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Friday, April 16, 2021

What are the Forms of Drug Abuse?

forms of drug abuse

Using and abusing certain substances can be a serious issue, for an individual’s mental and physical health. While there are many terms that are used to describe a person’s problems with alcohol or drugs such as opioids and prescriptions, it is important to understand when use becomes misuse. What are the forms of drug abuse? While they may differ with the individual, all revolve around the addiction that is central to the disorder.


Drug Dependency

When someone is considered to be dependent on drugs, it means that if they stop using that drug their body goes through withdrawal. The individual can then experience physical and mental issues ranging from mild to life-threatening. People who take a prescription drug every day, legally, can become dependent on it. Many of the signs and symptoms of drug dependency are similar to those of addiction, but someone who is dependent on a drug isn’t necessarily addicted.


Substance Abuse

Professionals use the medical term, substance abuse, to describe a problem with drug use that causes significant issues or distress. The individual may miss work or school because of their drug use or they may use the substance in dangerous situations such as when they are driving. Drug use can also lead to legal problems and issues with relationships at work and at home. Substance abuse can refer to the abuse of illegal substances, including cocaine and heroin, or to the abuse of legal substances, such as prescription medications and alcohol.


Drug Misuse

Misuse is one of the forms of drug abuse. When someone takes illegal drugs or takes medications in a manner that was not originally intended by the prescribing physician or the manufacturer, they are misusing those drugs. Drugs that are commonly misused include alcohol, prescribed medications such as painkillers and sleeping pills, inhalants such as solvents and glues, and illegal drugs. Those drugs that have been banned by law are considered to be illegal drugs.


Prescription medications, including steroids and opioids, can lead to drug abuse even though they are prescribed in a legal manner. The misuse of prescriptions includes taking larger doses of the medication than was intended or taking a medication that was prescribed for someone else. Someone might also misuse the prescription by taking it via a different method, one which can cause greater harm, such as crushing and snorting pills rather than taking them orally as intended.


Over-the-counter medicines can also be misused. If they are used for another purpose than they were intended, such as getting high, they can be the source of drug abuse. These medicines could also lead to harmful issues if taken in a different manner than intended, such as being snorted or injected.


Drug Addiction

A form of drug abuse that can be dangerous for an individual’s mental and physical health is addiction. Drug abuse in the form of repeated drug use changes the brain and leads to addiction. Drug addiction is a chronic brain disease that can cause someone to continue to take drugs even though they are causing great harm.


Each individual’s reaction to drugs is different, so not everyone who takes drugs will become addicted. Drugs affect the brain and body differently in each person so some may become addicted after a short period of drug use and others may develop an addiction over a longer period. Environmental, genetic, and developmental factors can all contribute to an individual’s drug addiction. 


Signs of Drug Abuse

Most forms of drug abuse can be identified by the signs and symptoms exhibited by the individual who may be misusing drugs or alcohol. The person addicted to drugs might:

  • Lose interest in what used to be their favorite hobbies or activities
  • Not take care of themselves, including keeping up with their personal hygiene
  • Eat more or eat less than normal
  • Be in a bad mood a lot of the time
  • Be more energetic than usual, including talking fast and saying things that don’t seem to make sense
  • Be really tired or sad
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Spend a lot of time by themselves
  • Develop problems at work or school
  • Have problems with their relationships with friends and family members.

Help for Your Addiction

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we focus on helping you begin your journey of recovery from drug abuse as well as mental health issues. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, so you can embrace your recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.


Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients' safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!

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