Drug abuse involves excessive and frequent use of chemical substances so as to attain a certain feeling. Drug abuse has commonly been defined as unrelenting or erratic excessive drug use inconsistent with or unrelated to acceptable medical practice. Drug abuse is not a question of faulty will power or moral flaws but rather it is a vicious cycle that brings about changes in the brain resulting in impulses being stronger than they previously were. Continuous use of chemical substances with the purpose of obtaining a certain feeling can lead to drug or substance abuse and addiction. Drug abuse can occur as a result of using either the prescribed drugs for enjoyment rather than for the purposes for which they were prescribed or as a result of constant use of illicit drugs (Patel, 2003).
Drug abuse is an effect of diverse factors. Some of the risk factors for drug abuse include family history of drug addiction, history of mental disorders, untreated physical discomfort and peer pressure. In a family where drug addiction is prevalent, there is on interaction of environment and genetics thus the individuals in such families are at a higher risk of drug abuse. It is possible that a family with a history of mental disorders can be a cause of drug abuse because mental illness can create new symptoms among them being drug abuse. If a patient is allowed to take drugs without any medical supervision being provided, pain medication can be addictive or abuse of these drugs can be realized. Teenagers are likely to abuse drugs due to peer pressure which may cause them to have difficulties in resisting it (Saisan, Segal, & Cutter, 2009).
The effects of drug abuse vary depending on the drug that is being abused. For example; drugs such as methamphetamine or cocaine cause the person to experience the feeling of rush and trigger the initiation of sensitivity of ceaseless energy. Drugs like benzodiazepines, heroin and prescribed drugs such as Oxycontin can cause the person to experience feelings of calmness and relaxation. Without realizing by the abusers, these drugs cause changes to the brain by causing over stimulation and consequently altering the chemistry of the brain. The effect on the chemistry of the brain is then exhibited by the abuse of drugs because the individual feels extremely uncomfortable and sometimes pain when he or she does not take the drug (Saisan, Segal, & Cutter, 2009).
There are several signs and symptoms that can be used to determine whether or not a person is a drug abuser. For example, an individual exhibits a series of augmented energy, inability to sleep and restlessness, abnormally slow speech, movement or response time, disorientation, confusion, abrupt loss or gain of weight, series of over sleeping behaviors, mysterious roach clips, pipes and roach clips, snorted drugs, chronic nose bleeding or sinusitis, severe bronchitis or coughs which result in coughing up of excess blood or mucus, and progressive chronic dental issues. Furthermore, drug abuse causes a person to have changes in mood e.g. increased irritability, anger, depression, delusions, hallucinations etc (Saisan, Segal, & Cutter, 2009).
In dealing with the problem of drug abuse, the abuser can take the drug abuse prescriptions which will be beneficial either psychologically or medically. However, the patient should use the drugs appropriately because it is often difficult to deal with the problem of drug abuse. This is attributed to the adverse effects of the disorder such as risk of other infections specifically hepatitis B and HIV due to sharing of syringes, brain damage, lung disease, arthritis, heart problems and even death when the drug is taken in excess. It is therefore advisable upon those close to the abuser to seek medical advice and provide support to the individual (Patel, 2003).
Saisan, J., Segal, J., & Cutter, D. (January 2009). Drug Abuse and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, Effects and what you can do. Retrieved May 13, 2009, from http://www.helpguide.org
Patel, V. (2003). Where there is no Psychiatrist: a Mental Health Care Manual. Iowa: RCPsych. Publications