When someone becomes addicted to a drug of abuse, it's imperative that treatment is sought out. Drug use has been linked to social problems such as crime, homelessness and violence. Families can be seriously affected when a member becomes addicted to a drug of abuse. It's difficult to hold onto a job while using any drug of abuse on an ongoing basis.
Many paths can lead to the causes of drug abuse, from casually using a drug of abuse to a more serious substance or alcohol problem that can be traced to biological or psychological reasons. There are a range of treatments and treatment centers available to help those who have a history of drug abuse. It's important to know that there are different categories of drugs that are abused.
A drug of abuse can be categorized according to the effects they elicit and how the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies them. Keep in mind that the use of one particular drug can often lead to using other more potent drugs because of changes that take place in the brain and other psychological factors.
Stimulants: Drugs that stimulate the central nervous system can be powerfully addictive. Tobacco stimulates the heart rate and can elevate blood pressure. Methamphetamines heighten alertness. Stimulants will decrease the appetite, and can cause heart attacks, high blood pressure and stroke. Some common stimulants that abusers use include cocaine and amphetamines.
Depressants: There are many prescription drugs that can become addictive. Prescription drug abuse can occur when using barbiturates, benzodiazepines and certain sleep medications. These drug effects can include slurred speech, lethargy, shallow breathing and loss of coordination. Alcohol is also a depressant.
Cannabinoids: These drugs are DEA schedule I drugs, meaning they have a strong potential for abuse. They include marijuana and hashish. The health risks associated with cannabinoids are respiratory infections, deterioration of mental health and addiction.
Opioids: Heroin is a DEA schedule I drug while opium is listed as schedules II, III and IV drugs. Opium is potentially highly abusive, available only by prescription, some with no refills, others with a few refills allowed.
Club Drugs: MDMA, a Schedule I drug, is hallucinogenic, lowers inhibitions and produces chills and muscle cramps. Flunitrazepam, a Schedule IV drug, is a sedative that causes memory loss and dizziness. GHB, a Schedule I drug, can lead to seizures or coma.
Hallucinogens: These are LSD, mescaline and psilocybin, all Schedule I drugs. They alter perception and can cause hallucinations. The health risks include body temperature rises, increased heart rate and emotional shifts.
The Most Common Drugs of Abuse
The history of drug abuse data indicates that alcohol and tobacco are the two top most common drugs of abuse. The next most common drug abused is marijuana followed by prescription medications, particularly painkillers and sedatives. Another common drug of abuse is cocaine.
How Drug Addiction Is Treated
Depending upon the person, treatments can vary. Detoxification using withdrawal medications is just the beginning of addiction treatment. Counseling and behavioral therapies are commonly used treatment plans for drug abuse. Medications can be combined with counseling; simply stopping drug use does not change drug abuse in the long term. The person at risk needs to be monitored on a continual basis, both mentally and physically.
Signs of Drug Abuse
There are telltale physical signals of the effects of drugs such as changes in sleep patterns and/or appetite, sweatiness, tremors, hyperactivity, runny nose, or a general deterioration in health.
Behavioral signs include a sudden change in personality, lowered grades, poor work performance, and lack of motivation, paranoia or moodiness. Those abusing drugs and alcohol will very often exhibit signs that they are in deep trouble and those warnings should be heeded. Do not ignore these signs and seek treatment when necessary. Addiction can be overcome with the right level of determination and support.