Drug Addiction and Treatment

The NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - for 2014 reported that more than 9 percent of all Americans above the age of 12 years had abused drugs in the month prior to the study. While drug use and addiction just recently came into the national spotlight - particularly with respect to opioid use disorders - the problem has been widespread for much longer.

The abuse of drugs and the best approaches to treatment and rehabilitation can vary widely depending on the drugs that you have been taking as well as your age. In the following guide, you will learn more about the most popular substances of abuse and their effects as well as the options that you can consider while seeking help for your addiction.

Popular Drugs of Abuse

According to the latest results released by the NSDUH, there are many drugs that are commonly abused in the United States. The same data has also published the changes in drug use trends in the country over time.

In 2015, for instance, more than 27 million people reported that they had used drugs. another 22 million people reported that they had abused marijuana. In terms of heroin abuse, the number of people above the age of 12 years who took this drug increased from about 400,000 in 2002 to over 680,000 by 2013.

The abuse of other drugs like hallucinogens, meth, and cocaine has remained consistent through these years. That said, the following are the most common drugs of abuse by numbers in the United States among people above the age of 12 years:

  • Cocaine: 1.5 million
  • Hallucinogens: 1.2 million
  • Hashish and marijuana: 22.2 million
  • Heroin: 400,000
  • Inhalants: 500,000
  • Pain relievers: 4.3 million
  • Sedatives: 300,000
  • Stimulants: 1.6 million
  • Tranquilizers: 1.9 million

Drugs and Their Side Effects

According to a report released by the CDC - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - over 47,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2014. The same report showed that the following were some of the most commonly abused drugs:

1. Cocaine

The Monitoring the Future study for 2016 reported that cocaine use has been declining since 2013. However, the NSDUH for the same year still reported that there were more than 1.5 million people currently using cocaine.

Taking this drug can cause euphoria, which could last for around one hour. As a result, you might find yourself taking this drug because it makes you hypersensitive to touch, sound, and light. It can also cause you to be talkative, energetic, and alert.

Using cocaine in large amounts could lead to cardiovascular irregularities, erratic behavior, heart attacks, and death. Combining it with alcohol could also amplify the effects of both drugs to the heart.

2. Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens can be synthetic or plant based. They all, however, produce similar effects. These effects include altered perception of space and time, visions, and hallucinations. They can also cause impaired motor function, body numbness and tremors, memory loss, and anxiety.

3. Heroin

Heroin is synthesized from morphine. As an opioid, it is highly addictive whether you snort, smoke, or inject it. The drug acts on the brain and can lead to a drug overdose. It can also cause brain damage, and many other negative effects. At excess doses, heroin could also cause death.

4. Inhalants

Inhalants include common household products like cleaning fluids, glue, markers, and spray paints. Combining them with alcohol can lead to dangerously low blood pressure as well as kidney and liver damage, loss of normal brain function, nerve damage, and a heightened risk of pneumonia.

5. Marijuana

Medical marijuana is legal in 28 states while recreational marijuana is licit in 8 states. As a result, the drug is increasingly more accessible than ever before. Even so, research about the medical benefits of this drug is still inconclusive.

The euphoric and calming effects of marijuana is derived from its THC content, as well as the other chemicals that are found in the plant. The drug can also cause a wide variety of other effects, including but not limited to increased appetite, altered time perception, laughter, and heightened sensory perception.

However, not everyone who abused marijuana experiences its pleasant effects. This is because some of them may experience panic, paranoia, distrust, fear, and anxiety. In the long term, marijuana can also cause psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

6. Stimulants, Tranquilizers, and Sedatives

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the main types of tranquilizers commonly abused in the United States. Benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin, and Xanax are prescribed for the treatment of seizures, insomnia, panic attacks, and anxiety.

Stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, on the other hand, are generally prescribed for the management of ADHD symptoms. They also cause calming effects that can improve your focus.

However, all these drugs are highly addictive and come with a potential for abuse. in high doses, they can cause dangerously high body temperatures, seizures, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat. Quitting them can also lead to seizures while mixing them with alcohol could cause overdose that might result in death.

Getting Help

Irrespective of the drugs of abuse that you have been taking, it is highly likely that you will soon discover that you are struggling with a substance use disorder. When this happens, you will have a complex and chronic illness that will require intensive treatment - sometimes in the long term.

The types of drugs that you were taking as well as the severity of your addiction will all have a role to play in the type and duration of treatment that you will require before you can archive long term recovery and wellness.

The treatment process typically starts with detoxification to manage the withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that you will experience when your favorite substance of abuse leaves your system.

After that, the treatment center will use counseling and different kinds of behavioral therapy to support your recovery by deprogramming the circumstances and behaviors that are related to your substance abuse.

The important thing is to ensure that you choose the right drug addiction treatment program to help you overcome your drug use and addiction as well as get started on the road to health, wellness, sobriety, abstinence, and recovery.

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