Drug Abuse & Dependency

drug abuse

Drug Abuse

Drugs are abused because they cause strong feelings of euphoria and alter the perceptions. It is usually taken to mean the use of an illicit drug or the excessive or nonmedical use of a licit drug. The drug abuse also donates the deliberate use of chemicals that are generally not considered drugs by the lay public but may be harmful to the user. A primary motivation for drug abuse appears to be the anticipated feeling of the pleasure derived from the CNS effects of the drugs. However, repetitive exposure induces widespread adaptive changes in the brain. As a result of this drug use may become compulsive which is the hallmark of addiction.

Every addictive drug causes its own characteristic spectrum of acute effects, but all of them have in common one effect the strong feelings of euphoria and reward. With continuous use, addictive drugs induce adaptive changes such as tolerance which is the escalation of the drug to maintain an effect. Once the drug of abuse is not available, signs of withdrawal become apparent.

Drug Dependence

A combination of such signs referred to as the withdrawal syndrome defines dependence. The body becomes totally dependent on the availability of the drug. The drug addiction is characterized by a high motivation to obtain and use a drug despite negative consequence. If the drug is not available, a person craves for its need and wants in anyhow. This is the withdrawal effect which leads to further use of drug and dependence.

Withdrawal Effect of Drugs: Physiological dependence occurs with continuous use of any drug. The most important signs of withdrawal derive from excessive CNS stimulation and include nausea, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, delirium, sweating, yawing, rhinorrhea, muscle jerks, hyperpnoea, and hallucinations.

Some of the important drugs:

  • Sedative-hypnotics: These include benzodiazepines, barbiturates and ethanol are drugs of abuses. These are used to combat anxiety but their continuous use leads to their abundance.
  • Opioids: They are also very commonly abuse drugs and this group includes heroin, morphine, oxycodine and among health professionals, meperidine and fentanyl.
  • Caffeine and nicotine: Cigarette smoking is very common. Tobacco is associated with high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Amphetamine: It is abused for stimulation of the brain
  • Marijuana: It is a collection of terms for the psychoactive components present in the plant the hemp. Hashish is one of its forms that is used abundantly as a drug of abuse.
  • Hallucinogens: These include phencyclidine, lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Abuse is also done by inhalation of certain gases or volatile gases as well.


Due to some diseases like chronic pain, depressions, anxiety, sleep disorders or a number of other diseases lead to the chronic use of drugs and their dependence. Some people take a drug in order to get pleasure and become addicted to them.

Behavioral effects

The drug addiction leads to many immoral acts and deterioration of person personality. Such a person become unaware of what is right and what is wrong. He becomes abusive and forgets the moral values. He does crimes even. He can kill anyone just to fulfill his drugs needs. He lost everything for this fulfillment of drug addiction.


The pharmacological intervention may aim to eliminate this addiction along with withdrawal effects. Some of the drugs used against this addiction are naltrexone, baclofen, and rimonabant. Dependence can be reduced with the support of behavioral interventions.