I will begin this article with a real-life experience- a story about how I lost my friend due to drug addiction.
Dr. R. R. was a successful general surgeon and a brilliant doctor. Fortunately (or unfortunately) he was also my colleague, medical college classmate and hostel roommate.
He had a roaring practice in one of the suburbs of Mumbai and was running a surgical cum medical nursing home.
About 25 years back, he was involved in a vehicle accident in which he suffered many crippling injuries- he had fractured bone in the right thigh that was repaired surgically.
However, my doctor friend had a very low pain bearing capacity. Being a surgeon himself, he had access to pain killer drugs like morphine and this he used to relieve the pain of the accident and surgery.
By and by, he started injecting himself even at the slightest pain. Not only the pain, he took it to get to sleep.
He had lost control of himself and when morphine was stopped by his medical colleague and partner, he took to alcohol.
He became moody, was unable to concentrate on his work and ultimately developed a condition called motor neuron disease due to which he lost the functions of his legs.
He was depressed and incoherent when I last saw him.
Later one day, he died due to burns he got after his mattress caught fire because of his chain-smoking habit that had developed along with alcoholism.
The culprits here were- morphine in the beginning and alcohol cum smoking later. He was addicted to all of these!
So, there we are- let’s get back to main topic-Drug Abuse
What is drug abuse?
Drug abuse has become an increasingly significant problem worldwide, affecting millions of people and causing devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Despite the many campaigns, warning signs, and educational programs, drug abuse continues to be a significant social issue that plagues societies worldwide.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the shocking truth about drug abuse and addiction, including the various names, dosages, and side-effects of commonly abused drugs.
We will also delve into the science behind drug addiction, the warning signs to look out for, and the available treatment options.
Understanding drug abuse and addiction
What is drug abuse?
Drug abuse is the habitual use of a substance for non-medical purposes, leading to physical, psychological, and social harm.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction, on the other hand, is a chronic disease that affects the brain and behavior, leading to compulsive drug seeking and use, despite the harmful consequences.
Addiction is a complex condition that results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors, making it difficult to overcome without professional help.
Drug abuse and addiction come in different forms, and the signs and symptoms vary depending on the substance used.
Some of the most commonly abused drugs include
The effects of these drugs on the body and mind can be severe and life-threatening, leading to addiction, overdose, and death.
Commonly abused drugs and their effects
These are drugs that are commonly used to treat pain. However, they are also highly addictive and can lead to dependence and addiction. Some of the most commonly abused opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine. These drugs can cause drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and respiratory depression, which can lead to an overdose.
These are drugs that increase alertness, attention, and energy. They are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, they are also abused for their euphoric effects.
Some of the most commonly abused stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine.
These drugs can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and seizures.
This is a drug that is commonly used for recreational and medicinal purposes. It contains THC, a psychoactive compound that alters the mind and produces a sense of euphoria.
However, marijuana can also cause impaired memory and concentration, paranoia, and psychosis.
This is a powerful stimulant that produces a sense of euphoria and increased energy. However, it can also cause anxiety, paranoia, and heart problems.
This is an opioid drug that is highly addictive and can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death.
Prescription drug abuse and addiction
Prescription drug abuse and addiction have become a significant problem in recent years, with millions of people misusing prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
Prescription drugs are often used to treat pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. However, they can also be highly addictive and lead to dependence and addiction.
Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants.
Opioids are often prescribed to treat pain [ as mentioned in the story at the beginning], but they can also cause respiratory depression, coma, and death.
Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety, but they can also cause drowsiness, memory problems, and addiction.
Stimulants are used to treat ADHD, but they can also cause heart problems, psychosis, and addiction.
Over-the-counter drug abuse and addiction
Over-the-counter drugs are drugs that can be purchased without a prescription. They are often used to treat common ailments such as pain, cough, and cold. However, they can also be abused for their euphoric effects.
Some of the most commonly abused over-the-counter drugs include cough syrups containing codeine, antihistamines, and diet pills. These drugs can cause drowsiness, confusion, and respiratory depression, which can lead to an overdose.
Illegal drug abuse and addiction
Illegal drugs are drugs that are prohibited by law, and their possession, sale, or use is considered a criminal offense. Illegal drugs are often highly addictive and can cause severe physical, psychological, and social harm. Some of the most commonly abused illegal drugs include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. These drugs can cause addiction, overdose, and death.
Dosages and side-effects of common drugs
The dosage and side-effects of drugs vary depending on the substance used, the method of administration, and the individual's tolerance.
However, some common side-effects of drug abuse include drowsiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, respiratory depression, and heart problems.
For example, the dosage of opioids depends on the strength of the drug and the individual's tolerance. However, even a small amount of fentanyl can be lethal, and overdoses are common. The side-effects of opioids include drowsiness, confusion, constipation, and respiratory depression.
The dosage of stimulants also depends on the individual's tolerance and the strength of the drug. However, even a small amount of cocaine can cause heart problems, seizures, and psychosis.
The side-effects of stimulants include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and seizures.
Signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction
The signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction vary depending on the substance used and the individual's tolerance. However, some common signs and symptoms include changes in behavior, mood, and physical appearance.
For example, people who abuse opioids may appear drowsy, confused, and have constricted pupils. They may also experience constipation, nausea, and respiratory depression.
People who abuse stimulants may appear hyperactive, anxious, and have dilated pupils. They may also experience weight loss, insomnia, and heart problems.
Getting help for drug abuse and addiction
Getting help for drug abuse and addiction is crucial for recovery. There are many treatment options available, including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and support groups.
Medication-assisted treatment involves the use of medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Behavioral therapy involves counseling and therapy to address the underlying causes of addiction and develop coping skills. Support groups provide a safe and supportive environment for people in recovery to share their experiences and receive encouragement.
Resources for drug abuse prevention and education
Preventing drug abuse and addiction requires a collaborative effort from individuals, families, communities, and governments. There are many resources available to help prevent drug abuse and educate people about the dangers of drug abuse.
Some of the resources include educational programs, community outreach programs, and drug take-back programs. Educational programs provide information about the dangers of drug abuse and how to prevent drug abuse. Community outreach programs provide support and resources for people in recovery and their families. Drug take-back programs provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unused and expired medications.
Conclusion: The importance of drug abuse awareness and prevention
Drug abuse and addiction are serious problems that affect millions of people worldwide. The effects of drug abuse can be devastating, leading to physical, psychological, and social harm. However, with the right knowledge, tools, and resources, drug abuse can be prevented and treated.
It is essential to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and provide education and resources to prevent drug abuse. By working together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by drug abuse and addiction. Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, help is available.