About Drug Abuse

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Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, can be defined as the excessive and repeated use of a drug in order to feel pleasure or avoid problems or reality, despite negative and damaging consequences.

The substance that is abused can be an illegal drug such as cocaine or marijuana, inhalants such as gasoline, or prescription drugs used inappropriately such as abusing codeine or darvon.

While some people think that infrequent drug abuse is not that harmful, the research literature shows that drug abusers who receive professional drug abuse treatment can recover from their drug problems before they become drug dependent.

Some Basic But Important Drug Abuse Info

Here's a bit of drug abuse info that apparently escapes the awareness of people who start and continue to engage in drug abuse.

Whatever the substance of choice, drug abuse is typified by the dysfunctional way in which it takes over the person's life, adversely affecting his or her peace of mind, disrupting his or her relationships and daily functioning at school, home, or work, and leading to recurring drug-related legal problems.

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Regrettably, many people who abuse drugs fail to internalize this significant drug abuse info: people who continue to engage in drug abuse often find themselves making the transition from abuse to dependence. Drug addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.

Physical addiction refers to the physiological effects of drug use and is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the addict quits taking the drug and tolerance, defined as the need to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the initial "high" or "buzz."

From a different perspective, psychological addiction refers to the subjective feelings the addict craves in order to experience feelings of well-being and pleasure.

For example, taking a drug in order to "relax" or to overcome the pain of an unpleasant situation are examples of psychological dependence.

Another bit of important drug abuse info is this: the more substance abuse begins to affect and control a person's life, the more likely it is that a person has a drug problem that can escalate into addiction.

Sadly, the individuals who are actively involved in drug abuse are often the last persons to gain an awareness of their own symptoms of abusive and damaging drug-related behavior.

The Warning Signs of Drug Abuse

It is important to emphasize that drug abusers regularly try to deny their drug-related problems while they hide the symptoms of their abuse. There are, however, many well-known and predictable "warning" signs of drug abuse that highly suggest drug involvement.

The following list represents some of the more common and recognizable warning signs of drug abuse:

  • Taking drugs the first thing in the morning

  • A preoccupation with drugs exemplified by constantly talking about drugs and pressuring others to use join him or her in drug use

  • Associating with known drug abusers or refusing to spend time with friends or family who don't use drugs

  • Noticeable degradation regarding one's physical appearance and grooming

  • Irritability, wide mood swings, manic behavior, or angry outbursts

  • Frequently selling possessions, borrowing money, or stealing things from school, work, or from home

  • Talking incoherently or making inappropriate remarks

  • Sudden increases in employment problems and school absences while quality of work or grades diminish

  • Engaging in suspicious or secretive behaviors, such as making numerous trips to the garage, basement, restroom, or other isolated areas where substance abuse could take place

  • Expressing feelings of exhaustion, hopelessness, or depression

  • An inability to relax or to have fun without taking drugs

  • Inappropriately and frequently wearing sunglasses and/or long sleeve shirts

Why Do People Use and Abuse Drugs?

There are a variety of reasons why various people use and abuse drugs. For example, some individuals use drugs due to a strong desire to "fit in" with a select group of people or because of peer pressure while others take drugs because they are "thrill-seekers" and thrive on the "rush" that drugs give them. Still other people, at least in the beginning, take drugs because of curiosity.

At a deeper level, however, perhaps the main reason that most individuals use and abuse drugs is to deal with life's problems or to cope with unpleasant or painful emotions.

Stated more precisely, many people abuse drugs because doing so presents an easy way to escape from life's many problems.

Indeed, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 50% of substance abusers also suffer from a mental illness such as anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately, while drug abuse may make a person feel better in the short term, self-medication efforts such as these eventually boomerang. For example, rather than solving underlying problems, drug use merely masks or covers up the symptoms.

Indeed, take the drug away from a person and it becomes apparent that the problem not only remains but in some situations gets progressively worse due to the negative outcomes of drug abuse.

Furthermore, long-term substance abuse eventually leads to a host of problems, including major disruptions in a person's usual daily school, family, relationship, and work responsibilities.

Paradoxically, psychological, financial, physical, and social consequences of drug abuse are typically worse than the initial "problem" that the addict was trying to cope with or avoid.

The Different Kinds of Substances That are Abused

Practically every drug has the potential for abuse and addiction. Upon closer examination, however, it can be determined that each drug affects the abusers' brains and bodies in different ways, thusly resulting in symptoms of addiction and abuse that are unique to each of the following substances:

  • Hallucinogens

  • Downers

  • Marijuana

  • Inhalants

  • Narcotics

  • Uppers

  • Steroids

  • Alcohol

Drug Abuse Treatment

In spite of the fact that a cure for drug abuse has not been discovered, various alcohol and drug abuse treatment approaches however, have been developed that help drug abusers recover from their drug problem.

Not surprisingly, there is a great amount of alcohol and drug abuse treatment information that is available, both online and offline.

Some people ask the following question regarding treating drug abuse: "What is the most effective type of drug abuse treatment?" Not unlike most chronic diseases, there are different levels and degrees of success related to drug abuse treatment.

For example, some drug abusers, after treatment, refrain from abusing drugs. Other people who abuse drugs, conversely, experience fairly long periods of abstinence after receiving treatment, and then experience a drug relapse.

And still other drug abusers cannot abstain from drugs for any sustainable period of time, regardless of the type of treatment they have received.

Not surprisingly, all of these treatment outcomes occur with every known type of drug abuse treatment.

In any event, one thing is certain regarding drug abuse treatment: the longer a person refrains from abusing drugs, the more likely he or she will be able to remain drug-free, avoid drug addiction, and possibly stay away from further drug treatment.

Conclusion: About Drug Abuse

Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, can be defined as the excessive and repeated use of a drug in order to escape reality, feel pleasure, or avoid problems, in spite of the dangerous, unhealthy, and sometimes fatal outcomes.

The substance that is abused can be an illegal drug such as heroin or cocaine, inhalants such as correction fluid or dry-cleaning fluids, or prescription drugs used inappropriately such as abusing percocet or vicodin.

Regrettably, while substance abuse may make an individual feel better in the present moment, these efforts at self-medication ultimately boomerang as the addict starts to experience the mounting negative problems that arise in his relationships, employment, health, finances, and education.

If you know a friend or a family member who you think may be abusing drugs, how can you confirm this? To educate yourself about this situation, it may be a good idea to arm yourself with information about some of the identifiable and predictable warning signs of drug abuse.

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After comparing the behavior of your family member or your friend with these signs of drug abuse, you may want to suggest to the potential drug abuser to make an appointment with a substance abuse or drug abuse professional and get a thorough examination.

Regrettably, the following important drug abuse info seemingly has not make a meaningful impact on people who insist on abusing drugs: many individuals who continue to abuse drugs will eventually make the transition from drug abuse to drug dependency.

And once this happens, the individual will lose control of his or her life to the drug to which he or she has become addicted.

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