What is drug abuse and substance abuse?

Drug abuse , also known as substance abuse, involves the repeated and excessive use of a drug to produce pleasure or escape reality despite its destructive effects. The substances abused can be illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine or legal substances used improperly, such as prescription drugs and inhalants like nail polish or gasoline . But whatever the choice of drug, substance abuse can be identified by the maladaptive way in which it takes over the user's life, disrupting his or her relationships, daily functioning, and peace of mind. For those in the grips of drug abuse and addiction, their drug controls them, not the other way around. “Uncontrollable, compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences ” is the essence of drug addiction. Drug addiction can be physical, psychological, or both. Using a drug to numb unpleasant feelings, to RELAX   or TO SATISFY CRAVINGS   are examples of Psychological addiction. On the other hand, physical dependence refers to the physiological effects of drug use. Physical addiction is characterized by Tolerance - the need for increasingly larger doses in order to achieve the initial effect—and Withdrawal Symptoms when the user stops.
Signs and symptoms of drug addiction and abuse

The more drug use begins to affect and control a person's life, the more likely it is that he or she has a drug problem. If one suspects that a friend or loved one is abusing drugs, it's important to remember that drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. But there are a number of warning signs one can look for:
  • Inability to relax or have fun without taking drugs. 
  • Sudden changes in work or school attendance and quality of work or grades.
  • Frequently borrowing money, selling possessions, or stealing items from employer, home, or school.
  • Angry outbursts, mood swings, irritability, manic behavior, or overall attitude change.
  • Talking incoherently or making inappropriate remarks.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance and grooming.
  • Wearing sunglasses and/or long sleeve shirts frequently or at inappropriate times.
  • No longer spending time with friends who don't use drugs and/or associating with known users.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors, such as making frequent trips to the restroom, basement, or other isolated areas where drug use would be undisturbed. 
  • Talking about drugs all the time and pressuring others to use.
  • Expressing feelings of exhaustion, depression, and hopelessness.
  • Using drugs first thing in the morning.
Other Symptoms of addiction:
  1. There is loss of interest in sports and in the daily routine.
  2. A loss of appetite and weight.
  3. There is unsteady gait or clumsy movement.
  4. Reddening of eyes, unclear vision.
  5. There are numerous injection sites, blood stains on the clothes.
  6. Nausea or vomiting and body pain.
  7. Drowsiness or sleeplessness, lethargy and passivity.
  8. There is acute anxiety, depression and profuse sweating.
  9. The possession of needles, syringe and strange packets at home.
  10. There are changes in moods and tamper tantrums.
  11. There is emotional detachment and depersonisation.
  12. There is also impaired memory.
  13. One prefers to be in solitude and spend longer hours in the toilet.
  14. Disappearance of articles, money from home.
There still remains a considerable degree of ignorance among the public about the ill-effects of drug abuse on the individual, the family and the community. Experience has shown that drug abuse is a multifaceted and multi dimensional problem which has to be solved within the context. Drug abuse is a Psycho-Socio-Medical problem which need to be treated in the entirety of the life situations in the addicts.
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