What Is Drug Abuse?
Posted March 17, 2014 by Talbot Rehab
What is Drug Abuse?
By: Russ W. Talbot
For many people, the distinction between drug use and drug abuse is not clearly understood. Many people do not view their recreational drug use as problematic. The truth of the matter is that continued drug use can often lead to drug addiction resulting in problems at home, at work, with finances, or in relationships. This is especially true if a genetic burden or predisposition is present. It is important to understand the distinction between drug use and drug abuse. In order to understand drug abuse, you must first identify use. As medication has advanced, pharmaceutical companies have created drugs that serve a purpose. They are used to combat diseases, relieve pain, cure infections and much more. Drug use can be defined as using a drug for the reason that it was intended. Adversely, Drug abuse can be defined as using a drug for a reason other than it was intended.
People find many reasons to abuse drugs. For example, a person may need prescription medication to relieve pain from a sports injury. This is the proper use of the drug. However, if the person uses the medication because it gives them a sense of euphoria, this is an example of improper use of medication and is considered drug abuse.
The Steps Toward Drug Abuse
1. Experimentation – Whether it is through media influence, general curiosity, legal prescription, or peer pressure, the first step toward drug addiction is experimentation. The user may initial be curious or he may have heard that the drug makes you “feel good.” Regardless of the dominant influences the user initially succumbs to the idea of taking drugs and begins using.
2. Social – As with drinking alcohol, coffee, and smoking cigarettes, there is a social component to drug use. Many drug users are pressured to use with their friends. They may be attending a party with a friend and decide drugs will enhance their experience. They may take drugs with friends in order to “fit in” and to be part of the crowd.
3. Habituation – At some point a pattern can be recognized. The drug use becomes associated with a particular event. The drugs may only be used in certain situations like at a concert, after work, with certain friends. Whatever the trigger, the drug use becomes habitual and usage patterns occur.
4. Abuse – At some point the drugs take hold and they begin to negatively affect the users life. Drug use increases over time. Increased use is necessary in order to feel the same high as the body has built up tolerances. Gradually drugs become more important in their life. As with other the other steps, denial is typical in this stage.
Crossing Over to Addiction
At some point, the within the drug abuse individuals acquires the disease of addiction. Although addiction can be classified in many different stages as it is a progressive illness, it becomes a relationship with the addict and their substance. They abnormally try to get their emotional and intimacy needs meet through their relationship with the drugs. Their addiction leads to many physical and social problems until they hit rock bottom or die. The catch 22 of the addictions is that the source of the addicts emotional stability is also the source of their unmanageability.
The good news is that there is a way out of this process. The first step for anyone who needs recovery is admitting that they have a problem with drug abuse or addiction. With the right support from friends, family members, or professionals, those who struggle with drug abuse and addiction can find a meaningful life of recovery.