is any substance, other than a food, which affects the body in any way. Therefore the over
indulgence in these types of substances to the detriment of the bodys health and
well-being, can be classified as drug abuse.
What to look for
behavioural changes which affect
relationships and performance at work or school
in children, abrupt changes in mood or
attitude, temper tantrums, or increased secrecy.
loss of money or valuables in the household
that cannot be explained
your child possesses large or unexplained
sums of money
deterioration of persons appearance
loss of interest in favourite sports,
hobbies or interests
new acquaintances and snubbing of old
friends or family
memory loss and accident proneness
depend on the drug:
Extreme weight loss, dilated pupils,
insomnia, and trembling
Lethargy, slurred speech, lack of balance,
constricted pupils, or excessive sleep
Mood swings, red eyes, dilated pupils,
slowed time sense and reflexes, dizziness, and lethargy
Ulcerated nostrils are typical of cocaine
sniffing; a runny nose or sniffles are typical of smoking crack cocaine or needle marks on
Weight loss, lethargy, mood swings,
excessive sweating, slurred speech, constricted pupils, and poor appetite
Hallucinations, dilated pupils, trembling,
If either a legal or illegal drug is used
sufficient to cause the abuser either physical, social, emotional or mental harm it can be
termed drug abuse. Addiction or dependence is the compulsive, lasting use of a drug.
The habitual abuse of legal drugs is a huge
problem worldwide. Most of these drug abusers will not admit there is a problem and blame
their lifestyle, families or work.
Drugs most likely to
be abused -
Depressants: Sleeping pills and anti
depressant drugs are among the most prescribed medications in the world. The effects are
similar to those of alcohol: Small doses can be relaxing, but large amounts may damage
both mind and body. Taken with alcohol there can be fatal consequences. Doctors are
usually very careful in prescribing these drugs as the consequences can be addiction or
Stimulants: Stimulants can cause rapid
speech, highs and agitation. People addicted to amphetamines, or uppers, often
try to calm themselves down with depressants, or downers, and become caught in an
exhaustive cycle. A more powerful and addictive stimulant is cocaine; the smoked version
called crack is also highly addictive.
Opiates: This includes, opium, heroin
and morphine. The addiction usually causes depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and
inability to cope with life, tremors, hypoactivity, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating,
sneezing, and eventually convulsions.
Marijuana: Smoking marijuana can dull
short-term memory, motivation, and energy levels. Chronic use brings increased heart rate,
vision problems, slowing of reflexes, apathy, cardiovascular problems, panic attacks, poor
working of the lungs, changes in sex hormones, and increased risk of lung cancer. It is
debateable as to whether Marijuana is addictive. However, users are more likely to use
cocaine than are non users.
There are other commonly used drugs which if
abused can cause physical, social, emotional and mental difficulties. These include:
Misuse Of Legal Drugs
Doctors and other experts disagree on the
causes of substance abuse but it is agreed that it is much more than a lack of will power.
Certain causes have been identified, such as:-
One problem which exacerbates the drug abuse
is the abusers refusal to face up to the fact that it is possible for them to become
addicted to the drug. Abusers seem to think that they will not have to face this reality.
Treatment involves withdrawal and recovery.
The most important step in treating drug
abuse is awareness of the problem. Family, friends, or a professional must reinforce and
encourage your resolve.
The type of treatment that is needed will
depend the severity of the problem. It is advisable to see your doctor who can put you in
touch with the appropriate groups and counsellors as well as help you withdraw carefully
from the type of drug that you are addicted to (as many have serious consequences if
withdrawal is not performed under supervision). There may be a need for certain
medications and vitamin supplements.
After withdrawal you are in the recovery
stage and it is vitally important that you do not put yourself into situations that can
trigger a relapse. Such as mixing with people that are known to use the drugs that have
been a problem for you. It is the part of the process when you must change your lifestyle
and habits. This is where the support of groups and positive family and friends can be of
Herbal Therapies - Cleansing the body
of toxins is an important step in healing...
thistle (Silybum marianum), is taken to strengthen the liver.
Wild oat extract, burdock (Arctium lappa) root, echinacea (Echinacea spp.), and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) cleanse the blood,
officinalis), and vervain reduce anxiety.
See a professional
Traditionally drug users have eaten poorly
and need to commence a balanced diet with an emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables,
protein and complex carbohydrates. Ask your doctor about the need for supplements.
When to seek further