle with a mood or anxiety disorder. It isn’t clear which issue is causing the other, but the relationship is strong nonetheless.
Drug and alcohol abuse can cause psychological anguish that can range in severity from minor to severe. This anguish can have a profoundly detrimental effect on an addict’s life at any level of severity. The following long-term mental health conditions are among the most frequently linked to substance usage and addiction:
- Depression. Substance misuse and depression, as well as other mood disorders, are related. This association may be explained by a history of depression that preceded drug misuse or by alterations in the brain brought on by substance addiction that exacerbated depressed symptoms. Some people self-medicate their depression by using drugs, however, this only helps the person while they are high. When the user is going through withdrawal, it could potentially make depressive symptoms worse. The withdrawal symptoms from many drugs might include sadness or other mental disorders, which can make recovery more difficult.
- Anxiety. Anxiety and panic disorders are often linked to addiction. Once more, it might vary from person to person, and is difficult to determine the source. One person who used medicines (such as benzodiazepines like Xanax) to treat their symptoms might go on to develop a pattern of abuse. Someone else might have a history of drug usage and start having anxiety issues as a result. Anxiety is a common adverse effect of many substances, especially stimulants like cocaine. As part of their withdrawal symptoms, other medicines, including benzodiazepines, can cause heightened anxiety.
- Paranoia. Some drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, can make you feel paranoid, and long-term consumption may make it worse. 3, 5 Additionally, those who are battling addiction may feel the urge to conceal or lie about their drug usage out of fear of being discovered. Long-term substance users may experience increasing paranoia as a result of the fact that many addictive substances are banned.
How To Avoid Substance Abuse
The best way to avoid succumbing to substance abuse is to avoid using drugs and medicines in alternative ways. Ensure that you only use these medications and remedies as directed. If you are reading this post right now, it implies you still have time to break your unhealthy habit of using drugs improperly.
Consult your doctor for assistance if you’re feeling anxious, having difficulties sleeping, or having other health issues. You won’t have to self-medicate and run the risk of developing an addiction to the substances to receive the right prescription for your medical problem.