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Substance Abuse Issues

More than 140 million Americans abuse alcohol or other substances yearly. So, substance abuse is rampant in the US. It is also a serious health issue.

Learning more about substance abuse can help.

What is Substance Abuse?

This is the illegal or wrongful use of psychoactive substances. Most times, the wrong use of these substances can cause physical, emotional, and mental damage.

Alcohol and all illicit drugs fall under substance abuse.

What is the Difference Between Substance Abuse and Addiction?

Substance abuse is actively overusing a substance. Addiction is a disease that results from consisting abusing drugs or substances.

When a person is addicted, they display symptoms relating to addiction. However, a person can abuse a substance and not be addicted.

How Does Someone Abusing Substance Behave?

A person abusing an illicit substance or alcohol will usually be drowsy. They might also suffer from insomnia and restlessness.

The severity of their behavioral changes depends on the frequency and severity of their abuse.

What are the Symptoms of Substance Abuse?

  • Low productivity and motivation
  • Isolates themselves
  • Mood swings
  • Irritable
  • Problems concentrating at work or in school
  • Missing appointments and expectations
  • Starting to crave the substance more

What are the Commonly Abused Substances?


More than 6% of American adults have an alcohol use disorder. It all starts from alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse can cause a lot of problems. This includes

  • Accidents
  • Physical injury
  • Liver disease
  • Risk of becoming more violent
  • Addiction

Cocaine feels like hitting fast forward on the remote. Everything is fast and like a blur. Mood swings are also common with cocaine abuse. You can suddenly go from being energetic and happy to being angry and paranoid.

Cocaine usually leads to addiction.


Often known as horse or dope, heroin gives you pleasure and an adrenaline rush. However, once the effects wear off, you might feel sick, nervous, and get chills. In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to death.

Other after-effect symptoms include chills, nausea, and a craving for more. You might feel that taking heroin is the only way to ease your symptoms.

Heroin is especially popular among younger people.


Marijuana makes you feel happy. People who abuse marijuana may laugh at the slightest provocation. It can also make you drowsy and forgetful.

While marijuana can be dangerous, you can legally buy marijuana in some parts of the US.

Over the Counter Drugs

People abuse over-the-counter (OTC) drugs without even realizing it. OTC drugs are abused when

  • They are taken without a doctor’s prescription
  • People take a higher dose than prescribed
  • Drugs are taken for a wrong purpose

Commonly abused OTC drugs include opioids and drugs meant to reduce insomnia. Drugs that contain dextromethorphan are often commonly abused.

Club Substances

Club substances or drugs are drugs commonly sold in clubs or parties. They include

  • Roofies– Roofies or Rohypnol is a sedative used in parties or clubs. It is usually referred to as a date-rape drug. Some common symptoms associated with this drug include dizziness, abdominal cramps, and low blood pressure.
  • Microdots and Mushrooms– This drug causes nausea and hallucinations. It can lead to addiction and psychosis.
  • Ecstasy– Also known as Adam or STP, Ecstasy is a hallucinogen that makes people energetic. It also improves moodiness. When taken excessively, it can lead to seizures. It can also lead to long-lasting insomnia
  • Ketamine– Ketamine is an anesthetic. People who take ketamine might have difficulty remembering or concentrating. Excessive doses can cause paranoia, depression, and hallucinations.

Angel dust and blue nitro are also popular club drugs.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids focus on the artificial growth of testosterone. Athletes are more likely to abuse this steroid.

Abusing this steroid can lead to mood swings and addiction.

Who is at Risk of Substance Abuse?

  • Gender- Males are more likely to abuse drugs.
  • History- People who have had mood disorders, depression, or anxiety are at greater risk.
  • Child abuse history.
  • Attachment- People who did not form a secure attachment to their parents are more likely to abuse drugs.
  • Parents have a history of abusing drugs and other substances

What is the Likely Treatment for Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse can be stopped with little treatment if action is taken immediately. However, treatment is required when the person becomes addicted to the substance.

When this happens, treatment happens in phases. The first stage is a proper evaluation or examination. Once there is a diagnosis, a detox program might be recommended.

Detox programs focus on removing all traces of the substance from the body. After this happens, you might likely experience withdrawal symptoms. To make sure recovery takes place, rehab programs are usually recommended.

Doctors might also prescribe several medications to reduce cravings. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you think you have consistently abused drugs, you should stop immediately. If you believe you have started craving that particular drug or substance, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

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