Drug addiction, also known as substance abuse, describes a compulsive pattern of chemical consumption. Drug addiction has a phased progression starting with recreational abuse. Recreational abuse can gradually build up to habitual use, which may yield a tolerance to the chemical. When an addict develops a tolerance to a drug(s), the initial dose no longer induces the same effect, leading to increased dosage to achieve the original effect. After an addict has worked up a tolerance, he or she may go through withdrawal symptoms if the drug is absent from their system.
Drug abuse has been interpreted in a variety of scopes. Fundamentally, it involves the use of psychoactive drugs in a manner that would be ill advised according to clinical standards. Drug abuse, otherwise known as substance abuse, refers to a stage or level of addiction that is not necessarily dependent, at least not physically. While drug substance abuse can denote a ritual basis of drug use, it doesn’t fully imply that a drug abuser is unable to manage their use, or that he or she is addicted. “Drug abuse” or “drug abuser” is actually a diagnostic term for one who may have deviated from a “culturally acceptable” standard of drug use. Drug abuse – though it may not equate to addiction – is, many times, considered the prelude to addiction.
While drug abuse denotes a more casual approach to chemical consumption, drug use is suggestive of a greater consistency and extent of chemical dependence insofar as it is excessive and misused. Therefore, drug use is sometimes appropriately labeled as “drug misuse.”
A drug addict is one who has a physical and/or psychological dependence to psychotropic drugs. The cause(s) of drug addiction are actually heavily disputed in today’s society. There is the old-fashioned moralist perspective, which says that drug addicts are morally deficient and lack will power; then there is the modern-day genetic theory, which is supported by ample scientific research into the addict’s genome, stating that one’s heredity is the actual underlying cause that makes one susceptible to addiction. Drug addiction, or substance addiction as it is currently called in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), has both a clinical and non-clinical connotation. There are programs (i.e. Narcotics Anonymous) that diagnose drug addicts as suffering from a disease that affects them in “mental, physical, and spiritual” capacities.
Drug addictions can vary based on what drug(s) being abused. Preference is also a factor. Moreover an individual doesn’t have to be addicted to only one substance. Today, the prominent addictions that are being diagnosed are to stimulants (i.e. cocaine and methamphetamine) or narcotics (opiates), but the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Other addictions include benzodiazepine addiction, cannibinoid addiction, hallucinogen addiction, and so forth.
Substance Abuse Symptoms
There are many symptoms that one can exhibit that are characteristic of drug addiction. The major telltale symptom of drug addiction is that drugs are causing problems in one’s life. Other common drug addiction symptoms (many of which could also be considered relevant for drug abuse) include:
- Tension in one’s relationships as a result of one’s using
- Development of tolerance to a drug(s)
- Losing interest in old pastimes
- Drugs causing one to end up in legal binds
- Continuing to use in spite of negative consequences
- Being negligent
- Life revolving around the acquisition and use of drugs
- Consistently making poor or high-risk decisions while under the influence
- Constant preoccupation with using