What Is Drug Abuse?
Drug abuse is a very serious, chronic, public health problem and can be considered as a brain disease. It is characterized by seeking drugs compulsively and using them, despite harmful effects on the brain and the body. Drug abuse is considered a brain disease because it causes changes in the structure of the brain which are long lasting and this can lead to behavioural changes in the person.
- Any drug which is used can also be the drug which can be abused.
- Group Of drugs which are commonly abused are:
- Prescription drugs which are legal: Examples like methadone, oxycodone, zolpidem, etc.
- Over the counter legal drugs: Examples like alcohol and cigarettes.
- Illegal drugs: Street drugs like heroin, cocaine, hallucinogenic, etc.
- Chemical drugs: These include inhalants.
Initially, a person starts taking drugs voluntarily. However, over a period of time with repeated abuse, the drugs cause permanent changes in the brain, and this makes the person lose his self-control, and he cannot resist the urge to use drugs. It is out of their control. Hence, drug abuse is referred to as a relapsing brain disease, which means that even after treatment and cure, there is a possibility that the person might return to taking drugs.
Consequences of drug abuse are disastrous, affecting not only the person’s health but also ruining his socio-economic as well as family life.
What Are The Symptoms Of Drug Abuse?
People abusing drugs exhibit the following symptoms and behaviours:
- Eyes appear glazed or blood red.
- Pupils either appear dilated or constricted.
- Abrupt changes in weight.
- Injuries, bruises or infection at the site where the drug is introduced into the body (like injection site).
- Dry mouth.
- Chills and sweating abnormally.
- Abnormal changes in respiratory rates, heart rate, and blood pressure.
- Prone to diseases like hepatitis B or C due to sharing of needles for injecting drugs.
- Involuntary shaking.
- Muscle cramps.
- Decreased coordination.
- Anger and aggression.
- Continuous craving for more drugs.
- A sense of euphoria or the person is on a high.
- Finding it difficult to remember and/or to concentrate.
- Decreased social life.
- Changes in habits and priorities.
- Problems at work or school: Like missing school, late submission, not productive, poor performance, etc.
- Spending money recklessly.
- Doing abnormal activities, very unlike from normal behaviour: Stealing, rash driving, being secretive, neglecting appearance, etc.
What Are The Causes Of Drug Abuse?
Like mental disorders, the causes for a person to abuse drugs vary. However, the extent or the risk for a person becoming vulnerable to drugs depends on his social environment, mental and physical health. Below are some risk factors which may cause drug abuse:
- Parental abuse and neglect causing an unstable home environment.
- Peer pressure: When friends or colleagues in a social group, very often there is a pressure to try out the drug on an experimental basis, which later leads to addiction.
- Behavioural problems with no guidance from parents lead a person to use drugs as a solace.
- Poor performance in school or at work.
- Easy availability of drugs from friends.
- At times it is only curiosity that makes a person want to try out drugs. But recreational drugs contain addictive substances, which compels a person and he has urges to take the drug again and again.
- Abused drugs produce an intense feeling of pleasure, and a person is on a high after taking drugs. Drugs have various after effects on a person, like a feeling of power, raised self-confidence, high energy, relaxation or plain satisfaction. People turn to drugs for these short-term effects.
- Anxious and stressed people resort to taking drugs to feel better and relaxed.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Drug Abuse?
- Drugs change brain structure, and this can lead to addiction and various other complications. Preventing the youth from experimenting with drugs will help tremendously in reducing the risks.
- Parents have to foster a healthy relationship with children and have a friendly environment at home where kids can feel secure and loved.
- Parents must teach their children to make healthy choices and counsel them to not bow down to peer pressure.
- Parents who have healthy habits send a positive signal and are role models for their children.
- Drug abusers can attend therapy sessions with counsellors.
- Join a support group with similar issues and discuss ways to combat the addiction.
- Detoxification: Drug abusers have to detoxify which is also called withdrawal therapy. This program will enable the drug abuser to safely and as quickly as possible stop using drugs and fighting withdrawal symptoms. This may require hospital admission or treatment at a rehabilitation centre.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Drug Abuse?
It is easier to avoid drugs in the first place than to go for treatment and rehabilitation. Tips to avoid drug abuse:
- Avoid attending rave parties where drugs and alcohol are going to be served.
- Avoid friends who are known to take drugs.
- Parents should avoid taking prohibited substances in the presence of impressionable children.
- People with mental conditions should be taken care of, and family has to see that they do not take to drugs as a solution to the mental problems.
- In the case, you find yourself addicted to drugs, do not hesitate to talk to family or friends about it. It is never too late to give up an addiction.
- Do not wait to take professional help and find an abuse rehabilitation centre near you.
- The family of drug abusers should offer support, help, and care. The drug abusers should not be belittled or shown the door.
What Are The Best Foods For Drug Abuse?
Drug addiction causes havoc in the body and impairs proper digestion and absorption of vital nutrients required for the body. Hence, diet plays an important role in the detoxification program.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains for wholesome nutrition for the body. Opt for whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, millets, barley, etc.
- Add more protein: Proteins contain amino acids which are the building blocks for neurotransmitters. These are deficient in addicts. Hence the recovery diet should be rich in protein including milk, eggs, lean meat, beans, soy, lentils, and sprouts.
- More fibre: Since the gastrointestinal system also has to heal, eat foods that have more fibre in them. All fruits and vegetables contain fibre as well as vitamins and minerals which are important to pep up the immune system of the body.
- Drinking water regularly will greatly help in detoxifying the body.
What Are The Worst Foods For Drug Abuse?
People recovering from addiction should avoid the following foods:
- Sugary foods: Avoiding foods with sugar added to it will help in normalizing blood sugar levels. This will help in mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
- Avoid processed food: During the recovery phase, liver repair is very important. Hence, staying away from processed food which has artificial ingredients and flavours is important.
- Avoid caffeine: Research shows that caffeine causes insomnia and aggravates anxiety, which are typical withdrawal symptoms.
What Are The Medicines For Drug Abuse?
What Are The Tips To Manage Drug Abuse?
Drug abusers face a lot of social issues like social outcast, stigma and are looked down upon. This is one of the reasons they don’t come out in the open and talk about their issues. Supporting addicts, listening to them and persuading them to opt for professional help is the first and most important step in the recovery process.