This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. This paper discusses the current prevalence and consequences of misuse of these drugs and implications of this information for drug policy.
While some are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without experiencing negative effects, others find that substance use takes a serious toll on their health and well-being. Abusing drugs can leave you feeling helpless, isolated, or ashamed.
When does drug use become drug abuse or addiction? People start using drugs for many different reasons. Some experiment with recreational drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or to ease problems such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
Prescription medications such as painkillers, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers can cause similar problems. In fact, next to marijuana, prescription painkillers are the most abused drugs in the U.
And addiction to opioid painkillers can be so powerful it has become the major risk factor for heroin abuse.
Drug abuse and addiction is less about the type or amount of the substance consumed or the frequency of your drug use, and more about the consequences of that drug use. If your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—you likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem.
Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recoveryone that takes tremendous courage and strength. Facing your problem without minimizing the issue or making excuses can feel frightening and overwhelming, but recovery is within reach.
Risk factors for drug addiction While anyone can develop problems from using drugs, vulnerability to substance addiction differs from person to person. While your genes, mental health, family and social environment all play a role, risk factors that increase your vulnerability include: Family history of addiction Abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety Early use of drugs Method of administration—smoking or injecting a drug may increase its addictive potential Drug addiction and the brain While each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common: This includes commonly abused prescription medications as well as recreational drugs.
Taking the drug causes a rush of the hormone dopamine in your brain, which triggers feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated. When you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking.
Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs. The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction.
While frequency or the amount of drugs consumed do not necessarily constitute drug abuse or addiction, they can often be indicators of drug-related problems.
If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you may find yourself increasingly relying on it. You may take illegal drugs to calm or energize yourself or make you more confident.
You may start abusing prescription drugs to relieve pain, cope with panic attacks, or improve concentration at school or work. To maintain a healthy balance in your life, you need to have positive experiences and feel good about your life without any drug use.
Drug abuse may start as a way to socially connect. People often try drugs for the first time in social situations with friends and acquaintances. A strong desire to fit in to the group can make it feel like doing the drugs with them is the only option.
Smoking a joint with friends over the weekend, or taking ecstasy at a rave, or painkillers when your back aches, for example, can change from using drugs a couple of days a week to using them every day.
Gradually, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important to you. Your ability to stop using is eventually compromised.
What began as a voluntary choice has turned into a physical and psychological need. Eventually drug abuse can consume your life, stopping social and intellectual development. This only reinforces feelings of isolation. With the right treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of drug use and regain control of your life.
The first obstacle is to recognize and admit you have a problem, or listen to loved ones who are often better able to see the negative effects drug use is having on your life. Five myths about drug abuse and addiction Myth 1:About Marijuana Abuse What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana refers to the leaves, flowers, and extracts of the plant Cannabis sativa and several closely related species commonly known as hemp.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and is known by a large variety of names including cannabis, pot, weed, grass, hash. Crack cocaine is a highly addictive drug of abuse that has intense stimulant properties.
Typically, the user will feel a rush of excitement and energy that accompanies the euphoric delivered by the substance. Crack is a type of cocaine.
This means that the effects of the substances are similar. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government.
NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read about teenage drug abuse risk factors, symptoms, warning signs, treatment, statistics, addiction and prevention.
Learn which drugs teenagers abuse. Statistics for Substance Abuse Prevalence estimates indicates approximately % of the U.S. population over the age of 12 used an illegal substance in the previous month. Past month prevalence rates of nonmedical prescription drug use for this population were estimated at %.
What are the other health effects of marijuana? Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental. Physical Effects Breathing problems.