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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

What is Substance Abuse?

Commonly referred to as “drug abuse”, substance abuse refers to an individual’s habitual use of and dependency for a controlled substance. Substance abuse has a wide range of definitions related to ingesting (or taking) a performance enhancing drug or a psychoactive drug for a non-medical or non-therapeutic effect.

Drugs that are often the subject of substance abuse include: alcohol, barbiturates, amphetamines, cocaine and opioids. The perpetual use of these drugs may lead to criminal punishment and possible social, physical and/or psychological harm—these adverse effects depend on the region or jurisdiction’s laws, as well as the user’s tolerance levels, the type of substance being abused, as well as the frequency and dosage attached to the abuse.

Medical Definition Regarding Substance Abuse:

In the modern medical profession, substance abuse is used as a blanket term to include the recreational abuse or addiction to narcotics, drugs and other substances. Substance abuse refers to the harmful use of a substance that ultimately leads to the displacement of psychological or physical harm on the abuser. Individuals deemed as substance abusers must exhibit a physical dependence for the drug, must habitually use the drug and must experience a significant withdrawal from the drug.

How Can I Tell if Someone is Abusing Substances?

Depending on the type of drug, substance abuse (including alcohol) may lead to a series of social problems, health problems, violence, motor vehicle accidents, injuries, suicides, homicides, deaths, or psychological and physical dependency.

Substance abuse can induce mental illness; the dependency for the drug inhibits the user from perceiving reality—everything they do, say and think about revolves around the euphoria of the high. Substance abuse triggers numerous effects on the user’s central nervous system, which in turn, produces several changes in mood, perceptions, sensations and levels of awareness.

Signs of substance abuse will be illuminated in a variety of settings; however, the most tangible sign comes in the form of the abuser’s behavior. A substance abuser will organize and plan his or her life around the next high. Furthermore, physical symptoms, such as glassy or bloodshot eyes, decreased appetites and severe fluctuations in mood will be present. The addiction to the substance impedes the user from maintaining responsibilities and commitments—victims of substance abuse will tend to frequently miss work, school or appointments. Furthermore, the addiction will ostracize the user from his or her family and circle of friends. Again, the high supersedes legitimately every aspect of the abuser’s life.

Treatment for Substance Abuse:

Treatment methods for substance abuse is essential for the millions of victims around the world. Before treatment can be secured, a formal intervention is typically necessary to convince the abuser to submit to help. A behavioral intervention and medication is available to help abusers reduce or discontinue their use. The following forms of interventions have emerged to convince and motivate a substance abuse victim:

· Motivational therapy

· Community Reinforcement Approach

· Exposure Therapy

· Contingency Management

· Pharmacological Therapy
In addition to these therapies, victims of substance abuse will often be submitted into rehabilitation facilities where they will be isolated from society, the drug itself and other influences. Rehab facilities offer counseling and educational resources to enable the user to curb his or her addiction.

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