Before we can understand how to deal with drug abuse, we need to understand what Drug abuse is and what it is all about. This is a very serious condition and we need to take it very serious. it has lead to the destruction of may families, death, misuse of life.
What is drug abuse?
Compulsive, excessive, and self-damaging use of habit forming drugs or substances, leading to addiction or dependence, serious physiological injury (such as damage to kidneys, liver, heart) and/or psychological harm (such as dysfunctional behavior patterns, hallucinations, memory loss), or death.
To the lay man, he may define it as the miss use of drugs for personal comfort other than that meant for treatment.
Types of drug Abuse
Some symptoms of dependence on alcohol are shakiness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating and anxiety. Alcohol damages your liver, brain and heart. Test show that an alcoholic’s brain reacts differently to alcohol than non-alcoholics
Nicotine does not have a very long lasting effect. This causes nicotine users to smoke or chew tobacco more. The United States Government has not declared nicotine addictive or illegal. When people smoke it changes the way their mind works so that they need the nicotine again and again.
Many drugs abused are illegally but some are prescription. Opiates are drugs made from plants. Another way drugs are made is in a lab; these drugs are called designer drugs. Sale of illegal drugs is against the law in the United States of America, South Africa, and Cameroon. Usually people get drugs from friends or dealers. Today people can get drugs off the Internet. All they need is a web address, their credit card number and their mailing address
A drug that enters the body through breathing is an inhalant. Inhalants are more commonly used by teenagers than any other age. Inhalants can be found in many household items. Inhalants cause brain damage, lung damage, coma or even death.
Most street kids in South Africa use inhalants as a source of comfort, and to take away their pain. They some times use glue which they inhale. This causes them to shake; movement is disturbed, drowsiness, and then later sleep.
Now we know the various types of drug abuse. But it is important to know why people abuse drugs
People abuse drugs for many reasons
• Some people use drugs because of peer pressure
• Some may think that they might be immune and the effects of drugs won’t affect them
• When some people are stressed and need something to get them past their problems they may take drugs.
• Others might take drugs just for a thrill or just curiosity
Once people get caught on drugs they usually become dependent. When people take drugs it over stimulates the reward path on the brain causing them to become dependent
It is important to know what happens to the body when you are Addicted
When someone is addicted, it turns on his or her reward path in his or her brain. This makes them feel pleasure. Soon the person who took the drug wants that feeling repeated, so they take the drug again. Doctors call this dependency. This dependency causes life-threatening problems in the body.
How does this happen?
The neurons in the brain get over stimulated. This kills some neurons. That is how brain damage occurs. Tobacco is more addictive than alcohol. People who are addicted to one substance are usually addicted to others. People who smoke usually drink twice as more then non-smokers. To stop cravings, scientists develop many medicines to block cravings but a cure is a long way off. Scientists have found that it is not anymore difficult to treat several addictions at once then one addiction at a time
List of most abused drugs
(Nicotine): Found in cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (snuff, spit tobacco, chew)
(Alcohol (ethyl alcohol): Found in liquor, beer, and wine
(hashish) Boom, gangster, hash, hash oil, hemp
Marijuana found in Blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed
Heroin (Diacetylmorphine: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine and antihistamine) ( injected or smoked)
Opium Laudanum, paregoric: big O, black stuff, block, gum, hop
- Stimulants Cocaine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine and a host of others.
Signs to watch out for with Drug abuse
It is important to keep in mind that if a child shows any of the following symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is using drugs. The presence of some of these behaviors could be the product of adolescent stress. Others may be symptoms of depression or a host of other problems. Whatever the cause, they may warrant attention, especially if they persist or if they occur in a cluster. A mental health professional or a caring and concerned adult may help a youngster successfully overcome a crisis and develop more effective coping skills, often preventing further problems
• Loss of appetite, increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain.
• Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination.
• Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
• Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual; blank stare.
• Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
• Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
• Smell of substance on breath, body or clothes.
• Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness.
• Runny nose; hacking cough.
• Needle marks on lower arm, leg or bottom of feet.
• Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
• Tremors or shakes of hands, feet or head.
• Irregular heartbeat.
• Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
• Changes in friends; new hang-outs; sudden avoidance of old crowd; doesn't want to talk about new friends; friends are known drug users.
• Change in activities or hobbies.
• Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
• Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
• Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
• General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, "I don't care" attitude.
• Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
• Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
• Silliness or giddiness.
• Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
• Secretive or suspicious behavior.
• Car accidents.
• Chronic dishonesty.
• Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.
• Change in personal grooming habits.
• Possession of drug paraphernalia.
Drug Specific Symptoms:
Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness; a sweet burnt scent; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.
Alcohol: Clumsiness; difficulty walking; slurred speech; sleepiness; poor judgment; dilated pupils; possession of a false ID card.
(including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness; and contracted pupils.
Hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; dilated pupils; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.
(Glues, aerosols, and vapors ) Watery eyes; impaired vision, memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; irritability; an unusual number of spray cans in the trash.
Dilated pupils; bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations; mood swings; detachment from people; absorption with self or other objects, slurred speech; confusion.
Needle marks; sleeping at unusual times; sweating; vomiting; coughing and sniffling; twitching; loss of appetite; contracted pupils; no response of pupils to light.
Smell of tobacco; stained fingers or teeth.
Treatment of drug Abuse
1. decide to make a change:
- This step is the most important. And to help you go via this step, you need to know:
• the way you deal with stress
• who you allow in your life
• what you do in your free time
• how you think about yourself
Thinking about change
- Keep track of your drug use, including when and how much you use. This will give you a better sense of the role the addiction is playing in your life.
- List the pros and cons of quitting, as well as the costs and benefits of continuing your drug abuse.
- Consider the things that are important to you, such as your partner, your kids, your career, or your health. How does your drug use affect those things?
- Talk it over with someone you trust. Ask the person how he or she feels about your drug use.
- Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing? What are some things that could help you make the change?
For the above, you will need family ,friends and therapy.
2 Explore your treatment options
Finding an addiction treatment program or provider
• Talk to your doctor.
• Call HELP LINE to reach a free referral helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
• Contact your health insurance company.
• Find out if your job offers an Employee Assistance Program with addiction counseling
• Talk to a family member
3 Reach out for support
Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having a solid support system is essential. The more positive influences you have in your life, the better your chances for recovery. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t easy, but with people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, it’s a little less tough.
• Lean on close friends and family – Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If you’re reluctant to turn to your loved ones because you’ve let them down before, consider going to couples counseling or family therapy.
• Build a sober social network – If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. It’s important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
• Consider moving in to a sober living home – Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while you’re recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you don’t have a stable home or a drug-free living environment to go to.
• Make meetings a priority – Join a recovery support group and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what you’re going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.
4 Learn healthy ways to cope with stress
Even once you’ve recovered from drug addiction, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, and to remain sober in the long term, you’ll need to resolve these underlying issues as well.
Conditions such as stress, loneliness, frustration, anger, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness will remain in your life even when you’re no longer using drugs to cover them up. But you will be in a healthier position to finally address them and seek the help you need.
Relieving stress without drugs
Drug abuse often stems from misguided attempts to manage stress. Many people turn to alcohol or recreational drugs to unwind and relax after a stressful day, or to cover up painful memories and emotions that cause us to feel stressed and out of balance. But there are healthier ways to keep your stress level in check, including exercising, meditating, using sensory strategies to relax, practicing simple breathing exercises, and challenging self-defeating thoughts.
Things to do to relief stress without drugs
- Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to bust stress and find balance
- Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape
- Play with your dog or cat, enjoying the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur
- Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell
- Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach. Or think of a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends
- Put on some calming music
- Soak in a hot bath or shower
- Treat your self to a spar
5 Keep triggers and cravings in check
• Make a break from old drug buddies. Don’t make the mistake of hanging out with old friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.
• Avoid bars and clubs, even if you don’t have a problem with alcohol. Drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.
• Be up front about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be up front about your history and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use or be denied medication for pain; if that happens, find another provider.
• Use caution with prescription drugs. Stay away from prescription drugs with the potential for abuse or use only when necessary and with extreme caution. Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication.
6. Build a meaningful drug-free life
• Pick up a new hobby. Do things that challenge your creativity and spark your imagination—something you’ve always wanted to try.
• Adopt a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for an animal makes you feel loved and needed. Pets can also get you out of the house for exercise.
• Get involved in your community. Replace your addiction with drug-free groups and activities. Volunteer, become active in your church or faith community, or join a local club or neighborhood group.
• Set meaningful goals. Having goals to work toward and something look forward to is a powerful antidote to drug addiction. It doesn’t matter what the goals are—whether they involve your career, your personal life, or your health—just that they are important to you.
• Look after your health. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits help you keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down. When you feel good, drugs are much less of a temptation. The more you can do to stay healthy, the easier it will be to stay sober
7. Don’t let relapse keep you down
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course.
What causes relapse?
Various “triggers” can put people at risk of relapsing into old patterns of substance use. Causes of relapse can differ for each person. Some common ones include:
• negative emotional states (such as anger, sadness, trauma or stress)
• physical discomfort (such as withdrawal symptoms or physical pain)
• positive emotional states (wanting to feel even better)
• testing personal control (“I can have just one drink”)
• strong temptations or urges (cravings to use)
• conflict with others (such as an argument with a spouse or partner)
• social pressures to use (situations where it seems as though everyone else is drinking or using other drugs)
• good times with others (such as having fun with friends or family.
PS: Please note that drug abuse treatment can last like 12 months. So time and patience should be exercised.
To conclude see your life as meaningful. Your life is precious and intact. Let no one & nothing bring you down for what ever reason
A lady to loves to help people ans ee to it that they are happy