Drugs and Drug Abuse

in stemng •  2 months ago

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Daniel, Army Substance Abuse Program 'spokesperson', sits with a beer and health notes at the Base Exchange on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 22, 2015. (license : Public Domain) Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Drug abuse is a universal health problem that affects almost every family and community in one way or the other. There are records of problems that occurred as a result of drug abuse. Drug abuse can lead to drugged driving, child abuse, homelessness, violence, crime, stress, and skipping of job. It also harms the child in the womb and destroy families and so on.

A lot of people we see that behaves abnormal or that are mentally deranged may be as a result of drug abuse. Most people give reasons for taking a particular drugs regularly and abusing it, which in returns damage their memories and behaviors.

My former boss who is the managing director of the company where i used to work had this issue. He takes alcohol mixed with some drugs on a daily basis. He skips his job, as a result of that and missed a lot of opportunities that would have moved the company forward. Most times i stand for him to defend some project works. I attempted to stop him, as to enable him function properly in his duty. I couldn't stop him he was a core addict, so i had to resign and move on.

What is drug and drug abuse ?

A drug is simply any chemical that can affect the functioning of the body. Drug abuse is the application of any drug for a purpose that is not a medically or socially accepted one. This includes the misuse of drugs obtained in medically or socially acceptable ways. Especially those drugs that brings about behavioral changes like relaxation, euphoria, hallucination and so on.

Effect of Drugs

Some drugs have effects on the nerve impulses in the sense that they stimulate the neurons that try to stop messages, slow down or stop the production of the chemical transmitting agent, cause the agent to break down more quickly, reduce the effect of the chemical transmitter on the next neuron in the chain. All or any of this has the effect of slowing down or depressing nervous activity. Fewer messages get through, and those that do get through more slowly and more weakly. Other drugs have opposite effect in the sense that they increase or stimulate nervous activity.

Different areas of the brain control different physiological and mental functions. It is because they stimulate or depress different specialized areas, that different drugs have different effects. For example, parts of the hypothalamus, when stimulated, give intense feelings of pleasure, while other areas control co-ordination , thought, sight and hearing and so on.

A number of factors affect the impact of any drug. Some relate to the drug itself. The amount taken, it's purity and concentration, and how it enters the body. Others concern the mental and physical state of the consumer. Mentally, drugs often heighten an existing psychic state or release a suppressed one; but the consumer's reaction to his immediate environment and his expectations are also important. Physically, the effects are likely to be increased by tiredness and when the drug is swallowed if there is little food in the stomach.

Drugs Categories

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Picture source Pixabay (CCO)

Drugs can be categorized as legal or illegal, socially acceptable or unacceptable. But these really refer to drug use. A medically accepted drug may be illegal without a prescription, and social acceptability varies. One drug may be illegal but socially acceptable, another legal but not acceptable. Psychoactive drugs ( drugs that affects the mind or mental processes) are grouped into four major categories according to their effects. They are depressants (downers) , stimulants, hallucinogens and marijuana ( cannabis) .

Depressants which is also known as drowners reduce nervous activity. They include alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates (opium, codeine, morphine, heroin). Taken in small doses, they have a sedative effect. When taken in larger doses they bring on sleep. An overdose can kill.

Stimulants include caffeine, nicotine, the amphetamines, and cocaine. They increase nervous activity especially in the sympathetic nervous system, which mobilizes the body for action. So these drugs help to prolong activity and take away desire for sleep.

Hallucinogens include mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). They produce bizarre states of consciousness (which may resemble psychotic conditions). The interpretation of incoming sense stimuli is radically affected and produces hallucinations, delusions and extraordinary reactions to normal situations and events.

Marijuana which is also known as cannabis or igbo as we call it here, forms a separate, fourth category, although it is closely related to the hallucinogens.

Reasons for Taking Drugs

One of the reasons why people take drugs is social conformity in the sense that if the use of drug is accepted in a group to which a person belongs, or which he identifies with, he will feel a need to use the drug to show that he belongs to the group. This is true of all drugs from nicotine and alcohol to heroin.
Another reason is for pleasure . People take drugs to induce pleasant feelings ranging from well being and relaxation to mystic euphoria.

People also take drug to escape from psychic stress. In a society which increasingly sees drugs as the answer to all physical problems, the use of drugs to escape one's psychological problems inevitably seems inappropriate.

Another reason is alienation. In social alienation, where the values of society are rejected, drug use may seem a valid symbol of opposition. In psychic alienation, when a person has rejected not only society but all alternatives, including himself, his hopes and his goals ,the resulting feelings of meaninglessness, isolation, and in adequacy will predispose him to chronic drug abuse.

Another reason for taking drugs is availability. Illegal use is highest where there is a ready supply (large cities, university towns). Legal drug use also increases with availability, e.g alcoholism is common in liquor trade.

Another reason is curiosity. People could be curious about drugs and want to know the reason why people take them. This leads to drug taking too.

Affluence and leisure can produce boredom and loss of interest in meaningful activity. Drugs can then supply an easy answer to the desire for stimulation and escape.

Theological reason also make people take drugs. The practice of certain traditional religions and personal search for self-identity and the reason for existence. Whether abuse occurs depends on the circumstances.

Drug Addiction

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Picture source pxhere (licence: Public Domain)

Addiction simply means when you can't stop taking a particular drugs.You don't care whether it causes financial or emotional problems for you or puts your health in danger. Once the urge comes up, you always want to refill and kill the urge.

Drug addiction is a brain and behavioral disease. when one is addicted to drugs, he or she can’t resist the urge to take it, no matter how much harm the drugs may cause. Drug addiction is beyond the scope of just heroin, cocaine, or other illegal drugs. One can get addicted to nicotine, alcohol, painkillers, and other legal substances.

Conclusion

Drug abuse is a painful situation both for the person who is passing through it, and for the friends and family who feel helpless in the situation. But notwithstanding, there are certain things we can do to better the lives of those who are facing drug problems.

It is difficult to stop certain drug problems without medical intervention. Some cases would need detoxification for a short period. It takes time to get better from drug addiction. Getting treatment can help a drug abuse patient stop using drugs and stay drug - free. The patient should go for regular counseling and medication.

References

[1] What is drug abuse? Drug abuse information
[2] What Is Drug Addiction?
[3] The Science of Drug Use: Discussion Points
[4] Dealing with Drug Problems-
Preventing and Treating Drug Abuse

[5] Drug Abuse
[6] Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction
[7] Substance abuse

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Dear @masterwritter,

You truly put your heart into this post! There are many subjects that fascinate me in my field, psychology, and addiction is one of them. You have managed to succinctly and efficiently cover a lot here :); I particularly liked the section you discussed the reasons why people resort to drugs.

In a society which increasingly sees drugs as the answer to all physical problems

This is really an unfortunate reality. We actually have a term for it in psychology A Rational Choice Model of Addiction, and the pity with such cases is that they are harder to cure, because these individuals believe their lives are better under the addiction. So, they refuse to cooperate during treatment.

Also, I found interesting how you pointed out affluence as one of the reasons that may drive people to drug use. Oh, aren't humans SO very complex? When things are hard we resort to drugs to ease the pain. When things are good, we resort to drugs because we get bored!

Thank you for this great afternoon reading :)
Have a great weekend ahead! :*

·

Thanks aplenty @abigail-dantes . I'm thrilled to have you here! Thanks for your contribution on this article.

When things are hard we resort to drugs to ease the pain. When things are good, we resort to drugs because we get bored!

Beautiful words!



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