Uses and abuse of drugs
“Last year alone, 37,000 people died from drug related overdoses.” Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. Substance abuse is a growing problem that not only affects the person who is abusing alcohol or drugs but also affects the lives of those who are close to the abuser.
Substance abuse is the abuse of any substance.
A drug is a substance that modifies one or more of the body’s functions when it is consumed. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a disease and quitting takes a lot more than just changing your behavior. Drug Abuse is generally defined as the use of a drug with such frequency that the user has a physical or mental harm or it impairs social abilities. The substances that are discussed in this report are called psychoactive drugs; those drugs that influence or alter the workings of the mind, affect moods, emotions, feelings, and thinking processes.
Substances drugs affect the brain, heart, liver, lungs and also the people around you. When drugs get into the bloodstream they are carried to all parts of the body and some reach the brain. In fact, drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is more difficult than it appears. The quicker the drug reaches the brain, the more intense the effects. The quickest way to get a drug into the brain, and also the most dangerous way of using any drug is to injecting into the vein. Injecting into the vein is almost as quick as smoking a drug, followed by sniffing or snorting and then by mouth. Eating or drinking a drug is the slowest route, because the drug has to pass through the stomach first.
Drugs are generally categorized into two groups, stimulants and depressants. Stimulants are drugs that speed up signals through the nervous system. They produce alertness, arousal and excitability. They also inhibit fatigue and sleep. Everything from over-the-counter pain medication, prescriptions drugs such as, Oxycontin, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and even coffee can abused in one way or another. The two main substances being abused in our nation are nicotine and alcohol.
How does nicotine addiction work? Basically, when you smoke your first cigarettes, when you aren’t addicted yet, you get a head-rush which is caused by the nicotine. In your brain there are nicotine receptors which aren’t used to the nicotine in a cigarette. Over time, the nicotine receptors get used to the amount of nicotine so they can cope with the nicotine. So when this nicotine stops being given to the receptors (when you give up smoking) they panic and cause you to feel unhappy and angry. When you smoke, the nicotine receptors send out messages to other parts of the brain which release a drug called dopamine which makes you feel happy, satisfied, relaxed.
When you try to quit, or when you ‘fancy a cigarette’ your dopamine levels are going down and you start to feel unhappy, aggressive, unsatisfied. Most smokers don’t know that they are addicted to nicotine until they try to stop smoking completely they just think that they like smoking. The answer to your question is that you will have a moderate nicotine addiction, and quitting won’t be that hard. The signs of a severe nicotine addiction are needing to smoke a cigarette every 2 hours, having one as soon as you wake in the morning (or in even more extreme cases, waking up to smoke in the middle of the night).
Nicotine increases the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, activating the pleasure pathways in the same way other addictive drugs do. After the effects (calmness, sense of well-being) disappear, the smoker craves more. Why is alcohol addictive? Basically because alcohol, like nicotine and heroin and other substances stimulates the reward response in your brain. You have a drink, the brain rewards itself with a surge of chemicals and hormones that it really likes, and therefore the more you stimulate it, the more it wants.
Some people are more susceptible than others in that their reward responses are stronger which is why some people will get addicted to things more easily than other people will. If you add to that a troubled background of some sort, then when the brain offers its reward response though making that person feels calmer and happier or more in control, they are more likely than someone who is pretty happy.
Alcohol is made of ethanol, it is a depressant, your body becomes addictive to the depressant effects and you eventually need it to stop the shakes (delirium tremors) and the withdrawals of the depressant effects on the brain and body. For example, caffeine is a stimulant, and people become addicted to that and when having caffeine withdrawals one has headaches and other neurological effects. However, alcohol is a lot more dangerous because if you are a hardcore not only can you die from drinking, if you stop cold turkey you can have convulsions and die from withdrawals. The “addictive substance” is ethanol.
When you are pregnant, it is important that you watch what you put into your body. Consumption of illegal drugs is not safe for the unborn baby or for the mother. Studies have shown that consumption of illegal drugs during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, fetal death, and even maternal death. If its suspected that woman whose pregnant is using drugs they will test the baby to see if its born addicted, yes it is possible to see if the baby is addicted even before he/she is born.