Drug Abuse is one of the biggest bottlenecks of our modern-day society. It is paralyzing the progress of an entire generation by damaging them physically and psychologically. The world would be a better place if there was no drug abuse. Let us know the causes, characteristics, and ways to combat drug abuse.
Causes of drug abuse
When we say “everything happens for a reason”, we should count it in case of drug abuse as well. Drug abuse happens for several reasons and many of these reasons come from societal pressure and other grim issues. Here are some of the common causes of drug abuse:
The majority of youngsters try drugs out of peer pressure. Once they experiment, it soon turns to regular usage leading to drug dependency.
The youngsters have a vulnerable minds and they cannot positively take comparisons or criticism. They compare themselves and suffer from an inferiority complex which leads them to try drugs that boost their confidence level.
Mental health disorder
If the user has some mental disorder like depression and anxiety, he/she is prone to indulge in drug abuse.
History of addiction in the family
If there is a history of addiction in the family, the descendants will tend to be drug addicts as well.
Lack of family involvement
When parents do not give enough time to their children, they feel left out. Many of them end up being prey to drug abuse as they don’t get the right guidance to lead a disciplined life.
Contrary to the last point, some parents control their kids to an extreme level. These kids try to find their escape from drugs.
Family dysfunction is one of the most common reasons for drug abuse among youngsters. The children get affected by the ongoing tussles in the house. They feel that drugs can be an easy solution to escape reality.
Divorce between couples leads to depression among the partners. The one who feels let down often becomes prey to drug and substance abuse.
Lack of discipline
Lack of discipline among youngsters is a common problem with this generation. There is a deficiency of self-control and focus. Many of their acquaintances lead them to explore and experiment with certain stunts. Trying out drugs is one of them. That which starts as harmless fun often turns to drug dependency.
Poor performance in academics
Some students who cannot accept failures or do not perform well in exams get involved in drugs and substance abuse. Some of them take Adderall which is also known as a study drug to improve their grades. This sooner or later leads them to substance use disorder.
An important cause of drug abuse is rejection. Many youngsters cannot handle rejection. They feel devastated when they fail and some of them don’t make an effort to improve themselves. Instead, they become victims of drug abuse.
Characteristics of drug abuse
Drug abuse or substance abuse has some prominent characteristics on the consumer. If you find someone with all of the following symptoms, you should be concerned about them. You should not snap at them concluding that they must be an addict. Rather you should find out if they are victims of substance use disorder. Some of the symptoms of drug dependence are:
- Frequent mood swings
- Change of personality over a period
- Change in habits and activities
- They mention drugs often during conversations
- Sudden impairment of insight and judgement
- Frequent dizziness or sweating
- Kleptomaniac tendency
- Avoiding regular bathing
- Salivating during sleep
- Loss of appetite
Types of drugs used by the youth
Some of the common drugs used by the youth are:
Cannabis is the “gateway drug” as it is often the first tried and tested drug by most users. They are available in dried form as weed or marijuana and resin form as hash or hashish.
It is also called crack or coke by the users and is a stimulant drug. It gives an instant high causing a flush of adrenaline in the bloodstream. This increases blood pressure and makes a person aggressive, ruthless, and overconfident. People suffering from an inferiority complex feel confident after cocaine abuse and become victims of substance use disorder.
One of the most common drugs used in India due to the growth of opium plants in our country. It is used as an intravenous drug by injecting it directly into the veins using a hypodermic needle. This drug makes a person sluggish and slows down their reasoning capacity. People suffering from depression often end up using heroin to stay aloof from their surroundings.
This is a derivative of heroin. It is prepared by mixing chalk powder and other contaminants with heroin making it a cheaper but more dangerous drug with higher potency. Pure heroin is called white sugar but the contaminants turn the colour of this cheap alternative brown. Hence, this is called brown sugar.
Cough syrup, tranquilizers, and alprazolam are the commonly used sedatives. Sold across all the medical shops, these sedatives are available for usage without much hunting.
These drugs are inhaled and can be in semi-solid or liquid forms. Epoxy-based adhesives, toluene, and trichloroethane-based whiteners are some of the common substances consumed by teenagers. They are readily available in the market and are 300 times more potent than alcohol.
LSD, magic mushrooms, and ecstasy are some of the drugs that cause hallucinations among users. These drugs attack the nervous system of the person and create a temporary illusion of utopia.
Adverse effects of the drugs used by the youth
- Stimulants like cocaine, meth, khat, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, etc. speed up the function of the sympathetic nervous system. They increase blood pressure and a person gets tachycardia. There are high chances of a heart attack.
- Opioids like heroin, brown sugar, morphine, etc. speed up the function of the parasympathetic nervous system. They decrease blood pressure and a person gets bradycardia.
- Hallucinogens like cannabis, LSD, ketamine, magic mushrooms, ecstasy, etc. make the user hallucinate and reach an illusive state. They make the user experience high blood pressure, increased heart rate, nausea, and intensified feelings.
Ways to combat drug abuse
Here are some ways that you can go with to combat the drug abuse.
- Identify the problem that is the root cause of the addiction.
- Avoid the temptation to experiment with the intake of drugs.
- Avoid going to places where alcohol and drugs are served if you are abstaining from addiction.
- Stay away from friends who are victims of substance abuse.
- Get professional help from rehabilitation centres or a psychologist.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising, and meditating.
- Consider travelling to new places and spending time making new connections.
- Engage in a new hobby like learning a new musical instrument, gardening, painting, pottery, or dancing.
- Spend quality time with kids and pets.
Drug abuse is one of the most crucial psychiatric ailments that we are facing these days. The present generation finds escape in drug abuse instead of resolving their problems. The extensive availability of some of the drugs at inexpensive prices makes them easy to obtain.
So, the best way to stop the availability of these drugs is by limiting their sale. If the medical stores check prescriptions before selling out the sedatives and vials of opioids, it will be of great help. Yet, the biggest way to refrain from drug abuse is by making up your mind not to do it. I hope this article could help you understand the causes, characteristics, and ways to combat drug abuse. Good luck and “say no to drugs.”
Dr. Shashi Kumar, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry), is a highly regarded psychiatrist in Delhi. With extensive education from esteemed institutions like Patna Medical College & Hospital and AIIMS, he has built a strong foundation in the field. Dr. Kumar’s expertise spans Adult Psychiatry, Depression, Anxiety, Old Age Problems, Epilepsy, Chronic Headaches, Psychosexual Disorders, and Addiction. He currently operates the Sri Ganesh Psychiatry Clinic in Shalimar Bagh and Rohini Sector 16, providing exceptional care to patients. Alongside his commitment to the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, he also serves at Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh. Dr. Kumar’s reputation as one of the best psychiatrists in Delhi stems from his deep knowledge, experience, and dedication to improving mental health.