Substance Abuse in the UK
Substance abuse refers to the misuse of illegal and legal drugs, including alcohol, on a regular basis.While this includes illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy, it also includes the abuse of drugs that are only available on prescription.Substance abuse is voluntary.If an individual feels a strong internal compulsion to use a drug, substance abuse is then termed dependency.
People abuse drugs for various reasons: they may use a drug to relax, to gain self-confidence, or to fit in with their peers.However, substance abuse can cause serious risks to life.Substance abuse is associated with risk to personal safety through death, injury, accident, or aggression.It also damages health as it is associated with brain damage, mental health problems, and liver failure.
Substance abuse can have serious legal consequences such as risk of imprisonment or fine.Furthermore, substance abuse can destroy an individual’s relationship with friends and family.
Substance abuse is associated with a loss of control.This does not happen to everyone who misuses a drug.This loss of control is driven by psychological and/or physical factors.Psychological dependence occurs when an individual relies on a substance to provide them with the feelings they require – be it self-confidence or freedom from anxiety.Physical dependence occurs when the body craves a drug in order to function normally.If a substance is not used, withdrawal symptoms are experienced until the substance is taken once again.
Physical and psychological dependency represent a downward spiral that can present serious risks to health.For this reason, an individual must cease substance abuse with professional guidance.
People abuse substances for many different reasons.However, substance abuse can have a range of serious health and societal effects, the majority of which are hard to overcome.Substances that are abused include legal and illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.Substance abuse results in varying forms of intoxication that can alter judgement, perception, physical control, and attention.The majority of substances are associated with withdrawal effects that can include anxiety, seizures, hallucinations, and tremors.
Almost all substances abused require an individual to increase the quantity at which the substance is used.The reason is that the user is seeking a similar level of intoxication as that experienced the first time the substance was abused.Oftentimes, substances are abused for the benefits that they bring.Tobacco, for example, is associated with short-term relief from depression and control of hunger pangs.However, substance abuse can result in serious side effects.It has been well documented for years that substances such as tobacco increase the risk of cancer and of heart disease.Any severe substance abuse may result in death.
Substance abuse does not just cause negative health effects; it also comes at a cost to society.Hospitals and emergency departments must deal with the damage substance abuse causes to human health.Substance abuse, particularly drug use, is strongly associated with crime.This puts significant strain on the prison service.
It is possible for an individual to overcome drug addiction with the help of professional support services.While this is by no means an easy task, early treatment can aid in preventing some of the more serious substance abuse effects.