Drug Abuse Side Effects and Treatments

by Sam Malone

Drug abuse has long been seen as one of the most rapidly growing social and public health problems of the world. The growing incidences of drug abuse, especially among young people, are a major cause of concern across cultures. In fact, such abuse of chemicals and drugs affects communities and families on a large scale. In the United States alone, about 40 million cases of severe illnesses due to drug abuse are reported every day.

Some of the commonly abused drugs all over the world include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, anabolic steroids, inhalants, amphetamines, and some prescription drugs. These drugs can cause domestic upheavals, stress, child abuse, violence, and may lead to serious physical injuries. Pregnant women who use drugs and are involved in substance abuse can end up harming their babies. Since these drugs are addictive, it can be quite a task to treat and rehabilitate the abusers. The treatment is aimed at helping the individuals become de-addicted, quelling their need and compulsion to use chemicals and drugs. Since addiction is a chronic disorder, the treatment also needs to be long term. There may be occasional relapses and therefore the treatment has to be in the form of multiple interventions in a particular given time.

There are a variety of approaches for the treatment of drug abuse. However, research reveals that the best treatment and rehabilitation programmes are those that combine different therapies. The patient may have specific needs according to the culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, and employment. If there is a history of sexual or physical abuse, the approach to the treatment will have to be slightly different. Traditionally, the medications given are methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. If an individual is addicted to nicotine, there are different kinds of patches and lozenges available to ward off addiction to these nicotine preparations. There are different medications for the treatment of addiction to opiods, alcohol and polydrugs. Apart from these, medications which help suppress physical withdrawal symptoms, there are also other psychoactive medications like anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotic medications.

If patients have co-occurring mental disorders, they are given separate treatment for those disorders too. Additionally, behavioral therapies are also given to increase motivation to participate in treatments for drugs. Doctors also often design strategies based on individual needs and encourage the individuals to participate in group therapies and other relevant treatments. For those who are suffering severely and are showing severe withdrawal symptoms, hospitalization may be required.

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