Substance abuse, often known as drug abuse, is defined as the use of a drug in quantities or ways that are harmful to the user or others. It’s a type of substance abuse disorder. In the fields of public health, medicine, and criminal justice, different definitions of drug abuse are employed. When a person is under the influence of a substance, they may engage in criminal or antisocial behavior, and they may also have long-term personality changes. In addition to the potential for physical, social, and psychological harm, the use of some drugs may result in criminal consequences, however, the severity of these sanctions varies greatly depending on the local jurisdiction.
Alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, methaqualone, and opioids are the most commonly associated drugs with this name. The exact root of substance abuse is unknown, but there are two leading theories: either an acquired genetic propensity or a habit that, if developed into an addiction, manifests as a chronic debilitating disease. In 2010, roughly 5% of the population (230 million individuals) used an illicit substance.
Of these, 27 million experience high-risk drug use, often known as repeated drug use, which is harming their health, causing psychological issues, or putting them at risk of those dangers. Substance abuse disorders claimed the lives of 307,400 people in 2015, up from 165,000 in 1990. Alcohol use disorders account for the most deaths, with 137,500, followed by opioid use disorders with 122,100, amphetamine use disorders with 12,200, and cocaine use disorders with 11,100.
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Substance Abuse- Signs and symptoms
Drug misuse, including alcohol abuse, can result in health problems, social problems, morbidity, injuries, unprotected sex, violence, deaths, motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides, physical dependency, or psychological addiction, depending on the compound.
Alcoholics and other drug addicts have a high suicide rate. Long-term addiction to alcohol and other substances, which causes physiological changes in brain chemistry, as well as social isolation, are thought to raise the risk of suicide. Another concern is that the medications’ immediate intoxication effects may make suicide more likely. Suicide is also quite common among juvenile alcoholics, with one out of every four suicides in adolescents being linked to alcohol usage. Alcohol abuse is linked to around 30% of suicides in the United States. Alcoholism has also been linked to an increased chance of committing crimes such as child abuse, domestic violence, rapes, burglaries, and assaults.
Drug misuse, including alcohol and prescription pharmaceuticals, can cause symptoms that are similar to those of mental illness. This can happen when drunk as well as during withdrawal. Substance-induced psychiatric illnesses, such as persistent psychosis or depression following amphetamine or cocaine misuse, can sometimes last long after abstinence. Symptoms of a protracted withdrawal syndrome might last for months after the drug has been stopped.
Benzodiazepines are the most well-known medicine for causing long-term withdrawal symptoms, which can last for years after stopping use. Withdrawal from alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines can all be lethal. Hallucinogen abuse can lead to delusions and other psychotic symptoms long after the drug has been stopped.
During intoxication, cannabis can produce panic attacks, and with sustained usage, it can lead to dysthymia. Researchers discovered that both daily cannabis usage and high-potency cannabis use are linked to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychotic diseases.
Sustained alcohol misuse is known to cause severe anxiety and sadness. In some people, even moderate alcohol consumption might lead to an increase in anxiety and sadness. Most drug-induced psychiatric illnesses fade away after a period of sobriety. Similarly, while substance misuse causes many brain changes, there is evidence that many of these changes can be reversed after long periods of abstinence.
Special populations under Substance abuse
- Refugees and immigrants
- Children on the streets
- Gender and sex
The majority of governments have enacted legislation that makes certain sorts of drug use illegal. These narcotics are frequently referred to as “illegal drugs,” but their production, distribution, and possession are all prohibited. These medications are also known as “restricted substances.” Even for modest possession, the legal consequences can be severe (including the death penalty in some countries). Laws differ from country to country, and even within countries, and have changed dramatically through time.
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