Overview – Drug addiction, also known as substance abuse, is a form of disease/illness that affects an individual's behaviour and brain. In addition, substance abuse results from the inability of a person to control the usage of legal or illegal drugs and medications. Furthermore, there are various forms of substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and many others.
But, drug addiction can set in when you keep using these drugs without a proper prescription from a doctor/health practitioner. Frequently, continuous usage of these drugs despite their harm to your wellbeing is addiction.
Drug Addiction is the excessive usage of psychoactive drugs/medications such as alcohol, painkillers, or illegal drugs. In other words, Substance abuse, known as Drug abuse, is the use of certain medicines for pleasurable reactions in the brain. However, depending on the severity, drug addiction can lead to emotional, physical, and social damage.
Means of Administration
Indeed, there are different routes with which drugs and substances enter the body of a drug addict. These include;
- Ingestion: This refers to using drugs/medications through the mouth. The types of medicines often ingested are always in fine form or pills.
- Injection: Drug addicts can inject themselves through the aid of needles and syringes to transfer these substances into their bloodstream for instant effect. This route of administration is intravenous.
- Sniffing / Inhaling: This route involves the usage of the nostrils to sniff and inhale these drugs in the form of smoke.
Types of drugs
There are several categories of drugs and substances. However, below is the list of the most common ones.
- Synthetic cathinone
- Barbiturates ( Phenobarbital )
- Benzodiazepines ( Diazepam, Lorazepam )
- Hypnotics (Zolpidem )
- Molly ( Ecstasy )
- Hallucinogens ( Diethylamide [LSD] )
- Narcotics (Codeine, Heroin, Morphine )
Risk of Drug Addiction
Firstly, there are various risks associated with drug addiction. However, getting addicted to drug usage of any form often begins with the recreational drug in social gatherings/situations. In addition, drug addiction starts with exposure to prescribed medications or receiving medications from a friend/relative who uses a particular medication or drug.
Secondly, some drugs, such as painkillers, can cause addiction faster than others. People often use these drugs to have a euphoric feeling. This ecstatic feeling is known as "feeling high." But, as time passes, you will require larger doses of these drugs to have that feeling of "highness."
In addition, once you increase the usage of these drugs, you will find it uneasy and challenging to go about your daily activities without these drugs. However, when you attempt to stop, you might feel ill physically (withdrawal symptoms).
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
There are several symptoms that you will notice in an individual who abuses drugs and substances. These include;
- Uncontrollable cravings for drugs that shout out any other thoughts.
- Using drugs to overcome depression
- Usage of drugs and substances over a more extended time than expected
- When you use a large number of drugs to get a certain feeling
- Spending more money on drugs even when you cannot afford it
- Having the sense to use the particular drug regularly ( daily or multiple times a day ) without a prescription from a doctor.
- Behavioural change
- Cutting back from social and recreational activities because of the usage of drugs
- Not meeting obligations and responsibilities due to drug usage
- Continuous usage of a drug even after seeing the adverse effects on your wellbeing
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using these drugs.
- Lack of energy and motivation due to drug usage
- Sudden weight loss.
Causes of drug addiction
Several factors contribute to drug addiction. However, we will discuss the two main factors identified as significant factors.
Immediate Environment – Environmental factors such as the family, social groups, peer pressure, etc., play vital roles in drug addiction.
Genetic – Once you commence the usage of a particular drug, the influence of gene traits can hasten the process of addiction.
Contributing factors for drug addiction
There are some contributing factors to drug addiction. However, we will discuss a few of the contributing factors in this section:
- History of addiction in the family: Some families deal with all forms of drugs. Therefore, since these drugs are readily available to them, family members and relatives are at greater risk of drug usage and addiction.
- Pressure from peers: In this modern society, peers who use illegal drugs can contribute to individual drug addiction within the group and age bracket
- Mental disorder: Disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress can lead to drug addiction. In addition, people use drugs to cope with this mental stress, which can further escalate their problems.
- Less family involvement: The risk of drug addiction may increase when parents and siblings lack bond and affection. Such persons may resort to a drug as a form of coping mechanism.
- Using highly addictive drugs: Some drugs, such as stimulants, cocaine, or painkillers, come with the risk of addiction more than any other drug.
Complications from drug addiction
Life-threatening events and situations may occur when you become dependent on drugs as a coping mechanism or for survival. The following are the complications;
- Accidents: People who abuse or are drug addicts are always extremely dangerous while driving as they are under the influence of a specific drug. They are likely to have an accident and cause more havoc on the road than persons not under the influence of any medicine.
- Suicide: Drug addicts often think about a suicidal act, which usually results in death. Drug addicts die more from suicide than people who do not do drugs.
- Infectious disease: While under the influence of these psychoactive drugs, people with an addiction usually get involved in unsafe sexual acts that can lead to an infectious disease.
- Legal issues: Drug addicts often commit crimes that are punishable under the law. In addition, possessing illegal drugs and stealing to support their addictions may lead to legal problems.
- Financial problem: Drug addicts spend more money to buy these drugs; this could lead them into debt and unethical behaviour.
- Low productivity: Drug addiction can make a person less productive in the workplace and school. The level of performance of such individuals will decrease drastically, leading to eventual loss of employment.
When do you need help?
In conclusion, when your drug use is out of control or causing harm to you, you need immediate help. Your long-term recovery chances increase when you seek help in time. There are mental health professionals, such as doctors and licensed alcohol and drug counsellors, who can help.
However, see a health professional when you find it uneasy to stop using drugs, and despite the apparent harm it causes, you find yourself using these drugs. If your drug use now affects your behaviour and you experience withdrawal symptoms, seek help from a doctor immediately. On your behavior and if you experience withdrawal symptoms, seek help from a doctor immediately.