User:Mariya/Temp/Drug addiction project for wiki.doc

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Drug Abuse and Addiction

You might be wondering why on earth your loved seems to be choosing drugs over family. You might be struggling with finances, or even from the painful realization your loved one is in trouble with the law. Or you might be asking yourself why you are taking drugs again, when you swore just a few hours ago that you needed to cut down.

Drug abuse is not a matter of moral weaks or faulty willpower. It is a vicious cycle that actually causes changes in the brain, leading to stronger and stronger impulses to use. Without help, drug abuse destroys families and takes lives. But there is hope. Find out how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse or addiction in someone you care about or yourself. With the right support and treatment, the road to recovery is possible.

What is drug abuse and drug addiction?

Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, involves the repeated and excessive use of chemical substances to achieve a certain effect. These substances may be “street” or “illicit” drugs, illegal due to their high potential for addiction and abuse. They also may be drugs obtained with a prescription, used for pleasure rather than for medical reasons.

Different drugs have different effects. Some, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, may produce an intense “rush” and initial feelings of boundless energy. Others, such as heroin, benzodiazepines or the prescription oxycontin, may produce excessive feelings of relaxation and calm. What most drugs have in common, though, is overstimulation of the pleasure center of the brain. With time, the brain’s chemistry is actually altered to the point where not having the drug becomes extremely uncomfortable and even painful.  This compelling urge to use, addiction, becomes more and more powerful, disrupting work, relationships, and health.

Prescription drug abuse

Prescription drug abuse is just as dangerous as street drug use. When used appropriately, prescription drugs can have beneficial effects medically or psychologically. Prescription drugs in the opiate family, such as vicodin (hydrocodone) and oxycontin, are often prescribed for chronic pain or recovery from surgery. Benzodiazapines, such aWhat causes drug abuse and addiction?

What makes one person abuse drugs to the point of losing their home, their family and their job, while another does not? There is no one simple reason. Drug abuse and addiction is due to many factors. A powerful force in addiction is the inability to self- soothe or get relief from untreated mental or physical pain. Without the self-resilience and support to handle stress, loneliness or depression, drugs can be a tempting way to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, due to the changes drugs make to the brain, it can only take a few times or even one time to be on the road to addiction. Some other risk factors include:

  • Family history of addiction. While the interplay between genetics and environment is not entirely clear, if you have a family history of addiction, you are at higher risk for abusing drugs.
  • History of mental illness. Drug abuse can worsen mental illness or even create new symptoms.
  • Untreated physical pain. Without medical supervision, pain medications or illegal drugs like heroin can rapidly become addictive.
  • Peer pressure. If people around you are doing drugs, it can be difficult to resist the pressure to try them, especially if you are a teenager.

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction

Although different drugs may have different effects on overall physical and mental health, the basic pattern is the same. Getting and using the drug becomes more and more important than anything else, including job, friends and family. The physical and emotional consequ Physical signs of abuse and addiction

Drug abuse affects the brain and body directly. While high, the drug affects the entire body, from blood pressure to heart rate. Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine “amp up” the body, increasing blood pressure, metabolism and reducing the ability to sleep. Drugs like opiates and barbiturates slow down the body, reducing blood pressure, breathing and alertness sometimes to dangerous levels. Some physical signs of abuse and addiction include:

  • Cycles of increased energy, restlessness, and inability to sleep (often seen in stimulants)
  • Abnormally slow movements, speech or reaction time, confusion and disorientation (often seen in opiates, benzodiazepines and barbiturates)
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Cycles of excessive sleep
  • Unexpected changes in clothing,  such as constantly wearing long sleeved shirts, to hide scarring at injection sites
  • Suspected drug paraphernalia such as unexplained pipes, roach clips or syringes
  • For snorted drugs, chronic troubles with sinusitis or nosebleeds
  • For smoked drugs, a persistent cough or bronchitis, leading to coughing up excessive mucus or blood.
  • Progressive severe dental problems (especially with methamphetamine)

Tolerance and withdrawal

Most abused drugs are not only mentally addictive but physically addictive as well. Tolerance is built up to the drug.  More and more of the drug is needed to achieve the desired effect. As the body physically adjusts to the drug, trying to cut down or stop is unpleasant or even painful. These withdrawal symptoms, depending on the drug, can include shakes, chills, severe aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, agitation, depression, and even hallucinations or

Different types of drug use

Drug use can be categorized into five main areas, with most drug users falling into the experimental and recreational categories. Harms associated with drug use can occur at all levels of use .

Experimental use: when a person tries a drug once or twice out of curiosity. Novice users run the risk of a lack of tolerance to the drug, and of not knowing how they will react, as well as the risks that may be associated with the effects of the drug.

Recreational use: where a person chooses to use a drug for enjoyment, particularly to enhance a mood or social occasion.

Situational use: where a drug is used to cope with the demands of particular situations. For example, amphetamines have been used by long distance truck drivers to maintain alertness and by athletes to gain energy. People who experience bereavement are often prescribed

benzodiazepines (minor tranquillisers) to cope with grief.

Intensive use: also known as "bingeing", where a person consumes a heavy amount of drugs over a short period of time, or use is continuous over a number of days or weeks.

Dependent use: where a person becomes dependent on a drug after prolonged or heavy use over time. They feel a need to take the drug consistently .

Causes of drug addiction

The causes of drug addiction depends on the nature of the drug being abused, the person taking the drug and the circumstances under which it is taken. Some medications - for example certain sleeping pills or painkillers - are physically addictive. They have a specific effect on the body which leads to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Others may lead to a psychological addiction if people have a craving for the effect that the drug causes.

The causes of drug addiction depends on the nature of the drug being abused, the person taking the drug and the circumstances under which it is taken. Some medications - for example certain sleeping pills or painkillers - are physically addictive. They have a specific effect on the body which leads to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Others may lead to a psychological addiction if people have a craving for the effect that the drug causes.

The causes of drug addiction depends on the nature of the drug being abused, the person taking the drug and the circumstances under which it is taken. Some medications - for example certain sleeping pills or painkillers - are physically addictive. They have a specific effect on the body which leads to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Others may lead to a psychological addiction if people have a craving for the effect that the drug causes.

There has been some speculation that some people may be more prone to drug abuse and addiction than others. Research is being carried out into whether there may even be genes that predispose certain people to addiction. Social circumstances are important in drug abuse. Peer pressure, emotional distress and low self-esteem can all lead individuals to abuse drugs. Ease of access to drugs is another influence. People abuse drugs for a reason. Understanding what the person's motivation is helps to explain why that person is abusing drugs.

Here are a few more causes of drug addiction:

  • changes in the brain take place as a result from drug use contribute to addiction and abuse
  • drugs possess reinforcing qualities that make them more addictive than others
  • easy access, and environmental, psychological, and cultural factors play a role in who starts or continues to abuse drugs
  • drugs "numbing" effects help to ease the emotional/physical pain that the individual is experiencing
  • drugs produce a sense of euphoria that make the individual feel good

Drug addiction is also caused because some substances are more addictive than others, either because they produce a rapid and intense change in mood; or because they produce painful withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly. Social learning is considered the most important single factor in the cause of drug addiction. It includes patterns of use in the addict's family or subculture, peer pressure, and advertising or media influence.

The first thing you must understand about addiction is that alcohol and addictive drugs are basically painkillers. They chemically kill physical or emotional pain and alter the mind’s perception of reality. They make people numb. For drugs to be attractive to a person there must first be some underlying unhappiness, sense of hopelessness, or physical pain.

As a result of their experiences created by the biological reinforcement and high tolerance, the person comes to believe that the drug of choice is good for them and will magically fix them or make them better. They start to develop an addictive belief system. They come to view people who support their drug use as friends and people who fail to support it as their enemies.

At this point the person is experiencing both positive and negative reinforcement to keep using. If they continue to use they experience euphoria and pain relief. This occurs because the brain releases large amounts of reward chemicals when they use their drug of choice.

If they stop using, they experience dysphoria or pain and suffering. They start to experience a sense of anhedonia that is marked by a low grade agitated depression and the inability to experience pleasure. They begin to believe that they have no choice but to keep using.

Effects of drug addiction

Here is an example of the effects of drug addiction. An individual tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs or alcohol appear to solve their problems and in turn they feel better. Now that they seem better able to deal with life, the drugs or alcohol they previously used become invaluable to them. The individual looks to drugs or alcohol as the cure for their unwanted feelings and problems. The painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become the solution to their emotional or physical discomfort. Inadvertently the drug or alcohol now becomes invaluable because it helped them feel better. This release from the individual's unwanted feelings and problems is the main reason they uses drugs or alcohol a second or third time. It is then just a matter of time before they become fully addicted and lose their ability to control their drug or alcohol use. Drug addiction then results from excessive or continued abuse of physiologically or physically habit-forming drugs in an attempt to resolve or escape from the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness.

The effects of drug addiction are felt on many levels: personal, friends and family, and societal. Individuals who use drugs and alcohol experience a wide array of physical effects due to their drug and alcohol addiction that they had never anticipated. One such example is the depression an individual feels following their use of cocaine. Additional effects of drug addiction include tolerance, withdrawal, sickness, overdoseage, and resorting to a life of crime.

Family and friends feel the effects of drug addiction as well. The user's preoccupation with the substance, plus its effects on mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and poor work performance or dismissal. The effects of drug addiction can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem.

The effects of drug addiction on society manifests itself through lost work time and inefficiency. Drug users are more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents, endangering themselves and those around them. Over half of the highway deaths in the United States involve alcohol. Drug-related crime can disrupt neighborhoods due to violence among drug dealers, threats to residents, and the crimes of the addicts themselves. In some neighborhoods, younger children are recruited as lookouts and helpers because of the lighter sentences given to juvenile offenders, and guns have become commonplace among children and adolescents.

Regardless of the drug used, there are many effects of drug addiction. Such as:

Family/relationship problems. Drug use may lead to conflict with family or friends. Family and friends may be very frustrated and concerned when they are manipulated or pressured for money or possessions, or when the person using drugs fails or refuses to recognize their drug use is causing problems.

Work/school problems. Drug users may take increased sick days and be unable to work properly.

Accidents. Drug use may affect a person's ability to respond appropriately to a given situation, their ability to think clearly and to maintain attention, and may cause physical symptoms such as blurred vision, cramps, and nausea. Such effects can increase the risks of car accidents, drownings, and reduce the ability to be able to safely cross roads.

Legal problems. Each state has laws governing the manufacture, possession, distribution and use of drugs. The four main types of offenses related to illegal drugs are: use, possession, cultivation and trafficking of drugs. Drug use may also lead to other legal concerns such as crimes committed in order to raise sufficient money to support ongoing drug use, and violent assaults.

Financial problems. The cost of maintaining ongoing drug use may mean that there is not enough money left to pay for a range of goods and services. This may include regular bills, food and clothing, and other purchases that may increase a person's quality of life, such as entertainment and leisure.

Health problems. Tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs can all have serious health effects if used over a long period of time. Lifestyle changes such as poor eating habits and inadequate sleep can increase the chances of experiencing a variety of health complications.

People who inject drugs are at risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).

Sexual problems. Certain types of drugs may lead a person to feel sexually aroused, but can actually reduce their ability to perform sexually.

Physiological EffectsDrug addiction can have severe effects on the entire body of the person. Physiological effects that are found in the initial stages of drug addiction are irregular breathing and, increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The person may also experience sudden weight gain or weight loss.The long term effects of drug addiction are more serious. Some of the dangerous diseases that is caused due to drug addiction are brain damage, heart disease, arthritis and lung diseases. It is also one of the reasons for a person getting infected with AIDS, due to sharing of syringes to inject drugs.Psychological and SocialEffects Once an individual gets into drug abuse, he does not have the power of controlling it. They reach a condition where non-consumption of these drugs make them feel restless, depressed and anxious, increasing their craving for taking more drugs. As drugs are illegal in almost every country, it is quite expensive and is not easily accessible. It has been observed that drug addiction is one of the causes of increased crime rate in the society. People steal, go into prostitution and even sell their homes to make money for buying drugs.Drug addiction not only effects the person, but also his family and friends. Drug addicts have the tendency to turn extremely violent, when they are under the spell of drugs. Family members and friends feel helpless as they are not able to do anything to help their loved ones from not taking drugs. Drug addiction is said to have resulted to the breakdown of many families, and it is likely that addicts even lose their friends due to this habit. The effects of drug addiction can also be seen in a person's professional life. It happens that the person is not able to concentrate on the job, due to which his performance level goes down, eventually leading him to lose his job.It is rather difficult to treat a person from drug addiction, but is not impossible. To start with the treatment, the drug addict must realize that he has a problem which is dangerous not only for himself but, also for the people around him. The person should understand the fact that drugs may give him an immediate relief, but it is a dangerous addiction that can even take away his life


Drug Addiction Treatment

What exactly is this drug addiction treatment program that Kirstie Alley and Kelly Piper credit with saving their lives? Narconon began 30 years ago in an Arizona state prison, when inmate William Benitez sought to cure himself of drug addiction. He relied on methods developed by American philosopher and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, and he corresponded with Mr. Hubbard during that process.

Benitez was successful, and his success led to the expansion of his drug addiction treatment program, first within the prison and then to actual Narconon centers. The first Narconon drug addiction treatment program opened in Los Angeles in 1971. Today, Narconon is administered by Narconon International in Los Angeles, which operates in 38 locations in the United States, Canada, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, England and Russia.

Marijuana addiction treatment depends upon the severity and nature of the individuals addiction to marijuana, motivation, and the availability of services. Some users may enter a drug addiction treatment center voluntarily and have the support of family, friends, and workplace; others may be sent to a treatment program by the courts against their will and have virtually no support system.

Detoxification is only the first stage of marijuana addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping marijuana use. While detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective

ITP Project – Drug Addiction

By :
Mariya Sidney Dsouza





ILLUSION Drug Addiction is the serious problem of our society .Todays youth is thoughtlessly following this addiction , as if it has become a status symbol .

Youth have a different illusion about drugs , according to them it is fun , symbol of high class etc .They are as if in some kind of illusion in which they don’t understand good or bad .

Therefore I feel ‘ILLUSION’ is a suitable title for my project.


Through internet we can get lot of information about Drug Addiction .But Only ten websites were allowed ,therefore the information is limited.

I found it very difficult to edit the information as everything according to me was important .Even limited pages were allowed .

I feel there should be freedom of writing all information from ten websites.

Also this Extention work should be started for the school and college students .