Drug & Substance Abuse | How Do You Help The Addicts?

Drug & substance abuse is wiping out a huge number of the World’s population at an alarming rate. In fact, an estimated 4.1 million Kenyans aged 12 and over a report that they currently use illicit drugs. This means 10 percent of the Kenyan population admits to using illegal drugs.

These illegal drugs fall into more than ten categories. Including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants. Likewise, there is abuse in the prescription-type like pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives used for non-medical purposes.

At times, as a result of anxiety, drug & substance abuse affects every part of your life. Not forgetting, it can hurt you and the people around you as well as, ruin relationships and your financial health.

What is Drug & Substance Abuse?

It goes without saying that one of the best ways to prevent and overcome anxiety is to understand its different contributors. However, before this can happen, it’s first important to review anxiety and have, at the very least, a basic understanding of this emotion and all that comes along with it.

In general, drug & substance abuse is when you take drugs that are not legally prescribed or approved for use. Therefore, it is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in unchecked and harmful ratios. Particularly to themselves or others, and is a form of substance-related disorder.

Simply put, drug & substance abuse also relates to when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way. Drug and substance abuse literally differs from any active addiction.

Resourceful Reference: Interactive Map of Drug Overdose Deaths

Even though, many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior. Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease. It means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.

Basically, psychoactive substance use can lead to dependence syndrome – a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena. That develops after repeated substance use and that can typically include;

  • a strong desire to take the drug,
  • difficulties in controlling its use,
  • persisting in its use despite harmful consequences,
  • a higher priority is given to drug use than to other activities and obligations,
  • increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.

What are the Signs of Drug & Substance Abuse?

When you first start taking a substance, you may think you can control how much you use. But over time, you may need more of the drug to get the same feeling or effect.

For some people, that can lead beyond abuse to addiction. Signals that you may have a problem with substance abuse include if you:

  • Lack of interest in things you used to love
  • Change your friends a lot
  • Stop taking care of yourself
  • Spend more time alone than you used to
  • Eat more or less than normal
  • Sleep at odd hours
  • Have problems at work or with family
  • Switch quickly from feeling good and bad

How do I Get Help?

It’s never fun to deal with the anxiety that leads to drug abuse. To date, anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and unease regarding events in the past, present, or future.

In many cases, people who experience anxiety can also undergo various symptoms. Such as the lack of interest in being around others, increased heart rate, nervousness, sweating, and more.

Related Topic: What is Depression and What you can do about it?

To stop abusing any particular drugs, you may need counseling, medicine, or both. If you have a substance abuse problem and want to quit, a doctor can help figure out the best treatment options for you.

One of the most critical points in the addiction support phase of treatment is what is called discharge planning. And because the main goal of the treatment is to ensure continued success and sobriety, the recovery process does not end with the completion of the program.

Learn Also: What is Mental Health? Simple Tips for Our Well-being

Addiction Support, even after treatment, is the key to a lasting change. After all, treatment is just the beginning of a lifelong process of growth and discovery. That should touch every area of your life when it has been affected by addiction. As well as the underlying issues of mental health disorders.

According to the northbound treatment center, discharge planning consultation recognizes that extended care is often necessary. Especially for the lifelong recovery people who come to them while seeking their Recovery Services.

Which are Examples of Drug & Substance Abuse?

Commonly, drug & substance abuse is generally found in various forms. Including marijuana, khat, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, and methamphetamines. As well as other substances referred to as club drugs.

With this in mind, this list below provides examples of their commercial and street names. In addition, how they are administered, their effects, health risks, and other information.

1. Marijuana/Bhang

In particular, from various research articles, marijuana has a new name online as “medical marijuana.” Both legal and illegal drugs have chemicals that can change how your body and mind work.

They can give you a pleasurable “high,” ease your stress or help you avoid problems in your life. Of the 27.1 million illicit drug users reported by NSDUH, 12.2 million of them note past 30-day use of marijuana, making it the most widely used drug in Kenya.

The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and recreational use in some states has influenced a rapid increase in the number of people who use the drug. While marijuana use is slowly becoming more accepted, it’s important to keep in mind the possible mental and physical consequences of frequent, heavy use.

What are the Effects of Continued abuse of Marijuana?

While conventional forms of marijuana are hazardous and potentially addictive, a new and particularly dangerous form of the drug has recently entered into common circulation — edibles.

From gummy bears to brownies, these seemingly innocuous concoctions pose a broad range of risks that smokable varieties don’t.

While the high from smoking marijuana lasts about two hours, a high from edibles may last anywhere from six to 10 hours. When taken in large doses, edibles can cause;

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory insufficiency, especially in young children

By learning more about the mental and physical health effects of the most commonly abused drugs, Kenyans can begin to fight back against addiction.

2. Khat/Miraa

Khat or miraa as commonly referred to by Kenyans is a flowering plant that is found natively from the Meru and Wajir Counties. Even though it also has its origins from the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.

Chewing the leaves has been a practice among people living in that area for years because the leaves contain a stimulant. Cathinones like MDMA are derived, originally, from khat.

Khat and the chemical compounds derived from it – cathinone and cathine – are controlled under Schedule I and IV, respectively, per the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

What are the Effects of Continued Khat chewing?

As a medicine, khat leaf is used for depression, fatigue, obesity, stomach ulcers, and male infertility. It is also used to lower the need for food and sleep, decrease sexual desires, and increase aggression.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists that as a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using it.

In Somalia, the civilian and military use of khat has been blamed for fueling a civil war, draining the nation’s economy, and undermining international relief efforts.

What does the Research Study on Miraa suggest?

Although ingesting khat leaves directly – through chewing, brewing into tea, or smoking, most commonly – provides 10 times less CNS stimulation than cathinone, the drug can still be very addictive and cause many short-term and long-term side effects.

The main populations around the world who abuse khat are Yemeni, Somali, Kenyan, and Ethiopian populations. Although the drug received short-term popularity among native-born Americans in the US because it was briefly legal.

It is also easy to acquire online, despite being now illegal in the US and some other countries. In particular through dark websites like Silk Road Channels. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists that as a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using it.

3. Alcohol

When it comes to substance use in Kenya, alcohol is by and large the worst offender. With around 8.3 million heavy alcohol users recorded in 2016 alone.

Three out of every 4 cases of substance use disorders in Kenya involve alcohol. Because alcohol is a legal — and socially acceptable — substance, many people feel a false sense of security when using it.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that alcohol is extremely addictive, and irresponsible consumption comes with physical and mental health consequences.

What are the Effects of Alcohol abuse?

These side effects don’t just impact the people consuming alcohol — they can also put other lives in danger, especially if users drive while under the influence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk-driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States in 2015. Short-term, negative Effects of Alcohol use include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Distorted vision and hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Blackouts

Because alcohol is a legal — and socially acceptable — substance, many people feel a false sense of security when using it.

4. Cocaine 

In Kenya as of 2016, an estimated 1 million individuals over the age of 12 were current users of cocaine. Additionally, it has become one of the most addictive drugs in the world to the modern century.

Usually available as a white powder or solidified, rock-like substance, cocaine can be snorted, smoked, and injected. Particularly, cocaine is commonly a source of solace to the people living around the Coast Line in Lamu and Mombasa.

What’re the Effects of Cocaine on Users?

Once ingested, this substance stimulates the user’s brain, causing them to experience a rush of euphoria and energy. These feelings may also be accompanied by elevated mood and an inflated, grandiose sense of self-esteem.

Once the high subsidies, users may experience an unpleasant crash, often accompanied by the following side effects:

  • Tremors
  • Paranoia
  • Vertigo
  • Increased heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Raised body temperature

In most cases, the cocaine addict will attend outpatient therapy after completing residential cocaine addiction treatment for continued support.

How is taking Cocaine a Drug & Substance Abuse?

Cocaine is an illicit or illegally commonly abused drug. Cocaine abuse can lead to addiction, severe health problems, and death.

Many cocaine abusers report being trapped in a vicious cycle of increased cocaine abuse in failed attempts to recreate the pleasurable sensations of their first exposure to cocaine.

Due to the intense cravings and high relapse rate associated with cocaine addiction, recovery in a supportive environment, such as residential treatment centers, provide the recovering addict much more support than private or outpatient therapy.

In most cases, the cocaine addict will attend outpatient therapy after completing residential cocaine addiction treatment for continued support. In conjunction with outpatient therapy, most addicts are urged to attend 12 step support groups to augment their commitment to recovery.

5. Heroin

Although illegal and very addicting, heroin use, unfortunately, has made something of a comeback as a “chic” drug among today’s young people who snort or smoke it instead of injecting it.

About 329,000 people currently use heroin in the United States. In recent years, heroin has seen an increase in use, which has been blamed on the crackdown on prescription pain-pill abuse.

What are the Effects of Continuous abuse of Heroin?

As pain medication became more expensive and more difficult to obtain, those abusing the pills who lived in urban areas began to turn to cheaper. More available heroin, officials believe now, even in poor, rural areas of the country.

Such as Appalachia, where drugs like oxycontin are referred to as “hillbilly heroin.” An increase in actual heroin use has been reported in recent years by health and law enforcement officials.

Substance abuse is when you take drugs that are not legal. It’s also when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way. Substance abuse differs from addiction.

What are Prescription Tranquilizers?

Also known as minor tranquilizers, prescription tranquilizers are part of a broad class of drugs that induce relaxation and calm a person’s mental state. These include anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax and sleeping pills like Ambien and Sonata.

While prescription tranquilizers are helpful for some, they can cause a great deal of mental and physical problems when taken over long periods of time, including addiction.

Currently, 1.9 million people in the United States abuse prescription tranquilizers. Prolonged use of prescription tranquilizers can cause:

  • Memory loss
  • Loss of balance
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive decline
  • Addiction
  • Overdose

While prolonged use is ill-advised, many people choose to use prescription tranquilizers daily for sleep or anxiety problems.

When these drugs are used regularly, a person may knowingly or unintentionally take them with alcohol or other substance. This puts dramatically heightens the risk of overdose, permanent damage, or death.

Unfortunately, what often starts as the safe, responsible use of prescription medication can quickly turn into a full-fledged addiction.

What are Prescription Opioids?

Opioids are a family of drugs that produce sedative, pain-relieving effects. While street varieties like heroinfentanyl, and gray death are becoming more common, prescription counterparts like oxycodonehydrocodone, and morphine are more widely abused.

Unfortunately, what often starts as the safe, responsible use of prescription medication can quickly turn into a full-fledged addiction. Moreover, if a person takes more medication than prescribed over an extended period of time.

Read Also: The Different Types of Drug Rehab Addiction Support

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 3.8 million people in the United States abuse prescription pain relievers.

Ohio is at the center of the country’s opioid epidemic, likely due to high rates of prescription drug use in the state. And while these drugs may be a useful way for some to deal with pain in the short-term, long-term abuse and dependence can lead to:

  • Chronic nausea
  • Constipation
  • Liver damage
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Overdose

You can read and learn more about What you Should know about Addiction.

What are Over the Counter Medicines?

Over-the-counter drugs (OTC meds) are medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Furthermore, these can be just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs. You can abuse over-the-counter medicine if you?

  • You take medicine prescribed for someone else
  • Have extra doses or drug usage other than the recommended
  • Take the drug for a non-medical reason 

Prescription Drugs most often Abused include; 

  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Medicine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Anxiety medicine

The most commonly abused OTC drugs are; cough syrups, headache painkillers, and cold medicine that have dextromethorphan. Which in high doses can make you feel drunk or intoxicated.

What are the Effective Services for Drug & Substance Abuse?

According to our Health & Fitness Support affiliates (northboundtreatment.com) on drug & substance abuse, Addiction Support refers to the phase of treatment that follows discharge. Especially, when the person no longer requires the intensity of primary treatment.

For example, at Northbound Treatment Services®, their professionally designed discharge plan highly helps those in recovery. In that case, by continuing to reorient their behavior to the ongoing reality of a sober lifestyle.

Read Also: Why Addiction Support Services Are Important

Addiction Support Services Treatment gives people the flexibility and support to determine whether they’re ready to move forward in sobriety. Presumably, or whether they may need to return to a higher level of care.

Finally, I hope the above-revised guide on drug & substance abuse was helpful towards living a more informed and healthier life. After all, as one of our addiction services delivery affiliates, you can help us spread the word or even Donate to support our projects.

If you’ll have additional contributions, suggestions, or even more questions related to this topic, please feel free to Contact Us. You can also share your insights in the comments section below this article. Below are more related and resourceful topic links;

  1. What is Depression?
  2. What’s Over the Counter Medicine
  3. The Most Popular Illegal Drugs and Their Effects
  4. Chronic Stress | Signs, Symptoms, Risks & Management

This is equally important: There are a variety of symptoms that are commonly associated with anxiety. In most cases, people are aware when they are undergoing feelings of anxiousness even if they struggle with controlling these feelings.

Sweating, restlessness, and struggle with concentration are some of the most obvious indicators of anxiety. Additional symptoms include irritation, trouble with sleeping, and worrying. That said, click here to learn more about the key contributors to anxiety.

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