Drug abuse is the habitual abuse of licit of illicit drugs to the extent that the abuse substantially injuries a person’s health or substantially interferes with his or her social or economic functioning. Furthermore, any person who has lost the power of self-control over the use of drugs is considered a chronic drug abuser. Many individuals having problems with drug abuse also suffer from issues like mental health disorder, most often drug abuse is an attempt of a person to “self medicate” the emotional or mental problem that has plagued them. Studies have shown often times that drug abuse can accelerate mental disorder. Often times a person who is living with drug abuse will not even recognize that they have a form of mental illness. Through drug abuse, they may be self medicating and even realize it. People who experience drug abuse in combination with the mental illness may be resistant to treatment and recovery because they may deny the problem when confronted with their behaviours. Many a time drug treatment intervention may be required to address the drug behaviour and the problems it is causing that the person will be confronted with facts they cannot ignore. The elementary stage to treat the drug abuse is often simply a symptom greater, deeper, underlying problem.
THE CONCEPT OF DRUG ABUSE
What is drug and what is drug abuse? Drugs are substances, which interact with our body system to modify the physiological and biomedical process of the body. Drugs which exert their major effects on the brain and psychological functioning resulting in such effects as sedation, stimulation or change in mood or behaviour are called “psychoactive substances (Burns, 1988), and are potentially habit forming. The maladaptive use of such substances, such as when they are medically necessary, when they are used against legal prohibition, or when there is a maladaptive or excessive use of socially acceptable drugs (e.g. alcoholic, kolanut), resulting in significant impairment in personal, social and occupational functioning, constitute the phenomenon of drug abuse (Odejide and Morekinyo, 2004). Why Do Some People Develop a problem but others don’t? Substance use disorder is an illness that can affect anyone; rich or poor, male or female, employed or unemployed, young or old, and any race or ethnicity. Nobody knows for sure exactly what causes it, but the chance of developing a substance use disorder depends partly on genetics-biological traits passed down through families. A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress level also play major roles by contributing to the use of alcohol or drugs. Researchers have found that using drugs for a long time changes the brain in important, long lasting ways. It is as if a switch in the brain turned on at some point. This point is different for every person, but when this switch turns on, the person crosses an invisible line and becomes dependent on the substance. People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a greater risk of crossing line and becoming dependent. These changes in the brain remain long after a person stops using drugs or drinking alcohol. Even though your family member has an illness, it does not excuse the bad behaviour that often accompanies it. Your loved one is not at fault for having a disease, but he or she is responsible for getting treatment.What are the Symptoms of Substance use Disorders? One of the most important signs of substance addiction or dependence is continued use of drugs or alcohol despite experiencing the serials negative consequences of heavy during or alcohol use. Often, a person will blame other people or circumstances for his or her problem instead of realizing that the difficulties result from use of drugs or alcohol. For example, your partner may believe he was fired from jobs because his bosses didn’t know how to run a business perhaps your loved one has even blamed you. People with this illness really may believe that they drink normally or that “everyone takes drugs. These false beliefs are called denial, and denial is part of the illness. The media often portray people with substance use disorders as unemployed, unproductive, criminal, and homeless. However, many people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs do not fit this stereotype; they have jobs and live with their families.
Other important symptoms of substance use disorder include Tolerance. A person will need increasingly larger amounts of alcohol or drugs to get high
.Craving: A person will feel a strong need, desire, or urge to use alcohol or drugs, will use alcohol or a drug despite negative consequences, and will feel anxious and irritable if he or she can’t use them. Craving is a primary symptom of addiction. Loss of Control: A person often will drink more alcohol or take more drugs than he or she meant to, or may use drugs at a time or place he or she had not planned. A person also may try to reduce or stop drinking or using drugs times, but may fail. Studies over the past two decades have tried to determine the origins, and pathways of drug abuse-how the problem starts and how it progress. Many factors have been identified that help differentiate those more like to abuse drugs from those less vulnerable to abuse. Factors associated with greater potential for drug abuse are called “risk” factors, while those associated with reduced potential for abuse are called “protective” factors. However, most individuals at risk for drug abuse do not start using drugs or become addicted. Also, a risk factor for one person may not be for another. Gender may also determine how an individual responds to risk factor. Researcher on relationships within the family shows that adolescent girls respond positively to parental support and discipline, while adolescent boys sometimes respond negatively. Research on early risk behaviours in the school setting shows that aggressive behaviour in boys and learning difficulties in girls are the primary causes of poor peer relationships. These poor relationships, most individuals at risk for drug abuse do not start using drugs or become addicted. Also, a risk factor for one person may not be for another. Gender may also determine how an individual responds to risk factors. Research on relationships within the family shows that adolescent girls respond positively to parental support and dispelling, while adolescent girls respond positively to parental support and discipline, while adolescent girls sometimes respond negatively. Research on early risk behaviours in the school setting shows that aggressive behaviour in boys and learning difficulties in girls are the primary causes of poor peer relationships. These poor relationships, in turn, can lead to social rejection a negative school experience, and problem behaviours including drug abuse. What are the early signs of risk that may predict later drug abuse? Some signs of risk can be seen as early as infancy, children’s personality traits or temperament can place them at increased risk for later drug abuse. With drawn and aggressive boys, for example, often exhibit problem behaviours in interactions with their families, peers, and others and others they encounter in social settings. If these behaviours continues, they will likely lead to other risk. These risks can include academic failure, early peer rejection, and later affiliation with deviant peers, often the most immediate risk for drug abuse in abuse adolescent. Studies have showing that children with poor academic performance and inappropriate social behaviour at ages seven (7) to nine(9) are more likely to be involved with substance abuse by age 14-15. Children’s earliest interactions occur within the family and can be positive or negative. For this reason, factors that affect early development in the family are probably the most crucial children are more likely to experience risk when there is: Lack of mutual attachment and nurturing by parents or caregivers; Ineffective parenting; A chaotic home environment Lack of a significant relationship with a caring adult; and A caregiver who abuses substances, suffers from mental illness, or engages in criminal behaviour. These experiences, especially the abuse of drugs and other substances by parents and other caregivers, can impede bonding to the family and threaten feelings of security that children need for healthy development. Other factors-such as drug availability drug trafficking patterns, and beliefs that drug abuse is generally tolerated-are risks that can influence young people to start abusing drugs. Drug Abuse: This is characterized by taking more than the recommended dose of prescribed drug such as barbiturates without medical supervision or marijuana, cocaine, heroin or other illogical substance. Legal substances such as alcohol and nicotine are also commonly abused by many people. Drug abuse is defined as any substance of biological or chemical origin which when taken into the body may modify one or more of its functions (WHO 1996). Drug abuse is a widespread problem that distracts people from all socio-economic levels. It occurs when a person feels the need to use a drug repeatedly for diverse purpose. Drug addiction is said to be present when a person continues to abuse a drug after serious problems related to the drug use have occurred, consequences which can be severe. Dependence (psychological and sometimes physical) characterized by a compulsion to use a drug to experience psychological or physical effects. Drug dependencies take several forms, tolerance, habituation and addiction.