drug abuse | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Drug abuse, or substance use disorder, is the harmful or misuse of mind-altering substances, including alcohol and illegal drugs, which often leads to adverse consequences.

Imagine having a drink with friends on a Friday night. It seems harmless, right? But what if it turns into drinking every night or relying on it to get through the day? This is a glimpse into drug abuse, also known as substance use disorder.

What Does Drug Abuse Look Like?

It is not just about illegal substances like cocaine or marijuana. It can also involve legal substances like alcohol or prescription medicines. The key is in the way people use these substances.

When someone uses a substance in a way that’s not intended, that’s drug abuse. This could mean using more of a substance than recommended or using it for longer than intended. It might also mean using a prescription drug in a way that wasn’t prescribed by a doctor.

It is also about the negative effects of substance use. If using a substance causes problems in someone’s life, but they continue to use it, that’s another sign. These problems could be physical, like health issues. They could also be psychological, like mood changes. Or they could be social and legal problems, like losing a job or getting arrested.

The Consequences

The consequences of drug abuse are many and varied. Physically, it can lead to health problems. Some substances can damage vital organs, such as the liver or the brain.

Psychologically, drug abuse can impair judgment and decision-making abilities. It can also lead to mental health issues, like depression or anxiety.

Socially, drug abuse can strain relationships with family and friends. It can lead to problems at work or school and even result in legal trouble.

The Road to Recovery

The good news is that drug abuse can be treated. Treatment usually involves a combination of medication and behavioral therapies.

Medication can help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and treat related conditions. Behavioral therapies, on the other hand, help individuals change their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use. They also equip people with skills to handle triggers and prevent relapse.

The kind of treatment needed can depend on the severity of the substance abuse and the individual’s specific needs. Some people might need inpatient treatment, where they live at a treatment facility. Others might benefit from outpatient treatment, where they receive treatment during the day but live at home.

In conclusion, drug abuse refers to the harmful or problematic use of psychoactive substances. It can lead to a host of negative consequences, but with the right help and support, recovery is attainable.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/16/2023

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