clinically known as substance use disorder is the indiscriminate use of any chemical substance including cigarettes, inhalants, alcohol and others.
Categories of drugs commonly abused include
Legal, over the counter drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes.
Legal, prescription drugs such as methadone, oxycodone and Zolpidem.
Chemicals such as inhalant.
Illegal drugs such as marijuana, opiates (heroin), stimulants (methamphetamine and cocaine) and hallucinogenics (acids).
Risk factors for Drug abuse
1. Peer pressure.
2. Academic failure or lack of academic motivation.
3. Drug availability in the community.
4. Improper parenting
5. Parent or sibling alcohol/ drug use.
Biological Factors include
1. Genetic predisposition towards addictive behavior.
2. Mental illness (Depression, Anxiety as well as other mental illness)
3. Gender: Men are twice as likely to have drug abuse problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse
Physical Signs include inability to sleep, unusual laziness, changes in eating habits, Tremor, red watery eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual, extreme hyperactivity, excessive talkativeness, slowed or staggering walk, poor physical coordination, irregular heartbeat etc.
Behavioral Signs include change in overall attitude, change in activities or hobbies, chronic dishonesty, sudden oversensitivity, difficulty in paying attention, forgetfulness, unexplained need for money, lost of interest in family and family activity etc.
Effects of Drug Abuse
Drugs affect the body and brain. Some effects include health consequences that are long lasting and even permanent.
Drug abuse can weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infection.
It also cause cardiovascular conditions ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attack.
Injected drugs can also lead to collapse veins and infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.
Behavioral problems include paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, addiction, impaired judgement, loss of self control etc.
Drug abuse may pose various risks for pregnant women and their babies.
Social problems Drug abuse can lead to careless driving, violence, stress and Child Abuse. It can also lead to homelessness, crime, missed work or problems with keeping a job.
Treatment of Drug Abuse
There are different types of treatment for drug abuse.
Individual and Group Counseling Individual counseling often focuses on reducing or stopping substance use, skill building, adherence to a recovery plan and social, family and professional /educational outcomes. Group counselling provide social reinforcement for pursuit of recovery.
Medications using medication to treat substance use disorder is often referred to as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). In this model, medication is used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies.
Medications can reduce the cravings and other symptoms associated with withdrawal from a substance by occupying receptors in the brain associated with using the drug, block the rewarding sensation that comes with using a substance, or induce negative feeling when a substance is taken.
Medications for Alcohol use disorder
Medications for Tobacco use disorder
Medications for Opioid use disorder include
Naltrexone reduces risk of relapse to opioid use and helps control cravings.
In conclusion Drug Abuse is a serious health burden. It has caused a lot of health and social problems and as such there is need for proper treatment and prevention.
Pharm Blessing Ogbomo