In this article we’ll cover the following:
- How Does Drug Abuse Affect the Body?
- Why Do People Abuse Drugs?
- How Does Drug Abuse Start?
- What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse?
- Diagnosing Drug Abuse
- Treatment of Drug Abuse
- Drug Abuse Services
Drug abuse is a grave problem in the society these days. There’s an alarming rise in drug abuse cases in the US alone. In 2014, over 7 million Americans struggled with drug use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Drug abuse also creates many major social problems, such as crime and violence.
From over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs to drugs that can be bought from the streets or illegally, any drug can be abused.
How Does Drug Abuse Affect the Body?
Drugs are substances that may correct an ailment of the body. They’re meant to either speed up or slow down the bodily processes to make you feel better. However, most drugs are chemically prepared and may become harmful to your body if not taken properly.
The effect of drugs depends on the dosage or amount you take. Drugs may either act as a stimulant or a sedative. This means that if you take drugs in smaller doses, there’ll only be a minimal effect of that drug on your body. The greater dosage of the drug, the greater will be the effect. Overdosing these drugs will put you in great danger in the long run.
Many of these drugs may directly affect the brain. Such drugs may alter anyone’s perception of the environment and everything that’s happening around them. When their minds become distorted because of a drug overdose, they may start to act strange, irrational, and even violent.
Even though these drugs may provide you with a short-term satisfaction and relief from any pain or problem, when they’re abused, may make you lose your senses and your ability to perform normally.
Why Do People Abuse Drugs?
There may be various reasons why people abuse drugs or resort to drugs. Here are some of the reasons why people as young as 12 years old expose themselves to drug abuse:
Many people try to self-diagnose their illnesses. They try to be doctors and take drugs which they think will cure their sickness. Many people may also believe that they’ll heal faster by increasing the dosage of the drug.
CURIOSITY AND PEER PRESSURE
Teenagers are usually curious about different things, and it doesn’t exclude trying and experimenting drugs. Curiosity may start from peers who introduce the usage of these illicit drugs. Some people may be curious about prescription drugs of other people and may try them for themselves. If they like the effects of these drugs, they may end up abusing drugs or become addicted to drugs.
Peer pressure influences some people. Their peers may provoke or pressure them to use drugs, and usually, it doesn’t happen once. They may repeatedly use and abuse drugs which may later become an addiction.
While teenagers and young adolescents are in their curiosity phase in life, they may use drugs to fit in a group. They may also think that using drugs may make them feel like an adult. Sometimes, they become rebellious and abuse drugs even though they don’t fully understand the ill effects of abusing drugs and danger of drug addiction.
Over-the-counter drugs are readily available in the market. Inhalants and cough syrups are usually abused by taking them more than its intended dosage. Prescription drugs become available when people use and abuse other people’s prescription meds.
Anyone can buy nicotine almost anywhere. Street drugs are mostly bought in underground transactions. Users usually find ways to acquire illicit drugs no matter what the consequence.
Some people may be living in an environment where drug abuse or addiction is common. The users also may not have enough knowledge about these abused drugs but use them anyway because it’s the ‘norm.’
There are also places in the US that legalize the use of drugs like marijuana. The legalization of such drugs makes it easy for anybody to buy, use and abuse drugs.
DIVERSION FROM REALITY
Boredom and depression often lead people to use drugs to divert themselves from loneliness and misery. They may think that using drugs will make them feel better. These substances may shortly fill the emptiness that they feel inside. And when they get that satisfaction from using drugs, they may continue to use these drugs. Later, they may become dependent, and this continuous usage will likely turn into an addiction.
Some people think that using drugs will help them forget their problems. Many users say that they tend to forget any problem they’re facing when they resort to drugs. Because they get that effect from drugs, they start to think that drug abuse is the only solution to any problem. Sadly, they may become dependent on these drugs and often believe that they can’t live without using drugs.
How Does Drug Abuse Start?
Some people who abuse drugs start in their teenage years. You may observe these risky behaviors that lead to drug abuse or addiction. Here are some risk factors that may cause people to start drug abuse:
- Lack of parental care
- Easy accessibility to drugs
- Rebellious and aggressive behavior
Exposing a child to several of these risk factors will create a greater chance for that child to abuse drugs later in life. Some people may begin abusing drugs during adulthood even without experiencing any of the risks factors mentioned above. In many cases, drug abuse starts with the misuse of prescription drugs even if these drugs are intended for a medical purpose.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Abuse?
Here are some commonly observed signs and symptoms of someone who may be abusing drugs:
- Have bloodshot eyes
- May be constantly sniffing
- Have poor hygiene and grooming
- May be impulsive
- Have sudden mood swings
- Have changes in his or her normal behavior
- Isolates himself from friends and family
- Losses interest in any social activity
- Has problems with sleeping patterns
- May lose appetite
- May become lethargic, hyperactive, or high-strung
Diagnosing Drug Abuse
Before treating someone who’s addicted to drugs, the patient has to undergo assessment and evaluation so that appropriate treatment plan can be created.
The evaluation process includes the person’s physical and mental condition, history of drug abuse, the severity of drug abuse, and personality. Some physical and behavioral diagnostic criteria are made to determine an addiction. These include:
- Inability to stop using and abusing drugs
- Tolerance to the effects of the abused drug
- Withdrawal symptoms that occur when drug use is suddenly stopped
- Inability to meet responsibilities at work or home
- Uncontrollable use of the drug
A patient doesn’t have to acquire all criteria to determine drug addiction. Drugs have various effects on every individual. Some people may not display any withdrawal symptom while others may experience an uncontrollable need or dependency of the drug abused.
Treatment of Drug Abuse
There are various methods used in the treatment of drug abuse and addiction problems. Many rehab facilities make effective plans after assessing and evaluating a person addicted to drugs. The intensity of the treatment usually depends on the severity of the addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it’s important that treatment plans are carefully designed to every incoming patient as no precise treatment works perfectly for everyone.
Inpatient drug abuse treatment provides a blend of individual and group therapy to help those who are addicted to drugs learn ways to fight their addictions. Some treatment facilities provide motivational and educational activities. If needed, the doctor may give medications to help ease the symptoms of detoxification and withdrawal.
INPATIENT DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT
A patient can fully focus on his or her recovery when admitted in an inpatient drug abuse treatment facility. There’s a big chance for the patient to complete a drug abuse treatment program successfully because they’ll have a better support system, and will be closely monitored. This support system may also be benefited by patients who have mental illnesses.
How Much Does an Inpatient Drug Abuse Treatment Cost?
The cost of an inpatient drug abuse treatment program depends on several factors like the duration of the treatment, geographic location, intensity of care needed, and luxury level of the treatment facility. A treatment program can have an average cost range of $200 to $900 per day. However, longer drug abuse treatment programs may have a lower cost per day to help the patient financially.
OUTPATIENT DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT
Outpatient drug abuse treatment usually assists patients addicted to drugs throughout their recovery. However, some patients may use outpatient treatment program to help them during the last stages of their recovery from drug abuse or addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), outpatient drug treatment programs may have little effect if the program lasts in less than three months. Many patients who are addicted to drugs make a better recovery from longer treatment periods. Because of this reason, many patients join both inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment programs.
How Much Does an Outpatient Drug Abuse Treatment Cost?
The cost of an outpatient drug abuse treatment program depends on several factors like the duration of the treatment and frequency of the sessions. Outpatient treatment programs may cost anywhere between $100 and $500 per outpatient treatment session. However, a longer drug abuse treatment program may have a lower cost per session to help the patient financially.
Specific Approaches Used for Drug Abuse Treatment
Outpatient drug abuse treatment may use various methods to help someone who’s addicted to drugs recover.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped many people overcome their drug abuse problems. This method is a psychotherapy that can help people manage their drug abuse problems by changing the way they think and behave. With cognitive behavioral therapy, patients may be able to determine different triggers that may cause them to use drugs. They’ll learn to better respond to these triggers without making them turn to drug abuse.
MOTIVATIONAL ENHANCEMENT THERAPY (MET)
Motivational enhancement therapy is another effective therapy often included in an inpatient or outpatient drug abuse treatment program. With motivational enhancement therapy, the patients are being helped by therapists to motivate themselves physically and emotionally which may soon assist them to resist the use of drugs.
Research shows that patients who underwent motivational enhancement therapy program experienced a lesser recurrence of drug use and fewer crime incidents.
People who start to recover from drug abuse or addiction often receive moral support from their families. Members of the patient’s family usually serve as the main support system in their transition from the inpatient facility until the comfort of their homes. It’s important that every member of the family understand the entire recovery process. This way, they may become great sources of encouragement and support for the patients.
Family therapy also helps in determining important familial concerns that may have contributed to the patient’s drug abuse problem. This therapy may also repair relationships that were ruined because of drug addiction.
There’s a twelve-step drug abuse treatment program provided by organizations like Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. These treatment programs may help patients overcome their addiction as it has various therapeutic activities included. The patients can then apply the skills they learned during the treatment program when they go back to their respective homes.
Drug Abuse Services
There are drug abuse services that may be needed for the patient’s long-term drug abuse treatment program. Some of these services include guidance counseling and therapy sessions for those patients who have an inpatient treatment program but still need more support in their recovery.
These drug abuse services may work better when combined with other services that may help anyone who’s addicted to drugs manage other aspects of their lives. The services may be available in both privately and publicly funded treatment programs.
These drug abuse services include:
- Financial services
- Housing/transportation services
- Legal services
- Mental health services
- Educational services
- Family services
- Vocational services
- Medical services
- Laboratory services