Substance Abuse

The worst part about drug abuse is that it does not just affect the person using it; it affects the family and the society. It is not easy to point out when a drug causes an addiction. However, the risks are numerous. It is important to understand what your loved one is exposed to on a daily basis in this society. This could be in social events and even in schools. Learn how to approach the situation by first getting some Intel on the substance category that your loved one is abusing. This information will guide you to the right path when it comes to advising him or her on the long and short-term effects, the withdrawal symptoms, and the expectations of advising on rehabilitation center treatment or any other form of treatment available. This read will pinpoint the seven main substance abuse categories, their risks and effects.

The Seven Main Types of Substance Abuse

  1. Stimulants

They are sometimes known as uppers. Stimulants affect the central nervous system of the body. This makes the person using it to feel like they are speeding up. This results in increased alertness, blood glucose levels, breathing, blood pressure, and pumping up the heart rate. Medical practitioners prescribe this substance to people who suffer from asthma, narcolepsy and ADHD. This is because this drug is able to open up the breathing passages. Stimulants can help reduce appetite, thus helping weight loss. Sometimes high school children use them as a performance enhancement drug for sporting activities. They are in the form of pills, powder, drink, or even food.

Examples of stimulants include caffeine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, synthetic marijuana, Ritalin, and Adderall. Stimulants have varied effects of undesirable consequences. They include seizures, strokes, heart failure, depression, high blood temperature, psychosis, paranoia, and anxiety.

  1. Depressants

Depressants have the same effect as stimulants. They affect the central nervous system of the body but in a different way. They make the person using it feel like everything around them has slowed down. They are sometimes referred to as downers. They are medically prescribed for people who suffer from medical ailments that cause a person not to relax. These include obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, and anxiety. The substance sedates the user. This makes it the most frequently used substance by teenagers in this era because most of them suffer from depression and anxiety related symptoms. They turn to this substance as their gateway drug. Stimulants include benzodiazepines, Valium, Xanax, barbiturates, and Rohypnol.

The most commonly abused depressant is alcohol. Teenage drinking includes sudden bursts of energy and uncontrollable emotional and psychological effects. However, after some time the functions of the body slow down causing the person to feel drowsy and pass out. Alcohol overdose is severe and can cause death and toxicity.

Tobacco contains both depressant and stimulant qualities. The users experience some mild euphoria, and then a relaxed feeling. This is because of the presence of nicotine, which is highly addictive. Frequent depressant abuse causes both long and short-term issues such as death from withdrawal hallucinations, impaired memory, low blood pressure, sluggish thinking, delirium, increased body temperature, high blood sugar, weight gain, and diabetes.

  1. Hallucinogens

This substance disrupts brain communication. Frequent users experience intense perceptions of nonexistent things and rapidly shifting emotions. For example, a person who uses a hallucinogen will believe that a person is approaching and confronting them when in reality the user is talking to him or herself. Hallucinogens are available in forms such as beverages, pills, food, and even a smoking form. Examples include peyote, salvia, psilocybin, and LSD.

The effects of this drug are very severe and can last for the lifetime of the user. They include nausea, anxiety, psychosis, paranoia, distorted cognition, fear, and flashbacks or Hallucinogen Persistent Perception Disorder.

  1. Dissociative

Just as the name suggests, this category of substance distorts the real perception of the user. This makes them dissociate or feel like they have left their own bodies and are watching themselves like a ghost. This gives the user a false feeling of being invincible making him or her act in a risky manner like reckless driving, unprotected sex, or even attempting to jump off a great height. The substance affects the chemical glutamine, which is the receptor of the brain. This receptor is responsible for pain emotionality, and cognition perception.

They come in the form of gases, solids, powders, or liquid. Examples of dissociates are PCP (Phencyclidine), DXM (Dextromethorphan) and Ketamine. This substance is very dangerous, especially if it used for a long time. The most visible immediate effects of this substance include memory loss numbness, detachment from the real world, hallucinations, social withdrawal, speech difficulties, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression.

  1. Opioids

This is a silent illegal substance. This means that most people are not even aware that they are abusing it. The users experience a sense of euphoria after ingesting it in the form of painkillers. They are derivatives of the poppy plant and are mainly medically prescribed to people who are suffering from excruciating pain. They are highly addictive and can make a person from a habit after just three days of consistent use. The users are under the mistaken belief that the more they ingest the less their chances of feeling the pain. Opioids come in the form of pills, injections, drinks, food or even smoking forms.

Examples of opioids include codeine, Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin, opium, hydrocodone, morphine, and heroin, among others. The withdrawal symptoms are even worse than the effects of the addiction. The effects include cardiac arrest, pupil dilation, sedation, drowsiness, euphoria, brain impairment, liver damage, and constipation.

  1. Inhalants

This drug brings about brief euphoria and can be made in the comfort of your home using everyday household items. As the name suggests, this drug is taken into the body through fumes or gas that is inhaled by the user. Varying effects come from varying inhalants, but most substance abusers of this drug are willing to inhale anything they put their hand on. Examples include room deodorizers, aerosol sprays, nitrous oxide, and the fumes of substances such a glue, gasoline, paint thinner, paint, and markers.

The effects of using this substance could be immediate and even in the future, where the effects are seen to go on through the lifetime of the user. They include slurred speech, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, fat heart rate, euphoria, weakness nosebleeds, brain damage and loss of smell.

  1. Cannabis

This substance is mainly known as marijuana. This substance is special because it is a hallucinogen that also carries effects similar to those of a depressant. It is medicinal but a frequent user could form dependence. This means that the likelihood of forming an addiction is very high. This makes it a schedule 1 drug in the United States of America. However, the truth of the matter is that most of the users of marijuana are not even using it for medicinal purposes.

This substance can be introduced into the body through food, vapor, or smoke. Cannabis comes in various strains. Some of the examples include medicines that are cannabis-based like Sativex, hash oil, hashish, and marijuana leaves. The effects of ingesting it could be both long and short-term. They include increased time sense, enhancement of senses, slower reaction time and sedation, lower sperm count in men, chronic anxiety, depression, and low immunity.

You do not have to wait until a substance abuse problem affects your life for you to seek assistance. Understanding and recognizing signs of substance abuse problems will help you get through them before relationships, career, and long-term health problems can come up.

Admitting that you have a drug abuse problem is the first step towards getting the help you need. You need to have great courage and strength in order to tackle alcoholism and drug abuse. The second step involves reaching out for help and support.

Support is crucial for recovery regardless of whether you will take a self-directed approach for treatment, therapy, self-help programs, or rehabilitation. It is much easier to recover from drug addiction when you have the support, guidance, comfort, and encouragement of your loved ones. Without all this, you can easily fall back into your harmful substance abuse habits when things become difficult. Continued recovery from drug addiction is dependent on making better decisions, adopting healthy coping mechanisms, and taking up mental health treatment when faced with life’s challenges. You need to deal with any underlying issues you may have that led you to start substance abuse if you want to remain drug-free for the long haul.

Such problems may include mental health problems, unresolved childhood trauma, inability to deal with stress, or depression. When you cease drug use, these problems can seem bigger than they were before. However, you will be better equipped to deal with them and get professional assistance for recovery. Professionals who deal with addiction treatment address substance abuse in the same way they would treat other substance abuse problems. An effective program for treating drug abuse will include up-front concentrated treatment and long-term support to keep from relapsing. It can also start with an intervention to help the person see why he or she needs to commit to rehabilitation.

The intervention should be filled with people who the person considers his or her close friends. Then proceed to explain to the person that all the people in attendance are worried and concerned about the health of this person.  Alternatively, you could seek the aid of the internet and get a self-assessment platform. The person can then take the test themselves to help them come to the realization that they are addicts. This is mostly for people who abuse alcohol.

Seek the help of a professional. The professional might decide to take up the case of helping your loved one. Alternatively, this specialist might suggest the approach and professional that you might want to apply or consult. The professional might help your affected loved one know and learn about anonymous alcoholic groups. This will help the alcoholic come to terms with their current situation. Such mutual help groups promote accountability and support from other people who have recovered and others who are in the process of recovering. On the other hand, you could seek the aid of a doctor or medical practitioner to help you diagnose alcoholism. The doctor will make sure that within a minimum period of a year the person has exhibited at least three of the known substance abuse traits.

The doctor will make sure that within a minimum period of a year the person has exhibited at least three of the following elements:

  • Continuation of drug use even when it is clear that it is deteriorating their health. An example of this is an instance where a person develops liver cirrhosis and continues to drink with complete disregard for their health.
  • Focusing wholly on the intake of drugs and totally disregarding their alternative pleasures such as talents, jobs, relationships, and even hobbies, among other things
  • The person should have built up a tolerance for various drugs and alcoholic drinks within a minimum span of a year.
  • The person should develop withdrawal symptoms when they reduce or try to stop drug use.
  • The person should be unable to control their urge of drug use
  • The person should have a strong urge to use drugs

A professional treatment plan to deal with drug abuse involves the following features to ensure an effective recovery of the individual.

  1. The person should commit willingly to getting the treatment he or she needs. If you are dependent on a drug, you can choose to look for assistance to help you stop but you cannot choose to stop consuming drugs
  2. It involves an individualized plan to treat the issue based on a professional evaluation. Everyone drinks for personal reasons, which is why it is essential to create a plan for treatment customized to an individual’s requirements to offer the best opportunity for long-lasting recovery. The treatment program begins with a professional evaluation involving a physical health exam, a medical history review, and a mental health assessment. The staff and the client will create a drug treatment plan to meet the individual’s needs. This plan should be able to treat any underlying problems like trauma or depression while addressing any underlying physical issues as well.
  3. Detoxification is another option. It entails the person completely stopping their drug use for their body to adjust to their new healthy lifestyle. Take note that during this time the person experiences severe withdrawal symptoms. This is supplemented by ongoing treatment. Ongoing treatment here caters to three main camps, which are:
    • Psychosocial – This could involve some counseling to help the person understand their situation in a bid to alter the attitude they have towards drinking.
    • Psychological – This could involve some counseling to help the person understand their situation in a bid to alter the attitude they have towards drinking.
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This helps in altering the negative thought process of the alcoholic that keeps leading them back to drinking.
    • Take note that detoxifying is not as easy as it sounds especially to people who are already addicted to drugs. You will need to wean yourself slowly out of the normal drug abuse routine. This is because suddenly changing your normal routine will negatively affect your system and you might end up more addicted than you were before. Relapsing is a great risk at this stage. Start out by reducing your drug or alcohol intake until it reaches a point that your body system does not react negatively if the drug is not introduced into the body.
    • Additionally, you could incorporate an addiction treatment plan into your detoxification plan. A good example of an addiction treatment plan is a medication-assisted treatment. This treatment involves the use of buprenorphine and methadone to help the addicted person cope with the side effects and helps them reduce their urge of indulging in the drugs.
  4. The next step involves treating the physical, emotional, and mental well being as they all affect each other to contribute to overall well being. An intensive treatment program seeks the healing of one’s whole being and not just physical ailments. If the source of the drug abuse is dealt with and the individual is taught new ways to establish a stable life devoid of the drug, there will be less risk of relapsing.
  5. Emotional healing is the next step in the treatment program. It involves therapy sessions in groups and individually overseen by professional counselors to help to recover individuals deal with the psychological and emotional triggers that led to substance abuse. These therapy sessions can help them heal from any events caused by their drug addiction. It is a trauma-informed method included in substance abuse therapy and it is beneficial in helping the recovering individuals determine why they turned to the drug in the beginning.
  6. The next step involves physical healing and it emphasizes healthy physical activity such as yoga, sports, hiking, or walking as well as balanced nutrition. This phase is essential in helping the recovering drug user regain physical strength and start developing healthy long-term habits. The drug is essentially a poison and it can throw off your body’s nutritional and physical balance. The restoration of this balance via nutritional therapy in combination with developing a healthy exercise routine can reduce the symptoms experienced during early drug recovery.
  7. An effective rehabilitation program involves some degree of interaction between the people undergoing the recovery process together. This interaction can be in the form of 12-step meetings, group therapy, social activities, and discussion groups.
  8. Spirituality and becoming grounded follows at this stage. Addiction usually develops due to loss of control, insecurity, and feelings of helplessness. This is why it is important to get in touch with something that gives you a sense of purpose or something reliable and solid. This will set the foundation for a healthy life without any addictions. Some can find this through spiritual or religious practices while other people learn to mentally channel and rely on their inner strength when faced with any circumstance.
  9. Clients usually check into rehabilitation with knowledge gaps on how to deal with whatever led to their addiction. Treatment programs offer educational sessions during which there are discussions and questions. These sessions help to provide them with the skills and knowledge they require to establish the type of life they want to live after completing the program.
  10. Addiction of any kind can put a strain on one’s relationships with friends, colleagues, and family. An effective rehabilitation program helps to offer clients support so they can mend their relationships by offering therapy, support, and educational sessions for the family members as well.
  11. Substance abuse can cause legal ramifications in most cases due to the problems associated with drug use. Some rehabilitation centers help the clients remain focused on treatment by facilitating correspondence with legal representatives to help with legal problems.
  12. It is common to hear of people relapsing even after going through drug treatment programs and recovering fully. An effective treatment program will set up an aftercare support program to promote long-term recovery from drug abuse. These aftercare support programs include assistance with getting employment, access to alumni and mentor-ship activities, specialist referrals, support group referrals, and ongoing counseling. Drug aftercare treatment is a proactive way to help the person resume a life of sobriety while offering a relapse prevention plan.

It is possible to overcome substance abuse with long-term support and sound treatment options. If your life has been affected by drug addiction directly or indirectly, the best thing to do is reach out to a professional for assistance. You do not have to deal with drug addiction by yourself when there are established practices making it possible to recover from addiction to drug. Alternatively, the following ways may help the substance abuser get to terms with their condition.