People use drugs for many reasons: they want to feel good, stop feeling bad, or perform better in school or at work, or they are curious because others are doing it and they want to fit in. For the last one, these feelings and reasons are felt by all different ages, especially young teens.
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What is Substance Abuse?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), drugs excite the parts of the brain that make you feel good. But after you take a drug for a while, the feel-good parts of your brain get used to it. Then you need to take more of the drug to get the same good feeling. Soon, your brain and body must have the drug to feel normal. You feel sick, awful, anxious, and irritable without the drug. You no longer have the good feelings you had when you first used the drug. This is true if you use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs. Misuse includes taking a drug differently than how your doctor tells you to (taking more or crushing pills to “shoot up” or snort), taking someone else’s prescription, or taking it to get “high.”
Becoming Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Drug use can start as a way to escape—but it can quickly worsen your life. Besides just not feeling well, different drugs can affect your brain and body in many different ways. Here are a few:
- Alcohol: You might have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering, and learning.
- Marijuana: You might forget things you just learned or have trouble focusing.
- Prescription pain relievers (opioids) or sedatives: Your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death.
- Heroin: Like opioid pain relievers, your heart rate and breathing may slow to dangerous levels, leading to coma or death.
- Prescription stimulants (e.g., ADHD medications): Your body temperature could get dangerously high, or you may have an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, or seizures.
- Cocaine and methamphetamine: You may get violent, have panic attacks, feel paranoid, or have a heart attack.
- MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly): You may feel confused for a long time after you take it and have problems with attention, memory, and sleep.
- LSD: Your emotions may change quickly, and you might not be able to recognize reality; frightening flashbacks can happen long after use.
- Inhalants: Your heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain may get damaged; even a healthy person can suffer heart failure and death within minutes of sniffing a lot of an inhalant.
Taking drugs is usually your choice, at first. But as you continue to take them, using self-control can become harder and harder; this is the most significant sign of addiction. Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.
Even the people who are now addicted to drugs once believed they could stop using any time. People become addicted slowly over time. Once addicted, it can be complicated to control. Stopping can trigger withdrawal symptoms, which may be very unpleasant. People often begin to use drugs again to avoid these unpleasant symptoms.
Addiction Help at Garden State Treatment Center
If you become addicted, realizing this is the first step to recovery. At Garden State Treatment Center, we can help you continue your road to recovery. You need compassionate professionals who understand what you’re experiencing right now. Fortunately, that’s precisely what we understand at Garden State Treatment Center. We’re an experienced and highly trained team that has helped pull hundreds of families just like yours from the jaws of addiction and despair.
We are a Joint Commission (JCAHO) accredited facility, which shows our commitment to continue elevating our standards and providing superior treatment for substance abuse.
Why is using Drugs a bad idea?
Using drugs, especially illicit drugs or misusing prescription medication, can be a bad idea for several reasons. Here are some of the risks and consequences associated with drug use:
- Addiction and Dependence: Many drugs, especially opioids, stimulants, and sedatives, can be highly addictive. Regular use can lead to physical dependence and addiction, where individuals feel compelled to continue using the drug despite negative consequences.
- Health Risks: Using drugs can have various negative effects on physical health. For example, stimulants can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, while opioids can cause respiratory depression. Long-term use of many drugs can lead to chronic health issues such as liver and kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders.
- Impaired Judgment and Coordination: Drugs can impair a person’s ability to think clearly and make sound decisions. This can lead to risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, driving under the influence, and involvement in criminal activities. Additionally, coordination and motor skills may be impaired, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
- Mental Health Issues: Many drugs can exacerbate or contribute to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and psychosis. In some cases, drug use can trigger latent mental health disorders.
- Social and Relationship Problems: Drug use can strain relationships with family and friends. It can lead to social isolation, loss of trust, and difficulty in maintaining relationships.
- Financial Consequences: Drugs can be expensive, and individuals who are addicted may spend significant amounts of money on obtaining them. This can lead to financial instability, debt, and difficulty meeting basic financial obligations.
- Legal Consequences: The use of illicit drugs or the misuse of prescription medications is illegal in many places. Being caught with drugs can result in legal consequences including fines, loss of employment, and imprisonment.
- Overdose and Death: There is always a risk of overdose when using drugs, especially with opioids and depressants. An overdose can result in respiratory failure, coma, and death.
- Negative Impact on Life Goals: Drug use can derail educational and career goals. It can lead to poor academic performance, job loss, and difficulty finding employment.
- Harm to Others: Drug use not only affects the individual using the drugs but can also have a negative impact on those around them. For example, using drugs while pregnant can harm the developing fetus, and driving under the influence can put others at risk.
It’s important to understand the risks and consequences of drug use and to make informed decisions about personal health and well-being. For individuals struggling with drug use or addiction, seeking help through counseling, treatment programs, or support from healthcare professionals can be critical steps in achieving a healthier lifestyle.