It is hard to understand why some people abuse drugs. Those with no experience of drugs are often under the impression that drug abuse and addiction are a choice. They fail to realise that drugs and other chemical substances affect the way the brain functions and cause people to act in a way they would not normally do so.
Addiction is classed as any pattern of behaviour that begins to have a negative impact on the life of the individual. Drug abuse does not always relate to illegal drugs, however. Many people develop addictions to prescription drugs; unfortunately, some of these people will move on to illegal drugs when they can no longer get their hands on prescription medication.
While drug abuse and addiction have harmful consequences for the individual, others are also being affected. It has been estimated that five people are affected for every one person’s drug addiction. Drug abuse can affect anyone, regardless of their age, background, ethnicity, colour, gender, and wealth. It is a far-reaching illness that negatively affects those closest to the addict as well as the wider community.
Drug abuse causes a host of physical and mental health problems for the user, depending on the drugs being abused. While some drugs are more harmful than others, drug abuse of any kind poses some element of risk to health. Even prescription medication, designed to treat specific conditions, can be harmful when abused.
Drug abuse has a negative impact on the economy, too. Millions of pounds are spent every year tackling drug abuse. As well as treatment for addiction, there is the cost associated with drug-related hospital admissions and crime. The burden on the National Health Service continues to grow because of substance abuse issues, and this often leaves public services stretched to breaking point.
Illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis are commonly abused here in the UK. However, there are a growing number of new substances appearing on the streets, and these are causing even more harm to those who use them. Methamphetamine is an example of a dangerous drug that is wreaking havoc on the lives of those affected by it. This is a highly addictive drug and one that has devastating results both physically and mentally.
New psychoactive substances (NPSs) or ‘legal highs’ as they were formerly known as are also problematic among young people in the UK. These synthetic substances were created to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis, but until recently they were legally available in ‘head’ shops and online. Youngsters were fooled into believing that these substances were safe to take because they were given the name ‘legal’ highs.
Despite being sold as plant food, bath salts or incense, and marked as ‘not fit for human consumption’, many youngsters regularly abused these substances, often with disastrous consequences. NPSs are linked to many health problems and a number of deaths throughout the UK, prompting campaigners to call for a ban. The Government responded by introducing the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 in May of that year. Nevertheless, there are fears that this has simply moved the trade of these substances underground.
Another form of drug abuse is prescription drug abuse. Abuse of prescription medication is more common than you might think. Strong painkillers are prescribed for various conditions, but most experts agree that they should only be used over a short period. Long-term use of strong painkillers is classed as abuse, and it could result in the taker developing an addiction.
Abuse of prescription medication includes taking more of the medication than the recommended dose or taking it more frequently than advised. It also involves taking medication that was not prescribed for you.
Drug abuse harms more than mental and physical health. It is an illness that leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Those who have developed a dependence on drugs will typically become obsessed with the substance in question. He or she may then neglect other areas of responsibility including work, children and relationships with a partner.
Those affected by drug abuse may struggle to hold down a job and might be unable to provide for his or her family. This can lead to arguments and, in extreme cases, domestic violence. The effect on children when a parent abuses drugs can be long-lasting and detrimental to the future development of said kids. Some children will go on to suffer from addiction issues themselves while others who have struggled to cope will find it difficult to trust others, which can impact on the rest of their lives.
Drug abuse tends to bring about intense cravings, and a desire to use that cannot be ignored. Unless the user has unlimited access to cash to fund his or her habit, there is bound to be some sort of financial hardship for the family. In many cases, those affected by drug abuse and addiction will resort to crime in order to feed their habit. This can lead to fines or prison sentences.
Those affected by drug abuse need help to overcome this progressive illness. Because addiction changes the way the brain functions, it is almost impossible to quit drugs without help. Here at Recovery.org.uk, we have access to a number of organisations providing first-class care for those affected by drug abuse and addiction.
We understand the hold that addiction can have on a person, and we know how hard it is to admit that drugs have become a problem. With that in mind, we are here to offer advice and help to those who need it. We already help many people to access the treatments they need to get better, and we want to help you too.
Many of our staff have struggled with addiction themselves in the past and are now working hard to help people just like you. They have been where you are now and are living proof that drug abuse and addiction can be overcome. Call today for more advice on how to conquer your addiction.