The Problem of Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse

Last Updated: 15 Oct 2020
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DRUG ADDICTION AND DRUG ABUSE A Research Paper presented to the faculty of Cabalum Western College Iloilo City In partial fulfillment In English II by: What is drug addiction? Drug addiction is a complex brain disease. It is characterized by compulsive, at times uncontrollable, drug craving, seeking, and use that persist even in the face of extremely negative consequences. What Is Drug Abuse? Dennie Ho I am an independent freelance writer and editor with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I have worked professionally as an analyst in the government, higher education, and public relations industries.

I have been freelance writing for over eight years, including two with Demand Studios. The effects derived from abusing drugs will differ depending on the type of drug, but the basic pattern of drug abuse is the same: a compelling urgency to acquire and use the desired chemical substance. With drug abuse comes drug addiction and, as the addiction grows stronger over time, the impulse to use the drug grows more powerful: powerful enough to alter relationships, destroy health, interfere with work schedules and disrupt normal activities. 1. Definition Drug abuse entails the excessive and/or repeated use of chemical substances (in any form) in order to achieve certain biochemical effects. Significance * The abuse of drugs is coupled with addiction, and obtaining and using the drug becomes increasingly more important than any other thing in life: friends, family, employment or even children. Types * Drug abuse involves chemical substances known as street- or illicit-drugs (illegal due to their potential for addiction), as well as prescription drugs that are acquired for pleasurable use rather than medical necessity.

Consequences * The consequences of abusing drugs can be both physical and emotional, confounding the body's normal biochemical processes, making normal functions difficult to perform and impairing cognitive abilities--like judgment--to dangerous levels. Effects * As described by the Mayo Clinic, stimulants increase blood pressure and metabolism resulting in powerful rushes of energy and difficulty sleeping. Depressants and barbiturates produce calming sensations and excessive relaxation by reducing blood pressure, heart rate and breathing to dangerously low levels. Potential Drug abuse over time chemically alters the brain's neurological functions, causing extreme discomfort and pain when it is deprived of the drug. The Difference Between Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse Dr. Howard Samuels The terms "drug abuse" and "drug addiction" are sometimes used interchangeably and incorrectly. Although drug abuse may lead to drug addiction, they are two completely different terms. Drug Abuse Drug abuse is the misuse of any substance, legal or illicit. Some drugs, such as prescription medications and alcohol, may be used in an appropriate way and not be considered abused.

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Taking prescription pills precisely how prescribed or having a single glass of wine with dinner are examples of not abusive drugs. Drug abuse occurs with these substances when they are taken in excess. Also, use of any illegal drug may be considered drug abuse, as it is not supposed to be used at all. Many illicit drugs are vulnerable to be abused because of their psychologically and physically addictive properties. Drug Addiction Drug addiction develops from repeated drug abuse, and also is believed to have genetic factors.

Addiction can be characterized by a complete overhaul of one's motivational factors, in which the individual strives only to get high. Generally, other motivational factors such as school, work, family life, daily activities, and self-care lose their importance, as the drug becomes the only way the addict can find any happiness or relief. Addiction is always psychologically based with some causing physical addiction as well by changing the chemistry of the brain. Although an addict may find temporary relief from using, their life usually is not pleasant around them.

Although one who is abusing drugs may intentionally do so, an addict never wants to be an addict. As the drug is their only motivational factor, they cannot quit easily as nothing else gives them the same feeling they seek. Some form of treatment is often required to help addicts, whereas one abusing drugs may simply quit with their own willpower. All Addiction Articles * Drug Addiction * Meth * Methadone * Alcoholism * Ketamine * Cough Syrup * Valium * Dilaudid * Xanax * Suboxone * Sex * Drug Addiction Help * Oxycontin Statistics * How Drugs Can Become Addictive * Stages Intervention for Opiate Addiction * Drug Use in Prison * Athletes and Drug Abuse * Crystal Meth Rehab and Detox * Prescription Meds Post Surgery * Dangers of IV Drug Use * Heroin * Hydrocodone * Cocaine * Ecstacy * GHB * Inhalants * Demerol * Codeine * Ritalin * Adderall * Gambling * Drug Addiction Treatment * Drug Addiction vs. Drug Abuse * Drug Addiction Within the Family * Kids and Drugs * Vicodin * Defining Addiction * Olympic Doping * Current Events in War on Drugs * Alcohol Abuse Statistics * Love Addiction * Marijuana * Percocet * Substance * LSD * PCP * Spice Soma * Ambien * Morphine * Percodan * Nicotine * Cocaine Length in System * Drug Addiction Recovery Options * Genetic Aspect of Drug Addiction * Fact Sheet on Painkillers * Stigma * Malnutrition and Drug Use * Abstral: New Painkiller on the Market * Rich Kids Drug Use on the Rise * Agassi Crystal Meth Drug Admission * Bath Salt Addiction Causes of Drug Abuse Many people wonder about the causes of drug abuse. An underlying cause is the escape from emotional pain. Some people are physically predisposed to drug addition, whether emotional pain is present. 1. Emotional Issues The most prevalent cause of drug abuse stems from the addict's need to escape from emotional pain. Any sort of trauma can lead to drug abuse. Job Loss * An unexpected disruption, such as job loss, can create a feeling of inadequacy and undermine a person's confidence, leading him to flee the pain through drug abuse. Marital Difficulty * Arguments and discord in the marriage can lead to drug abuse. Drugs can provide a release from tension in the family. Genetics * A drug abuser can be susceptible to addiction because of her genetic makeup. Once the drug abuser experiments with a substance, the body will crave more.

Self-Medication * Self-medication can encompass all of the above issues for the drug abuser. He feels that he must relax, escape or mentally shut down through drug abuse. ------------------------------------------------- Causes of Drug Addiction Recognizing the causes of drug addiction can help prevent a person from becoming an addict. The motivators behind initial drug use or experimentation can lead to long-term use and becoming an addiction over time. ------------------------------------------------- Possible Causes of Drug Addiction Drug addiction can be found in many forms.

A person can be addicted to alcohol, prescription drugs, inhalants or other street drugs (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc. ). Understanding the reasons people are initially attracted to drug use can help stop future users from becoming addicts. Experimentation and curiosity are the first factors that draw many people into trying drugs. They want to feel that "high", the sense of euphoria that comes with drug use. While this may lead to recreational use of drugs (using only in certain situations), it rarely leads to actual addiction unless other factors are present.

However, some drugs (like heroin) have are more likely to cause addiction than others resulting in an addiction from simple experimentation alone. Prescription drugs can turn people into addicts because they have conditions in which they need to take drugs in order to get relief. People become hooked on prescription drugs when they take more than the recommended dosage, take it more frequently than recommended and continue using the drug after their initial medical condition clears up. Elite athletes are susceptible to using drugs. They use them for performance enhancing abilities.

Steroids can make muscles bigger, while amphetamines help reduce or numb pain and allow people to play injured. Recently, major league baseball has come under fire for drug abuse. Although not as prominent, high school and college athletes have also been known to use drugs to enhance their performance. Others turn to drug use to cope with problems in their real lives. Whether it is past abuse (physical or sexual), school problems, work problems or relationship issues, drug use can help a person temporarily escape the realities of his/her life.

Being around drugs and being exposed to addicts can also lead to drug addiction. If a family member or close friend uses or is addicted to drugs, it seems more acceptable for other members to engage in similar behavior. It becomes a tolerated activity. Peer pressure is also a factor in turning people into drug addicts. Contrary to popular belief, peer pressure can happen at any age. Adults fall prey to peer pressure to fit into new social classes, new workplaces and new neighborhoods. Teenagers fight peer pressure on everything from looks to alcohol to sex to drugs.

In fact, using crystal meth is becoming a way for many teenage girls to fight the pressure that comes with needing to be thin and attractive. Teenagers can also fall prey to the rebellious attitude that they need to do anything their parents or those in authority say is bad. Easy accessibility to drugs and new, lower prices can also lead to drug addiction. Drugs can be found anywhere if a person simply asks. Street corners and alleyways are no longer the only place to find drugs. Schools, workplaces and even the family next door might be new places to find drugs.

With more drugs being produced, the price has also been driven down. Drug addiction can also be caused by using drugs to mask other mental problems. For example, depressed people frequently use drugs to escape their sad feelings. Schizophrenics find that some street drugs can control their hallucinations. Denial and hiding the problem just lead to more problems in the long run. Four Stages of Drug Abuse Regina Paul Regina Paul has been a full-time freelance writer and author for three years. She has published over 500 articles online and 10 books. Her articles are published at Associated Content, e-How. om, and The Fun Times Guide. Her books are published with Amira Press, Eternal Press, and Leap of Faith Publishing. Introduction * Drug abuse is now seen as a disease, rather than just a moral problem as it was in the past. These days psychiatric professionals have identified four stages of drug abuse, enabling them to help individuals regardless of what stage they may be in. First Stage: Experimentation * The first stage of drug abuse can start out with using a drug voluntarily with the intent to erase a personal problem, or out of curiosity or because of peer pressure.

For example, in the case of a personal problem, perhaps a man discovers his wife is cheating on him, and so he turns to drugs. When they appear to make him feel better, he moves from the first stage to the second stage of regular use. Second Stage: Regular Use * Someone that starts out experimenting with a drug and who likes the effects will often move on to regular use of the drug. In some cases, people will stop on their own even after they have begun regular use and they don't move beyond stage two, but others move to stage three and begin exhibiting risky behaviors. Third Stage: Risky Behavior The transition from stage two to stage three of drug abuse varies from person to person, and it can sometimes be difficult to determine if the behavior a person is exhibiting is risky. In spite of this, if you believe the behavior of a loved one is risky, then you should tell your loved one. It is very easy to slip from stage three to stage four, which is dependence. A few examples of risky behavior are driving while high on drugs, doing target practice with a gun while high on drugs or jumping out of a second-story window under the influence of drugs. Fourth Stage: Dependence ; Addiction The characteristics of stage four are consistent drug abuse, always being high, not being able to function at work or at home, picking fights with loved ones, being incapable of rational thinking, engaging in risky behaviors such as taking drugs and driving or operating dangerous machinery while high, and legal problems that include receiving tickets for driving under the influence of drugs. If a person is in stage four they are addicted, and the problems mentioned above will continue to grow as the person's psyche is affected for the worse by continual drug use.

Symptoms of Drug Abuse Drug, or substance, abuse is the habitual and exorbitant use of chemicals in order to produce a specific result or "high. " Abuse can involve illegal drugs or prescription drugs. Continued use can result in an addiction that ultimately affects addicts' work and home life as well as their health. 1. Physical Symptoms * Individuals may exhibit cycles of high energy or excessive sleep. Confusion or disorientation may be evident, along with slower speech, movement and reaction time.

Changes in appetite with a sudden weight gain or weight loss may be an indicator of drug abuse. You may notice changes in the type of clothing worn, such as long-sleeved shirts to hide needle marks, or you may find paraphernalia, such as syringes, roach clips (used to hold a small marijuana cigarette) and pipes. Other physical signs include red and watery eyes, runny nose, chronic sinus problems or nosebleeds, persistent coughing, trembling, irregular heartbeat and serious dental troubles. 2. Mental and Emotional Symptoms *

Drugs are abused for the purpose of achieving a "good" feeling. Signs of drug abuse can include cycles of unresponsiveness or being overly energetic and cheerful. Mood may change with heightened anger and irritability, and a lower threshold to become violent. Addicts may exhibit depression and apathy or paranoia and delusions. Other symptoms include hallucinations and silliness. 3. Behavioral Symptoms * You may notice a change in personality and attitude with drug abuse. Addicts may begin to socialize with different groups of friends and in different places.

Hobbies, interests and activities may change, and family becomes less important. They may exhibit suspicious or secretive behavior, lack of motivation and decreased ability to pay attention. They may begin to steal money or objects that can be sold. 4. Specific Symptoms * Marijuana produces red or glassy eyes, unsuitable laughter and talking with subsequent sleepiness, loss of motivation and interest, and weight loss or gain. Depressants result in clumsiness, concentration difficulties, slurred speech, poor judgment, contracted pupils and sleepiness.

The use of stimulants is evident by symptoms of euphoria, hyperactivity, anxiety, irritability, dilated pupils, dry mouth and nose, weight loss and excessive talking with subsequent depression or sleeping. Inhalants cause impaired vision and memory, watery eyes, nose or mouth rashes, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, appetite changes, irritability, anxiety and poor muscle control. The use of hallucinogens is exhibited by mood swings, paranoia, aggression, slurred speech, hallucinations, confusion and dilated pupils.

Heroin may be suspected due to needle marks, sweating, coughing and sniffling, vomiting, twitching, contracted pupils, loss of appetite and sleeping at odd times. 5. Support * If you believe someone you know is abusing drugs, it is important to understand that the decision to stop is entirely up to him. You can offer him support, but he must have the desire to quit. You can find a treatment facility or support group to help him get started. It may also help to involve your minister or rabbi, your family physician or a therapist.

The recovery is an ongoing process and an addict must work to overcome the withdrawal and to resist the drug cravings. What Are the Different Kinds of Drug Abuse? Someone with a drug abuse problem often displays general symptoms, regardless of the type of drug being abused: paranoia, confusion, overall attitude or mood adjustment, withdrawal from relationships or activities, abrupt changes in quality of work or school attendance. The specific signs of drug abuse, however, will differ, depending on the nature of the chemical. 1. Acute Alcohol Abuse The Handbook of Diseases describes the immediate signs of alcohol abuse as intoxication, loss of motor control (including walking and speech), alcoholic odor on breath or clothing, loss of memory and blackouts. Chronic Alcohol Abuse * The chronic signs of alcohol abuse are more subtle. This abuse can be seen in someone who has including difficulty focusing, uncharacteristic behavior (passive or argumentative), dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, declining school or job performance, and fixated attention on alcohol, according to the Handbook of Diseases.

Depressant Abuse * According to the American Council for Drug Education (ACDE), signs of the abuse of depressants (barbiturates---Amytal, Seconal; benzodiazepines---tranquilizers Xanax and Valium) include an intoxicated appearance (like alcohol, but without the noticeable smell). Signs of depressant abuse also include a lack of facial expressions or emotional responses, flaccid appearance, deflated or flat personality, and slurred or distorted speech. Stimulant Abuse The ACDE identifies the signs of stimulant abuse (amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, Ritalin) as hyperactivity, extreme energy, fidgeting, twitching, nervousness, irritable or argumentative, lack of appetite and sleep deprivation. Physiological signs include dilated pupils, dry mouth and lips, runny nose or nose bleeds, and sinus problems. Hallucinogen Abuse * The ACDE describes the abuse of hallucinogenic drugs (PCP, LSD, Ketamine or Special K) as including distortion (self, others, time, the senses), hallucinations, confusion, altered mood or behavior and slurred or incoherent speech.

Signs of hallucinogenic abuse also include physiological indications, such as extreme dilation of the pupils, warm skin, heavy perspiration and body odor. Narcotic Drug Abuse * Abuse of narcotics (opiate-containing drugs such as heroine, methadone, codeine, oxycontin and morphine) can be identified by lethargy, drowsiness, pupil constriction and slurred speech. Other clues include increased amount or frequency in taking pain medication and frequent trips to doctors and clinics for pain medication.

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The Problem of Drug Addiction and Drug Abuse. (2017, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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