Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is the excessive use of a drug in a way that is harmful to an individual. Although it’s usually drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc., when we talk about substance abuse, technically, alcohol is also a substance and alcohol abuse too needs special treatment.
Alcohol and substance abuse is a serious issue that has plagued societies around the world throughout history. There has been plenty of evidence that proves alcohol and substance, when left unchecked, leads to ruin. It happens in every kind of society and in different parts of the world; it does not matter what background an individual comes from, anyone can fall victim to substance abuse as long as there is access to it.
Commonly abused substances:
Having one or two drinks occasionally is acceptable, it is considered abuse when an individual drinks several bottles in quick succession.
Alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism, which means a person cannot get through the day without alcohol; it can also cause serious health problems like liver cirrhosis and drinking too much at a time can cause alcohol poisoning, which can be deadly.
Other than health problems, alcohol abuse is known to be the cause of many social problems. It causes difficulties in relationships, work or school. Alcohol consumption is also related to many accidents and other crimes. In a study conducted in 2010, among all drugs alcohol was found to cause most harm to self and others, making it the most dangerous drug.
Although not really considered a “drug”, tobacco products contain a substance called nicotine which can be abused and is addictive. Addiction to nicotine does not directly cause physical harm; the underlying problem is that nicotine is mostly found in tobacco products and those products contain harmful chemicals which can lead to serious health problems such as cancer and heart attack.
This is an illegal drug and very commonly abused among younger people. Categorized as an opioid, heroin provides intense pleasure when taken. It is highly addictive and a single use can leave a person craving for more. This drug is taken through intravenous injection, which makes the user susceptible to health complications like tetanus, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. Overdose can be deadly.
Also known as cannabis, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in many countries including India. This drug has less adverse effects than other illegal drugs, but nevertheless, long time use can cause mental and physical problems. It is mostly smoked and its smoke contains chemicals that cause cancer. Also, during intoxication, some people have experienced panic attacks. Although there is no proof, it is a common belief that cannabis is a gateway drug to more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Cocaine is one of the most popular illegal drugs because of the “heightened” state it provides. Under its effect, a person will feel highly energetic and excited, they will feel ecstatic and an intense pleasure. It stimulates the whole body. After the effects wear off, it leaves the user with an empty feeling which often makes them want more of the drug, ultimately leading to addiction. Cocaine abuse is known to cause damage to the brain, kidneys and the heart.
Signs of substance abuse
If you have a drug habit, you may not realize that you are abusing a substance. You start with small doses, thinking that you can control the amount you take. With each use, your dependence on the substance keeps increasing and at some point you get addicted to it. Early recognition can really help in the treatment of substance abuse. Here are some signs of substance abuse you should lookout for:
Getting drunk or high on drugs more often than before
Irritability and aggressiveness
Lack of interest in day-to-day activities
Change in eating habits
Lying about usage of substances
Having trouble with classmates or co-workers
Forgetting more often than before
Frequent changes in mood
Seek help before it’s too late
Substance abuse is a very complicated matter. It can disrupt every aspect of your life. There is also a high risk of suicide related to alcohol and substance abuse. At early stages, it may be possible to treat it at home with self-care. But still, the safest option is to seek professional care. Get in touch with us today if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse problems.