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Drug Abuse

What is Substance and Drug Abuse?

Though the term “drug abuse” has a wide range of meanings, it is generally thought of as taking a drug for non-medical reasons. Drug abuse is sometimes used interchangeably with substance abuse. Some people abuse drugs because they want to get high or escape painful circumstances. For others, it may be a physical or psychological dependence that fuels the abuse. Many drugs stimulate pleasure centers in the brain, causing it to crave more and more. Millions of people abuse drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, amphetamines, performance-enhancing drugs, opiates, sedatives, stimulants, and over-the-counter remedies. Drug abuse can incorporate illegal substances, prescription medications, or over-the-counter remedies. Even if it begins recreationally, drug abuse can lead to dependence, addiction, illness, or death.

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Risks of Using and Abusing Drugs

What is the difference between substance abuse and drug abuse? Some leading health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association and World Health Organization, prefer the term “substance abuse” over “drug abuse” because of its broader range. Drug abuse affects the central nervous system and causes changes in perception, mood, awareness, and sensation. The neurochemical impact of drugs affects how people feel and act. Some people take drugs to experience euphoria, while others who have developed a tolerance take drugs to feel normal.

Risk factors that can lead to use and abuse include genetics, depression, chronic pain, feelings of unworthiness, low self-esteem, and difficult life circumstances. Teens and young people are especially vulnerable to drug use because of peer pressure and the relative ease of getting many illicit and prescription drugs.

Dangers of Drug Use And Abuse

Drug abuse and the behaviors that result from it carry stiff criminal and legal penalties in many parts of the world. Drug abuse is responsible for many property crimes, thefts, and burglaries. Many users resort to crime to fund their habits. Government policies aimed at controlling illegal drug sales have been largely unsuccessful. Despite costly public campaigns and programs, we are far from winning the war on drugs. The supply will always be there because demand is high, and the drug trade is very lucrative for many people. Drug abuse can ruin lives, derail careers, destroy families, and isolate users from peer and support groups. Socially, the problem is taxing for communities, law enforcement, and government agencies that try to get a grip on it.

Drug Addiction Help

There is a skinny line between drug abuse and dependence. Many would argue that any level of illicit drug use constitutes abuse. As for addiction, many experts say it takes hold when users no longer care about the negative consequences their behavior might incur. Detox and rehabilitation programs are available for people who use, abuse, or are addicted to substances. Depending on the drug, the length of use, and the degree of dependency, users might benefit from services that range from out-patient programs to intense, in-patient therapy. Some researchers say users have a better chance at achieving and maintaining sobriety the earlier they seek help.

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