Drug abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of people in the US. Drug use disorder is a condition when a person uses one or more substances that lead to severe health problems. This drug abuse takes a toll on one’s health causing personal and social problems. From OTC (over the counter)/prescription drugs to illicit drugs, literally, any drug can be abused. Whether its illicit drugs or other combined substances, Americans have tried abusing these substances at some point in their lives. Drug abuse not only affects the individual but on the whole, it affects family, personal health, employment, and local communities.
Types of drugs commonly abused
Any substances whose ingestion causes a “euphoric”(high) feeling can be abused. Legal substances like alcohol and illegal substances like cocaine are well known abusive substances but to believe over the counter medications and household cleansing things can also be abused. Here is the list of commonly abused drugs for your perusal.
Alcohol comes first on the list as it is legal and easily accessible. Alcoholism causes a severe impact on an individual’s overall well-being.
Prescription drugs like methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine fall under the amphetamines category.
Anabolic steroids are the substance that is abused by athletes and bodybuilders. This abuse causes infertility and paranoia.
Caffeine, when consumed in excess quantities, can cause a habit-forming pattern and causes tremors, palpitations, and anxiety.
Cannabis usually referred to as marijuana, is the most commonly abused illicit drug. The drug causes infertility, lack of motivation and paranoia.
This drug comes in powder form and liquid form and it stimulates the nervous system causing the euphoric feeling.
Ecstasy is also called MDMA, this drug creates a high feeling and can cause high body temperature which could be fatal.
LSD(Lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), Salvia Divinorum, DXM( dextromethorphan), and mescaline are the examples of hallucinogenic drugs which are mind-altering. They cause visual and auditory hallucinations.
These are commonly abused, inhalants are usually household cleansers alike ammonia, bleach and other substance that emit fumes. Prolonged use of an inhalant can cause brain damage.
Nicotine, the substance found in cigarettes is addictive and it is the most commonly abused drug.
Also called as narcotics and includes heroin, morphine, and Percodan.
The use of these opiates decreases the functioning of the nervous system.
Commonly called PCP, the overuse of this drug causes the person to act aggressively and dangerously.
Symptoms and Signs of Drug Abuse
If a person starts abusing drugs, you may notice physical and behavioral changes. The person may act differently and here are the symptoms of drug abuse:
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Change in sleep patterns
- Choose to stay alone always
- Loss of interest
- Feeling sluggish and moody
- Change in eating habits
- Lack of personal care(bathing & grooming)
- Being nervous
- Mood swings
- Bloodshot eyes
- Diminished memory
Drug Abuse and Human Brain
Long-term drug abuse will definitely take a toll on the brain. Drugs work by altering the brain’s chemistry where the neurons are affected. Neurons functions to control cognition, emotions and sensory information. They communicate with each other using synapses. When the neurons signals for synapses, they release chemicals called neurotransmitters. This neurotransmitter plays a vital role in everyday life and functions.
When a person is on continuous drug abuse, these neurotransmitters get affected. Few drugs are similar in structure to the neurotransmitters and bind with the neurotransmitter receptors. Therefore drugs like marijuana and cocaine stimulate neurons to release high amounts of these neurotransmitters. Other drugs may cause high amounts of dopamine-a neurotransmitter released in the nervous system. This is how the drug users feel the euphoric highs.
Drug Abuse Treatment
Drug addiction treatment aims to help the victim get recovered from his/her drug addiction. Drug addiction is a chronic disorder and long-term treatment is essential for effective recovery. No single treatment option is right for everyone. An addicted person should get tailored treatment options based on his/her mental & physical condition. Treatments programs include outpatient and inpatient facilities. If the addiction is chronic then an inpatient treatment program would suit to get intensive care and therapy. Outpatient treatment facilities would suit those with strong support groups at home. Most treatment options include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual or group therapy
- Individual drug counseling
- Physical and mental assessment
- Aftercare support
The National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) states that there are more than 14,500 drug rehabilitation centers providing tailored drug treatments- counseling, medication, case management and other types of services to help the victims with drug abuse disorder. If you are searching for a drug rehab center? This site will definitely help you find the best rehab center based on your needs.