Drug abuse also known as Drug addiction is a form of complex illness. The initial decision of drug taking is voluntary but repeated uses leads to its addiction. It is characterized by intense and at times, uncontrollable craving for drugs, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of adverse/fatal consequences.
But addiction is more than just compulsive use of drugs. It can also produce far-reaching health and social consequences. For example, drug abuse and addiction increase a person’s risk for a variety of other mental and physical illnesses related to a drug-abusing lifestyle or the toxic effects of the drugs themselves. Additionally, the dysfunctional behaviors that result from drug abuse can interfere with a person’s normal functioning in the family, the workplace, and within his community.
Addiction of any form is dangerous. What is even more worse is that mostly young children and youth are hit by this unknowingly. Most illicit use of drugs starts at the age of 15-18 years of age. It may start with merely smoking of cigarettes but gradually pushes the person into the trap of drug abuse. Stress, anxiety, peer pressure, poverty are some of the main causes of drug abuse.
People with drug use associated disorder have distorted thinking, behavior and body functions. Changes in the brain’s functioning is what causes people to have intense cravings for the drug and making it hard to stop using the drug. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision making, learning, memory and behavior control.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:
- To feel good — feeling of pleasure, “high”
- To feel better — e.g., relieve stress
- To do better — improve performance
- curiosity and peer pressure
People with addictive disorders may be aware of their problem, but are unable to stop it even if they want to.