The Ravaging Silent Killer That Is Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the harmful use of any sort of substance such as alcohol, cocaine, to enhance or alters one mood. Abuse occurs when one of these substances are used without recommendation or intentions that doesn’t serve its original purpose.

Today, substance abuse is a global health epidemic that affects all demographics of society. The increasing production, distribution, glamorization, and easy availability of these substances have contributed to this epidemic.

The most common substances abused are alcohol, marijuana, cough syrups, sedative tablets, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, and many more. Substance abuse and addiction do not necessarily mean the same thing. They differ because quite a number of people with substance abuse issues can stop and decide to change this behavior, while addiction is a serious disease. With addiction one can’t stop as they wish – They continue to use these substances despite it causing harm to their health.

What Causes Substance Abuse?

The reasons for abusing substances can vary from person to person and they are endless. Below are some of the causes that range from social to psychological and even biological.

1. Social factors:

             – Peer pressure (One of the most important causes)

             – Role-Modeling/imitation

              – Easy availability

             – Conflicts (usually intra-familial)

              -Cultural/Religious reasons

             – Lack of social or familial support

              -Social attitude

             – Celebrations

              -Rapid urbanization

2. Psychological Factors:

         – Curiosity

         – Social rebelliousness

         – Early initiation

         – Poor control

          -Sensation seeking (Feeling high)

          -Low self-esteem

          -Poor stress management

         – Childhood loss or trauma

         – As a relief from fatigue or boredom

          -To escape reality

          -No interest in conventional goals.

         – Psychological distress

3. Biological Factors:

       –  Family history, genetic predisposition

         -Pre-existing psychiatric or personality disorder, or a medical disorder

        – Reinforcing effects of drugs

        – Withdrawal effects and craving

         -Biochemical factors

What Are The Dangers of Abusing Drugs?

The abuse of drugs affects the central nervous system by altering a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior. This leads to various health complications and behavioral problems.

Car accidents, physical disabilities, diseases, and overdoses are some of the most common outcomes of substance abuse. Large numbers of youth that are involved with alcohol and other drugs face an increased risk of death through suicide, homicide, accident, and illnesses. Violence, organ damage, Cancer, unprotected sex, and poor nutritional status of families with Fathers who are heavy drinkers are associated with substance abuse.

People who engage in substance abuse risk contracting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. This is because people who engage in drugs have lack of judgment and impulse control risk being exposed to body fluids of an infected person during sexual encounters or through the sharing of unsterile drug-injection equipment.

The list goes on and on because this is such a broad topic to discuss and my intention for this post was to tell you there is help!

How Can You Get Help?

Start Your Recovery is an organization that offers a single source of reputable, objective information about signs, symptoms, conditions, treatment options, and resources to people who are dealing with substance abuse issues.

Their mission is to break through the complexities that come with different forms of substance abuse issues and to help people the victims at any stage of their recovery. This information is readily available for Family members, friends, and even co-workers who have a loved one that is dealing with substance abuse issues.

Start Your Recovery has brought together leading clinicians and experts in substance use treatment and recovery from nonprofit, academic, and government institutions to serve you. Some of them are The Education Development Center, The Jed Foundation (JED), John Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Veterans Health Administration, Yale University School of Medicine.

Is someone you love recovering from substance misuse? Learn what you can do to help:

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