Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is intentionally using drugs in a way that is unhealthy or illegal. Certainly the person using illegal drugs is abusing drugs. However, using illegal drugs is only one form of drug abuse. Using legal drugs for nonmedical reasons or using a medication for something other than its intended use is also drug abuse. Drug abuse can affect all three sides of your health triangle. The physical effects range from sleeplessness and irritability to heart failure and stroke. Drug abuse interferes with brain function, affecting your mental/emotional health. Some drugs make it difficult to think or concentrate. Other drugs cause depression or anxiety. Your social health is also affected. Teens who abuse drugs may withdraw from family and friends. They may lose interest in school or other activities.

People who abuse drugs risk developing an addiction. An addiction is a physical or psychological need for a drug. When a person uses a drug regularly, he or she will develop a tolerance to the drug. The user needs more and more of the drug to get the same effect. Eventually, the user becomes addicted. There is no telling how many times a person can use a drug before becoming addicted. Once addicted, the user can no longer function without the drug. It becomes the focus of his or her daily life. Drug addiction, like alcoholism, is a disease. Once a person becomes addicted, it is very difficult to quit using the drug. Treatment options exist that can help drug users overcome their addiction.

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