Various people are addicted to different substances such as tobacco, alcohol and even drugs. Many of them end up in hospitals and emergency rooms after these abused substances damage their health. Significant number of people addicted to drugs has ended in jails and prisons, because of their drug dependence and abuse.
Estimation and statistics reveal that there are over 13 million of people only in the United States using illegal drugs and the number of those using “club drugs” or heroin has significantly increased last years. Although some do not consider cigarettes or alcohol to be a threat, they actually are a serious threat and about ¼ (25%) of American population smokes, while 10% abuses alcohol.
Consummation of abusive substances has been associated with intoxication and it causes alteration in physical control but also in judgment, perception and attention of intoxicated individual. Overdose of many abusive substances is known to cause death. Many people may also experience withdrawal effects if/when they try to reduce or quit using such substances. Symptoms can be mild and simply unpleasant or cause great anxiety, hallucinations or seizures.
Substance responsible for addiction to tobacco is nicotine. However, many substances in cigarette smoke have also be proven to damage smoker’s health and are responsible for heart problems, emphysema, peptic ulcer disease, stroke and lung cancer. When someone tries to quit smoking, he/she may experience increased hunger, sleeping problems, anxiety or depression.
Alcohol has been identified as depressor of the brain, responsible for effects such as lack of inhibition, decreased control of muscles and coordination and speech problems. Cessation of alcohol may cause tremor, seizures, irregular heartbeat, anxiety or hallucinations and even lead to delirium tremens (DTs). Alcohol can also affect your heart and cause heart enlargement, cancers of stomach, esophagus or pancreas or be responsible for liver failure. Additionally, alcohol is also associated with about 50% fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Marijuana, pot, weed, herb or grass is very commonly used illegal drug. The herb contains THC or 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, responsible for intoxication effects like relaxation, pleasure and effects to memory and coordination. People addicted to marijuana are exposed to about 100 times increased risk of trying more dangerous drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention of substance abuse must start in childhood or early adolescence because these are the periods when many people start with such harmful life habits. Teaching both children and parents about dangers of substance abuse is very important.
Although many people addicted to substances think they can stop on their own at any time they want this is usually proven to be untrue. The longer you use the substance, the more your brain and body get used to its presence and the harder it is for you to stop. Treatment also includes management of withdrawal symptoms. Most people on substance abuse treatment have problems with cravings and this is something that also must be addressed properly.