It would have been a splendid and terrific day for Ade Martins as it was the day he would be receiving his Mb.Ch.b degree certificate from a reputable institution in the state. However, it wasn’t much of a surprise that he was irritable, sad, and withdrawn. He had not had his daily dose of nicotine. He had been battling with his addiction to the drug for quite a while. What had started as a rather harmless drug abuse to aid his medical school journey had become an addiction that spelled impending doom to his life, in general.
Drug abuse is the use of either legal or illegal drugs in ways we shouldn’t. It is the maladaptive and excessive use of drugs for recreational and non-medical purposes. It might be in the form of taking more than the daily dosage of prescribed pills. Moreover, it could be from taking someone else’s prescription. Abuse of drugs can also be in the form of taking some particular drugs just because we like the way it makes us feel. A significant percentage of people and an even greater proportion of youths under the age of 30 abuse some form of drugs. This, they do, to help them ease stress, feel good, or avoid reality, apparently. Drug abuse is the most prevalent and major cause of drug addiction.
Drug addiction manifests itself as a chronic debilitating disease. It is the inability to stop the use of a particular drug against our will. Even when it poses substantial amounts of danger to our health. Also, when it poses mental, social, financial, psychological, and emotional problems to us and our loved ones. Drug addiction begins with wanting to experience the surge of pleasure that the use of a particular drug brings. This is because most addictive drugs target the brain’s reward system and fill the brain with dopamine. This is why it is quite difficult to resist the urge to use drugs to which one is addicted, no matter how much harm it may cause.
The major categories in which commonly abused and addictive drugs are classified are:
- Stimulants: These increase stimulation of the brain and a general burst of activities in the body. They include cocaine (a natural component of the leaves of the coca plant), nicotine, and all forms of amphetamines and their derivatives.
- Depressants: These cause depression in the brain and are capable of slowing down brain functions. They include alcohol, all forms of sedatives, and hypnotics such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines (minor tranquilizers).
- Hallucinogens: As can be inferred from the name, they cause hallucinations, delusions, distorted sensory perceptions, and even paranoia. They include mescaline and LSD, which is the acronym for Lysergic acid diethylamide.
- Opiates: Last but not least, these powerful painkillers are capable of producing feelings of euphoria. Examples include heroin, morphine etc.
The popular marijuana from the plant, Cannabis sativa, goes by many names. Weed, ganja, pot, and hemp, are some of them. It can be classified as a stimulant, depressant, as well as a hallucinogen. This is because it is capable of causing similar effects and implications as the three. It should, however, be understood that one can get addicted to legal drugs like sleep and anti-anxiety drugs too. Prolonged use of any drug for recreational and non-medical purposes can hurt a person’s sense of judgment, memory, learning, and decision-making abilities.
I’m Safiyyah, your young medi-writer. In our next episode, we discuss the way forward from Drug Abuse and Addiction.
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