It is surprising to see how the use of drugs is increasing day to day by today’s youth. A drug is basically a substance which after it’s intake causes certain physiological or psychological effects. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. This is a heavy misconception. The genes with which people are born with, in combination with environmental influences – account for half their addiction vulnerability. Additionally gender, ethnicity, the presence of other disorders, peer pressure, physical and mental abuse, stress and quality of parenting results in the urge to intake drugs and get addicted to it. Earlier the drug abuse begins, the more likely it will progress to more serious abuse, which possesses a special challenge to adolescents, because areas of the brain which govern their decision, judgment making and self control are under developed. Thus, they are prone to risk taking behaviors.
Now, what is addiction? Addiction is a condition which results when a person ingests a substance or engages in an activity that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work and relationships, or health. Why do people get addicted? The rewarding effect of drugs of abuse come from large and rapid upsurges in dopamine, a neurochemical critical to stimulating feelings of pleasure and motivating behavior. The brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or y reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. The result is the lessening of dopamine impact which reduces the abusers ability to enjoy not only the drugs, but also other events in life that previously brought pleasure. This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in order to bring dopamine function back to normal, but now larger amounts of drugs are required to achieve the same dopamine high. These further results to a condition called physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that the drug no longer has the same effect; this is known as tolerance. Because of this tolerance, there is a biological reaction when the drug is withdrawn. Phenomenon of overreaction of brain to drugs (eg: alcoholic walking into a bar will face the urge to drink alcohol.
There are various types of drugs such as:
Depressants: slows down the functions of the central nervous system. Example: alcohol, cannabi, benzodiazepines (tranquilizer), etc.
Stimulants: acts on the central nervous system to speed up messages to and from the brain. They make users feel more awake, alert or confident. Increases heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure, educes appetite, dilates pupils, and instigates talkativeness, agitation and sleep disturbance. Example: caffeine, nicotine, etc. Stronger stimulants: Amphetamine (crystal meth), cocaine, etc.
Hallucinogens: effects perception. People who take them may believe they see or hear things that are not really there, or what they see maybe distorted in some way. Example: Lysergic acid diethylamide or commonly known as LSD.
When we come across a person who is addicted to drugs, we witness certain behavioral factors which are different from how they usually behave. Some changes are such as paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, addictions, impaired judgment, impulsiveness and loss of self control. Due to regular intake of drugs, the functioning of the physiological system undergoes several changes and thus causes not a few, but many health problems. Some of them are weakened immunity system, increasing susceptibility to infections, cause cardiovascular conditions ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks. Injected drugs can also lead to collapsed veins and infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, causes nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, cause the liver to work harder, possibly causing significant damage or liver failure, cause seizures, stroke and widespread brain damage that can impact all aspects of daily life by causing problems with memory, attention and decision making, including sustained mental confusion and permanent brain damage. It also produces global body changes such as breast development in men, dramatic fluctuations in appetite and increase in body temperature.
Considering that young teenagers are very much prone to drug addiction, it should be kept in mind that during a child’s teenage years, they are very much vulnerable and sensitive. Any negativity in relationships can cause massive mental effects. Thus it is advisable to keep them environment which would have a positive influence on them. They should be kept away from family fights, bullying, harassment, abuses both mental and physical and any such situations where there are chances of him in taking the entire condition in a negative perspective.
When you see the behavioral changes in a child given below, be ready to act on it.
1.Drop in attendance and performance at work or school. 2. Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it. 3. Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors. 4. Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies. 5.Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities).
Also when you see the following physical changes, that means trouble.
1.Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual. 2. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain. 3. Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits. 4. Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing. 5. Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
Problems faced by addicted women:
1. Drug addicted women are prone to domestic violence bringing about a dark spiral of pain and suffering.
2. It affects a woman’s work by attributing to women missing work of performing poorly due to the effects of drugs.
3. Drug addiction influences the parental behaviors. Children often pay the greatest price from addicted moms by lack of nurturing and child neglect.
4. Women do not have the same susceptibility of substances as males. Addiction causes a reduction of the number of grey and white cells in women, and also causes abnormalities during pregnancy.