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Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse: Meaning, Causes, Types and Effects

Some people facing worse situations in life easily falling prey to substance abuse. Reasons can be uncountable from personal to professional. Sometimes major career setback gives birth to intoxication addiction. Also, a person suffering from pain due to breakup or any other emotional problem often takes support of alcohol and drugs. The danger of substance addiction is mostly found with teenagers as they are tender in age, inexperienced and develop an uninhibited attitude towards the abuse of stronger drugs and alcohol.

Hence, it is important that a person or his/her loved one must understand the meaning of substance abuse when he/she is on the urge of getting addicted to intoxication.

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is the repeated use of any harmful substance including drugs and alcohol. Here the term ‘abuse’ says that one is using a substance in a way that is not recommended or intended because a person is consuming it more than prescribed. Substance use is a kind of a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior adversely. It leads to an inability to control the illegal or legal medication or drug. 

Here Are a Few Signs of Substance Abuse

  • Not showing interest in social and recreational activities
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Erratic speech
  • Poor physical disorder
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Violent behavior
  • Agitation

What are the Causes of Substance Abuse?

The exact causes of substance abuse is still unknown, however the studies have devised some of the common causes of substance abuse as given below:

1. Genetic Cause

Genetics account for 40% to 60% cause behind development of substance abuse. If forefathers or parents underwent substance abuse during their time, then chances are they will also get addicted to intoxication during their lifetime. Due to genes, an automatic stimulus is triggered within such people are surrounded by addicted substances.

2. Divorce of Loss of a Loved One

Undoubtedly, relationships play a major role to maintain mental peace of a person. When we are separated from our loved one due to any reason, the pain is severe. Some people are able to balance them, while others get trapped by intoxication. They try to forget the sorrow by diverting their mind towards substance abuse.

3. Mental Illness

The emotional people are easily prone to mental problems like depression, anxiety or bi-polar disease. So, when their mental health starts deteriorating, they get attracted to the substance use and addiction. They either become slave of alcohol consumption or drugs.

4. Sleep Problems

People who generally don’t experience sound sleep also tend to get addicted to substance abuse. Their sleep patterns are really vague and pave the way to substance use disorder and addiction.

5. Tense Home Environment

Kids who are raised in a havoc environment or the home environment generally go through a lot of emotional problems. Their unstable mindset often take them towards substance abuse.

Types of Substance Abuse

There are mainly two types of substance abuse – drug abuse and alcohol abuse. Let’s look at them in detail:

1. Alcohol abuse

Around more than millions of people suffer from alcohol abuse and its debilitating effects.  Heavy amount of drinking at various times in a day leads to alcohol addiction. People experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not drinking. Heavy drinking leads to alcohol addiction with extreme mood swings. People also start neglecting responsibilities at work, home or school. They also start getting isolated from friends and family.

2. Drug Abuse

Drug use disorder includes consumption of illegal drugs, medications, inhalants etc. The dependence of drugs changes how the brain is wired and interferes with natural reward system. Despite of harm caused to their health, relationships and career, they are not able to overcome drug addiction. The symptoms of drug addiction include – difficulty speaking, drastic changes in behavior, neglected appearance and hygiene, lack of energy and sudden weight loss.

Effects of Substance Abuse On An Individual

People who use drugs experience a lot of physical and psychological problems. Let’s look at them one by one:

  • People who are addicted to alcohol and marijuana have impaired motor skills. 
  • The decreased memory is also one of the evil effects of substance abuse.
  • People who consume drugs through needles can be at the risk of HIV or hepatitis.
  • Many drug addicts show criminal behavior in order to get money to procure drugs.
  • People start exhibiting signs of anxiety, fatigue and depression.

Effects of Substance Abuse On Family

A person who is extremely addicted to drugs not only spoils own life, but also family’s life. Here are the severe effects of substance abuse disorder on family:

  • He/she may not show interest in solving family problems. He/she may start showing cold shoulders to his problems.
  • The trust of a family member gets broken by finding out that a member is an addict.
  • With the constant worry and anxiety for the family member, the health of family members might start declining.
  • The family members may also start feeling ashamed when the society starts pointing them saying that a person of their family is into drug or alcohol abuse.

Effects of Substance Abuse on Children

Often the children of drug addict parents have to come into their shoes to support family disregarding their own personal growth.  Here are the effects of substance abuse on children:

  • Children start working to support the family. However, from inside they would remain resentful and insecure.
  • Children get distracted from their studies and they usually feel low. They start getting hurt easily. But hide their feelings of loneliness and low self – esteem.

Treatments to Overcome Substance Abuse

If substance abuse is one of the biggest problems, then there is a solution also. A wide range of substance abuse treatments are available. Let’s look at them one by one:

1. Detoxification

Detox or detoxification is the process of letting the body get rid of substance like – drugs and alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms safely manage the symptoms when someone stops drug or alcohol consumption. During detoxification process, patients are checked for physical and mental issues. The drug, medical and psychiatric histories are checked to align the patient’s long term treatment plan. Then, patients are stabilized with psychological and medical therapy. Doctors also prescribe the addiction treatment medications to prevent complications and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a common type of talk therapy. A person works with a mental health counselor in a structured way. CBT helps you become aware of negative or inaccurate thinking, so that challenging situations can be responded in an effective manner. More specifically, CBT is a problem-specific, goal-oriented approach that needs the individual’s active involvement to succeed. It focuses on the present-day challenges, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT usually involves efforts to change thinking patterns and gain a better understanding of behavior.

3. Mindful Exercises

Mindful exercises are proved as the best way to focus your mind on productive activities. They help improve immune function and blood pressure. These exercises also develop calm, peace and quiet minds in a turbulent period. These exercise help channelize your thoughts in a right direction.

4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

It is one of the effective therapies for patients who struggle to regulate emotions and thoughts of suicide. This therapy emphasizes on acceptance of feelings, thoughts or behaviors to allow patients to overcome them.

5. Group Therapy

Another popular treatment of substance abuse is group therapy. It encourages the recovering addicts to learn and grow from each other’s progress and experiences. It helps individuals to know that they are not alone in their recovery struggles. When individuals listen to each other stories of addiction and recovery, they feel a sense of support from each other and try lower their cravings for the substance.

Here at Anatta Humanveristy, one of the top rehabilitation centers in India uses a holistic approach to help a person overcome substance abuse disorder. We help him/her learn from their own experiences, realize the inner potential & individuality and assist them in blossoming into a great human being, leaving no scope to get back to the substance use. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Substance Abuse

Q1. How to prevent substance abuse?

Ans. Substance abuse disorder can be prevented by effectively dealing with life pressure, maintaining healthy lifestyle and avoiding a group who are indulged into drug consumption.

Q2. How to recover from substance abuse?

Ans. One can recover from substance abuse by finding a new hobby, talking to a family member or a friend and loving yourself. If nothing works out, then contacting a rehabilitation center to treat dependence on substance abuse would be a right decision. 

Q3. How to stop substance abuse?

Ans. Drug abuse can be stopped by spreading awareness about its ill – effects with people. Schools, educational institutions, residential committees and organizations must arrange workshops to let the people learn about why drugs put people at risk. A discussion must also be held about the affect of family use of drugs and alcohol on kids. 

Q4. How substance abuse affects society?

Ans.  Substance abuse affects society adversely as the family environment gets hampered which ultimately affect the overall development of children who are the future of Nation. Also, a number of unemployed people get increased who contribute nothing towards the economy. Lastly, the reason behind increased crime in.

Q5. Which action constitutes substance abuse?

Ans. Roaming around with bad company, not venting out suppressed emotions and taking too much work pressure constitute substance abuse.

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