Drug Abuse and Addiction: What are the Causes and Effects?

cause and effects of drug abuse

Drug abuse and addiction are serious illnesses that affect millions of Americans. Understanding some of the possible causes and the effects of abuse and addiction on your body can help you make a move toward seeking help. Drug addiction and abuse is not a matter of moral weakness – it is a vicious cycle that leads to changes in the brain. Without help, the effects of drug abuse and addiction can take lives and destroy families.

Drug Abuse Vs. Drug Addiction

Drug abuse, also called chemical abuse or substance abuse, is a condition that is noted by a destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to distress and substantial problems. At some point in their lives, around 7% of people abuse some drug. Drug addiction, known also as chemical dependency or substance dependence, is a disease that is characterized by recurrent drug abuse, tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, and other major problems. It is estimated that around 3% of people in the U.S. suffer from drug addiction at some point during their life.

The Causes of Drug Abuse and Addiction

So what causes someone to abuse a drug or become addicted to a substance? Like most mental health disorders, drug addiction and abuse have no one single cause. Also, the causes of drug abuse and addiction vary for each person. The dominant force in addiction is the inability to self-soothe. Many turn to drugs to deal with depression, loneliness, or stress. Researchers believe there to be a number of psychological, biological, and social factors that increase an individual’s chances of developing a chemical dependency condition or abuse of a substance. These risk factors include:

  • Being between 18 and 44 years old
  • Unmarried marital status
  • Male gender
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Inadequate parenting
  • Disorganised home environment
  • Poor social coping skills
  • Deficiency of parental affection
  • Poor school performance
  • Unsuitably aggressive or shy classroom conduct
  • Having deviant friends
  • Perception of supporting drug use
  • Family history of addiction
  • Untreated physical pain
  • History of mental illness

 The Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Drug abuse and addiction effects lead to problems not just for the user, but for their friends, family, and the community. People who use drugs experience many physical effects other that those expected. This depends on the drug that is abused.

Poor Health – Drug abusers and addicts have a higher risk for health problems because they neglect their health, share needles, and have poor nutrition.

Financial Problems – Because productivity and work responsibilities are often neglected, those who abuse drugs often end up jobless or homeless or both.

Psychological Effects – The mental effects of drug abuse and addiction vary, depending upon the drug, but can include paranoia, aggression, depression, and hallucinations.

Physical Effects – The physical effects of this disease also differ provisional to the drug used. These include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, muscle weakness and cramping, liver damage, seizures, memory loss, and cancer.

Social Effects – People with substance abuse and addiction problems have trouble maintaining relationships.

Societal Costs – Drug use and abuse have been linked to domestic violence, robbery, assault, and sex crimes.

Meditation for Drug Addiction and Abuse

There is a growing body of research that supports the use of meditation as an effective treatment for drug abuse and addiction. Medical studies show that meditation changes thought process and brain function, allowing the addicted person relieve from substance cravings. Because conventional treatment often fails, many are turning to meditation as an alternative therapy for drug abuse and addiction. If you or someone you love is seeking treatment for drug addiction or abuse, meditation may be a helpful approach used alone or in combination with other modalities.


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