Some people hear “drug abuse” and feel it is the use of illegal substances. This is a wrong notion. Every drug, both legal and illegal, can be abused.
So what is drug abuse?
It is the illegal use of drugs or the use of prescription-only medicine (POM) or over-the-counter medications for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in large amounts. It refers to the use of certain chemicals to create pleasurable effects on the brain.
This disease takes over a person by targeting their brain. Once it conquers the brain, the person loses control of his or her behaviour. This is usually when addiction sets in, making it difficult to control the excessive use of medications, legal or illegal drugs.
In simple terms, drug abuse is when you use a legal or illegal substance in ways they should not be used. For instance, you may take more than the regular dose, use someone’s prescription or keep taking the drug because of how the drugs make you feel (high).
For some, the abuse of drugs is to avoid pain or deal with stress. Others might want to feel good about them or fight stage fright.
Now some drugs are called “Controlled drugs”. These drugs are controlled because of their ability to induce addiction in patients.
You’re placed on a particular opioid let’s say Morphine in this case due to the kind of pain you’re feeling, it could be due to major surgery or an accident; as it’s the strongest that can reduce the pain, but then aside from reducing the pain, it gives you a feeling of ecstasy and euphoria.
As a result of this, you want to keep using the drug. So to avoid you walking into a pharmacy and just buying this drug over the counter, it’s controlled such that before you get this drug, you must have a doctor’s prescription with you.
And these particular set of drugs are not to be given over a long period because it can also cause addiction.
Types of Abused Drugs
Examples of controlled drugs that are abused include Tramadol, Codeine, Marijuana(also called weed), Morphine, Diazepam, heroin, cocaine, Indian hemp, caffeine etc. The drugs in this class are mostly abused.
Other drugs such as antibiotics generally (which people seem to think can cure everything), paracetamol, alcohol, dexamethasone(a steroid is taken these days for body and muscles build-up), tobacco, nicotine etc.
A lot of drugs are abused daily. The drugs giving more concerns of all are those that are easily sold over-the-counter like paracetamol and antibiotics; the reason it’s painful is that when the body eventually needs these drugs, the body can no longer respond to these drugs again. How so? The body has gotten so used to these drugs that it can fight off its effects. We will probably discuss this process in some other article.
Let’s focus on the effects these “controlled drugs” can have on the body.
What are the Effects of Drug Abuse
The effects of this drug on the body is quite enormous as it affects every part of the body because it affects the brain. As we all must have learnt from biology, the brain controls every part of the body, and so anything that has the brain under its control becomes the boss of the whole body.
The effects it can have on the brain range from hallucinations to ecstasy to euphoria to paranoia to depression to suicidal thoughts; the list is basically endless. In severe cases, it could cause difficulty in breathing, sleepiness, seizures, and in some instances, madness.
What is the Withdrawal Phase?
For some, they begin to see the adverse effects the drug is having on them physically and mentally, and decide to do away with the drugs. This is known as withdrawal.
Withdrawal is not as easy as it sounds; as such, people are encouraged to have a support system when engaging in this. Your family, friends and of course your medical adviser will be of great need to you at this post. Your body has gotten used to having these drugs in its system, so it is now a norm. Withdrawal will be abnormal for an addict’s body and comes with its effects.
These effects are known as withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, headache, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhoea but these withdrawal symptoms can actually be treated and going back to your addiction is most likely not the solution.
Social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems can be created by drug abuse. When these drugs are used for a long time, it can result in changes in brain functions and can distort your Judgment, Decision making, Memory and Ability to learn.
Eventually, you get to depend on these drugs for survival; this is not freedom at all.
Causes of Drug Abuse
Various reasons include:
- Curiosity and peer pressure, especially among school children and young adults
- The use of prescription drugs that were initially intended to target pain relief may have turned into recreational use and become addictive.
- Chemicals may be used as part of religious practices or rituals
- Recreational purposes, e.g. at parties and clubs
- As a means of obtaining creative inspiration and excellent performance.
- Family History; this trait is common with those that abuse alcohol and eventually become alcoholics.
- Troubled relationship: Constant fighting between parents or friends can make one resort to drug abuse as he may think that’s the only way to forget his sorrows.
All these causes do not justify the fact that one should abuse drugs; there could be other ways and different solutions.
As much as one may think that he is getting away from his problems, turning to these drugs will only geometrically multiply the issue. To be truly free, you have to stay away from drugs because once they come in, you seem hooked on something you can never let go.