Many people have felt the effects of substance use disorder. Whether the person using substances or a family member, it can be hard to know when you should be worried or feel you could overreacting. You may be wondering, “Are they abusing their prescription?” Or maybe you’ve noticed some changes in their behavior. Let’s take a closer look at the use of drugs and when drug use becomes substance abuse.
What are Drugs?
In this context, the drugs we are referring to are hard substances that have psychoactive and psychological effects on the individual who uses them. Most people who use drugs consume them for pain relief, escape reality, or overuse their prescription. One reason why people take drugs is because of peer pressure and influence. This reason is prevalent among young adults. Consuming drugs is a trend nowadays, so there is this underlying pressure for a young adult who has never taken drugs to want to try it, especially when everyone around them is doing it.
Individuals also take drugs to feel high and happy. There are so many people battling mental health challenges, and depression is often topping that list. When you are in the state of highness, you have only this feeling of euphoria. People take a lot of drugs to relieve stress and ignore their stressors temporarily. However, coming out of that high returns to the same stressors they were trying to escape from and left with more problems, like illegal drug use and addiction.
Another reason why people indulge in the use of drugs is for medical purposes. Many individuals start using drugs because of physical pain or because they have insomnia—such drugs as tranquilizers and opioids. Certain drugs are becoming legalized like, “medical marijuana,” which is used for treating severe medical conditions such as seizures. Unfortunately, someone can quickly become dependent on these drugs when they are misused or abused.
What are the Benefits of Using Drugs?
When used correctly, there are quite many benefits of using prescribed drugs that have been discovered and are still being discovered by researchers. Certain drugs have been scientifically proven to help treat some severe conditions that medications have failed to treat. One example is Cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants used to treat severe seizures in children. Drugs such as hydromorphone, morphine, and tramadol have also been scientifically proven to help with reducing cancer symptoms in cancer patients, especially symptoms that come with the use of chemotherapy. Also, drugs like amphetamines are used to treat diseases like Parkinson’s and narcolepsy.
Drugs also serve as a relaxant. For people who struggle with anxiety and panic disorder, the use of drugs helps them calm down and relax. It can act as a sedative and anti-depressant and can be helpful when correctly used and prescribed by a doctor.
What are the Side Effects of Using Drugs?
The disadvantages and side effects of using drugs far outweigh its benefits and advantages. Many countries have refused to legalize the recreational use of drugs just because of the side effects it causes to drug users. Some of the side effects it causes are:
- Addiction. This is the worst that could happen to a person who uses drugs. Addiction is a form of mental health disorder where the addict can no longer control their cravings. The person becomes so psychologically attached to the drug that even if the drug is causing them harm, they would still take it.
A large percentage of individuals now addicted to drugs didn’t start as addicts. Frequent use of the drugs due to different circumstances causes them to get addicted. Some started with experimenting and playing around with drugs and ended up getting addicted to drugs. Some began using drugs due to certain medical conditions like chronic pain and insomnia—the use of opioids, and other pain killers, for example.
- Heart Diseases. The over-usage of drugs can lead to heart illnesses. Opioids and drugs that serve as stimulants are notorious for causing heart-related issues. Addictive and mood-altering drugs like amphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, have been scientifically and clinically proven to negatively affect the heart vessels and the heart itself. These drugs can cause the heart rate and beat to be abnormal, and it could also lead to the blood vessels collapsing and become infected.
- Instability of The Mental Health. The irony is that some people start taking drugs because they are trying to find a shortcut out of depression. However, the more of these drugs are consistently consumed without any form of prescription or control, the more damage it causes to your mental health. Some mental health issues a person can develop are hallucinations, depression, anxiety and panic disorders, extreme paranoia, and irrationality.
- Respiratory and Lung Diseases. The continuous use of these drugs over time can cause your organs, especially your lungs, to start developing problems and even end up failing. Drugs like opioids, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and many more have been scientifically proven to cause severe respiratory problems like bronchitis. Opioids are well known to cause respiratory damage because of the way they work in suppressing breathing. If you are managing asthma, consuming drugs, especially opioids, is not the best option for you.
- Withdrawal symptoms in your unborn child. If you are pregnant, cancel every thought of taking drugs that are not prescribed by your doctor. The unborn baby suffers the most when the baby consumes all these drugs like opioids, cannabis, cocaine, marijuana, etc. Firstly, some of these drugs contain harmful substances that can affect the fetus, causing it to be born prematurely. Babies born of addictive mothers have to struggle with withdrawal symptoms. Some develop cognitive and behavioral problems when they grow up, and some have neonatal abstinence conditions and other birth effects.
When Should I start Overreacting to a Loved One’s Use of Drugs?
When your loved one makes use of drugs in tandem with prescriptions issued by the doctor, you do not need to worry about anything and have your loved one mention behavioral changes and other symptoms to their doctor.
However, you should begin to worry when your loved one starts becoming attached to a particular drug or drugs. Once an individual starts having issues with their personal life, relationship with people, self-esteem, or finances, you have to start observing and monitoring the individual. It could be time to start looking into treatment options for your loved one.
What Steps Can You Take To Help Your Loved One Using Drugs?
The first step you should take is to observe the individual’s behavior and actions and try to understand what is going on. You can read up from reliable sources on what the signs and symptoms the person are showing means. You can also reach out to a dedicated health professional on your observations and concerns about your loved one’s addiction to drugs.
Once you have confirmed that there is an issue and that it is drug and substance abuse, you should talk to your other trusted family members and loved ones about the situation. You should discuss the kind of drugs the person is abusing, for how long, and the symptoms and signs that the individual is exhibiting.
After you have discussed and ascertained all of these, along with your trusted friends and family, sit the loved one in question and discuss the issue with them. Ensure that when you are talking to them, they are not influenced by any of the drugs. If they can admit that there is an issue and are willing to get help, trust us when we say that is the first step to getting out of drug addiction.
Finally, you should look at different treatment options that can help your loved one dealing with addiction. You could get your loved one into a rehabilitation center depending on the severity of the drug use. You could also just get a mental health expert or a counselor who can understand them even better and help them get addiction treatment.
You don’t have to do this alone. Call us today and we’ll help you and your loved one every step of the way.