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Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction

This paper will illustrate several aspects of how drugs affect our lives. Addiction philosophies including the psychology and physiology will be explained in an attempt to describe how drugs affect our bodies both physically and mentally. Secondly, different drug categories types will be covered including: stimulants, depressants, narcotics, hallucinogens, and cannabis. Each of these categories has different addiction potentials and effect levels including withdrawal symptoms. Finally, the abuse of prescription drugs and their effects will be discussed.

Addiction is primarily psychological although addiction can be defined as the physiological changes in the body.

Addiction continues to be considered as a social, cultural, genetic and experiential process as well. According to Lande, addictive behavior is seen as any behavior that gives temporary or short term pleasure and also provides relief from discomfort although there may be long term adverse effects. (Lande, 2012) According to Roy, addiction is generally described as dependence on any drug and results from substance abuse.

Any drug or alcohol can produce addiction as can other things such as the internet, gaming, gadgets, chocolates etc.

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However the physical and psychological effects of drugs and alcohol are detrimental and actually result in loss of productivity, withdrawal and physical dependence and lack of attention and such other conditions. The primary feature of addiction is dependence as an individual shows increased psychological and physiological dependence on the substance he is addicted to and without the addictive substance the person is unable to return to normal life. Roy, 2009) Dependence on anything may not be too bad and some amount of social dependence is expected of us as social beings.

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However, when there is excessive dependence with inability to live without the substance in question, then withdrawal symptoms result and there are physiological changes in the body including pain and in some cases medical attention is required. Addiction is an extreme dependence that causes people to lose sense of reality as people become crippled without the substance they are addicted to.

Addiction leads to crime and anti-social behavior as addicts can resort to violent behavior, to stealing, to murder simply to attain their goal. Addiction to a substance could be separated from healthy use of the substance such as some amount of alcohol is considered acceptable and healthy in a social setting but being completely dependent on alcohol to that which amounts to addiction can have adverse social and personal implications for the individual. (Roy, 2009) Some of the common addictive drugs and substances are opium, alcohol, nicotine and barbiturates.

Giving up any addiction, requires strength and this is largely the strength of the mind that aids in stopping any addictive behavior. According to Lande, if addiction is a disease, the cure of addiction or even its prevention is largely a psychological process suggesting that the ‘mind’ is responsible for the addiction, the beginning of it and also the end of it. (Lande, 2012) These addictions affect the body in many different ways based on what type of drug the person has taken. According to a Medscape reference, stimulants are substances that induce a number of characteristic symptoms.

CNS effects include alertness with increased vigilance, a sense of well-being, and euphoria. Many users experience insomnia and anorexia, and some may develop psychotic symptoms. Stimulants have peripheral cardiovascular activity, including increased blood pressure and heart rate. They encompass a broad category of substances, including those prescribed for medical conditions; those manufactured for illicit substance abuse; and those found in over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants, herbal extracts, caffeinated beverages, and cigarettes. Preda, 2011) Narcotics are another substance that is heavily abused in the workplace. Like many drugs persons taking narcotics can develop a tolerance as well as psychological and physical dependence. With this dependence, users must increase the dosage to gain the same effect. Some signs of narcotic abuse are analgesia, sedation, shallow breathing, slurred speech, and or/confusion. Withdrawal symptoms are usually severe and can be seen as early as 12-14 hours after the last dose. Symptoms of Narcotics withdrawal are irritability, craving, runny nose, muscle aches, and anxiety.

Along with the previously mentioned symptoms are many complications such as infections, pneumonia, seizures, and constipation. (Zwanger, 2010) According to Doctor Parish, hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that cause an alteration in perception, thought, or mood. A rather heterogeneous group, these compounds have different chemical structures, different mechanisms of action, and different adverse effects. Despite their name, most hallucinogens do not consistently cause hallucinations, which are defined as false sensations that have no basis in reality.

Often, they are more likely to cause changes in mood or in thought than actual hallucinations. (Parish, 2011) Hallucinogens have very specific symptoms that pose a particular physical risk. These include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, tremors, seizures, and even coma. In regards to withdrawal from the use of hallucinogens, these drugs do not seem to be physically addictive but may pose a psychological threat to users because they feel emotionally dependent on them. (eGetGoing. com, 2010) Approximately 2. Million Americans abused prescription drugs for the first time this year according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Most of these users were females between the ages of 12 and 17. The majority of abused prescription drugs were opioids which are also known as pain relievers. These drugs can be found in over-the-counter form or prescription. Most users begin with the over-the-counter variants but with continued use the user seeks stronger forms to curve their pain relief needs. Using these drugs at a level that is above the prescribed amount can lead to liver failure, coma, and even death.

Throughout this paper were references that illustrated the potential negative effects of drugs such as hallucinogens, stimulants, narcotics, and prescription drugs. The use or abuse of these drugs has significant effects both psychologically and physically. Withdrawals from these substances can be severe and potentially life threatening and should be monitored by medical personnel. Millions of Americans suffer from chemical dependency and threatens or livelihood as being a traditionally wholesome nation.

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Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction. (2017, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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