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Drug abuse gets to the point of addiction when the user can’t stop using the substances even when it places their lives at risk or brings about severe financial and emotional problems for the user or their loved ones.

Drug Abuse and Addiction

Addiction is referred to as a disease that influences the brain and behavioral pattern of an individual, when such addiction is present the ability to resist the use of the substance is not possible irrespective of the harm caused by the use of the drug and this is likely to result in deeper consequences if the condition is not treated quickly. Addiction to drugs isn’t restricted to the use of nicotine, heroin, cocaine, and other such harmful substances, it may also be a condition associated with alcohol, sleep, medications, and other legal substances as well.

The use of drugs and their abuse is usually because it creates a certain pleasurable feeling in the brain, this pleasurable feeling is what eventually gets the individual under the control of the substance being abused, this is because the drugs change the way a person brain works and then it becomes difficult for the individual to gain control over their use of the substance which can cause changes in behavior resulting in severe damaging effects. Drug abuse essentially is the use of a legal or illegal substance in an unprescribed way, and this condition can affect persons from all walks of life regardless of age, race, and initial cause for the use of the drug. Engaging in drug abuse may also be borne out of recreational activities or as a means of easing the stress and anxieties that accompanies everyday dealings.

Causes of Drug Abuse

The use of drugs whether legal or illegal substances may arise out of any of the following reasons:

  • Peer pressure among young adults 
  • Curiosity 
  • The transfer of the use of legally prescribed drugs from its prescribed purpose to being abused till it becomes addictive 
  • Recreational purposes 
  • To obtain inspiration for creativity 

Drugs that may be abused can be divided into three categories which are:

  • Depressants: these drugs result in depression for the user such as sleeping pills.
  • Stimulants: these drugs may cause a high level of alertness and an increased level of energy resulting in an increased burst of activity, the symptoms of these may include: a faster heartbeat rate, pupils dilated, high blood pressure, agitated behavior, weakened judgment, occasional occurrences of psychosis may also occur as well as nauseation and puking. These are the effects of the use of cocaine and amphetamines.
  • Hallucinogens: These particular drugs create and cause hallucinations where the user is made to feel disassociated from themselves. These drugs may result in a distorted sensory perception, but they may also result in depression or paranoia. LSD is a major example of this kind of drug. 

Other examples of drugs that can be abused include:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Cocaine 
  • Opium 
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin etc.

Symptoms of Drugs Abuse 

Certain symptoms are usually associated with a drug user who has become addicted to the substance. They include:

  • There is the presence of continuous neglect of responsibilities whether at work or school or towards their families or their relationships.
  • In certain situations, the user of the drug may begin to take unnecessary risks either while under the influence or in the process of taking in the substance, some examples of these risks include: having sex without protection, making use of unsterilized needles, and driving while under the influence of these substances.
  • Entering into trouble with the law for the use of such substances or the effect of the use of such substances.
  • Persons who are addicted to substances begin to have problems with their relationships with the people around them. 
  • A person who has become more tolerant of a certain substance may be said to have become addicted to that substance. 
  • When a person begins to use these substances to avoid the symptoms associated with withdrawals, the person can be said to have become addicted to such substances. 
  • When a person begins to engage in drug activity more than they planned or take a much larger quantity than they anticipated, such an individual is most likely addicted to the use of such drugs. 
  • When a person begins to spend more time thinking about the use of drugs, and how to get them, and it happens in such a way that their life revolves around the use of such drugs, then it can be said that such person has become addicted to the use of such drugs.
  • It is a sign of addiction when a person continues to engage in the use of such drug activity even when it is hurting the user. 

Some tell-tale signs of a person who is abusing drugs include:

  • Sleep patterns or appetite are affected 
  • Eyes unusually more red than usual 
  • Unexpected weight loss or weight gain
  • Affected speech, headaches, and lack of coordination 
  • Reduced performance in school or work activities
  • Unexplained financial issues 
  • Personality and attitude change 
  • Unexpected mood swings 
  • Consistent occasions of getting into trouble
  • Absence of desire to achieve anything 
  • Anxiety, paranoia, and fear

Process of Development of Drugs Abuse 

A person may begin to take notice of addiction or abuse of a particular drug when they begin to notice that:

  • The drug is necessary to fulfill a valuable need and thus the reliance on the drug is increased. It may be taken to maintain calmness, increase confidence, or even for energy, it may also be taken to relieve pain, reduce panic attacks, or improve concentration. The point remains that when the use of these drugs becomes such that there is a heavy reliance on them, there is a high likelihood of addiction. 
  • Drug abuse eventually becomes a means of connecting within a social group, this provides a breeding ground for addiction to take root.
  • The use of drugs only at social gatherings may eventually become and develop into the use of drugs daily because the substance becomes more important to the user. 
  • Eventually, drug abuse can take hold of the person that the routine the person begins to change to fit into the use of the substance, the person misses work, or goes late, the person beings to skip classes, they begin to neglect social, family and marital responsibilities, eventually the ability to stop is lost and there the addiction begins which would eventually lead to the destruction of the individual. 

How to Handle Drug Abuse 

The process of handling a situation where a loved one has become addicted to a drug is a dicey situation that if not handled well, may drive the user into feeling a feeling of isolation. So here are some tips to handle a person who is addicted to any substance. 

  • It is important to speak up to the person and offer your help without judging the individual, ensuring the person is aware of your concerns.
  • It is important to also ensure that while taking care of a person who needs help, the caregiver should stays safe.
  • Don’t attempt to bribe, punish or preach to the individual.
  • Don’t try to increase the feelings of guilt in the user and at the same time, they should not be shielded from the consequences of their actions. 
  • While taking care of them, they must accept responsibility for their actions, where they don’t, the blame should be on them not on the caregiver.

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