Drug abuse is the chronic or habitual use of a drug for a non-medical purpose, with the objective of altering states of body and mind for the user. The use of illegally produced drugs and the abuse of legal drugs are both included here. For example, not only illegal drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine or ecstasy, but also legal drugs like tranquilizers, painkillers and sleeping pills can be abused. Some even abuse cough syrups and herbal medicines.
Drug abuse may cause death or injury by overdose, accident or aggression, and can damage the brain, liver and mental health. It also causes harm to self, family and friends, and is fraught with serious legal consequences like imprisonment and hefty fines.
Drug abuse by young people is very common, which can lead to disastrous consequences in the future. A large proportion of deaths in people between 15 and 24 are reportedly caused by drug or alcohol abuse. Such abuse also leads to violent criminal acts, such as assault, murder or rape. Some young people also take to drugs to overcome depression and anxiety.
If a young member of your family suddenly starts performing badly in school, makes a new group of friends, behaves in a delinquent manner or tries to keep aloof from other family members, you have some reasons to be suspicious. Physical signs like red eyes, nagging cough, and changes in eating and sleeping habits should also serve as warning signals.
In most cases, a specialist is needed for treatment of drug abuse. The choice of treatment will depend on the specific needs of the individual concerned, and the drug that is being abused. Treatments include psychological therapies, and medication to help the patient with withdrawal symptoms. The areas that deserve special attention during treatment include detoxification, relapse prevention and long-term rehabilitation.