Drug Abuse Essay, Research Paper
Drugs Abuse occurs when a drug is taken for unintended purposes and can lead to addiction. Addiction occurs when a person must use the drug to feel and function normally. Addiction occurs in two types, physical and psychological. Physical addiction is caused the brain, the brain produces fewer chemicals or neurotransmitters to make up for the extra chemicals therefore the brain needs the chemicals from the drug to reach the correct balance and individual becomes out of touch with reality. Psychological addiction is much simpler, the individual simply likes the way a drug makes him/her feel and must have it, therefore becoming addicted. (Lawrence, F. 1996)
Addiction has six steps. The first step is occasional use; a person takes his/her first drink or uses other drugs for the first time, and likes the way it feels and the way it reduces stress, the individual then starts using the drug in social settings.
Step two is occasional trouble with drugs; a person shows mood swings or personality changes, they may experience blackouts, where they do not remember what was said or done.
Step three is regular use of the drug; tolerance therefore increases and use of the drug can not be controlled and the individual denies having a drug problem.
Step four is multiple drug use; drugs may be combined or switched for a new and stronger effect, the individual may then become a cross-addict or hooked on more than one drug.
Step five is increasing dependency; the individual needs the drug to function and the drug no longer has the same effect. If the individual does not have the drug they will start shaking, feel sick, lose interest in school, family, or work.
Step six is total dependency; the individual suffers from a major loss, such as getting thrown out of school, getting into a car accident, hospitalization, and they feel emotionally defeated. (Peele, S. 1997)
Individuals that are addicted to drugs are likely to suffer from loss of appetite, loss of weight, constipation and loss of sex drive. The pupils of the eyes may become tiny, the size of pinpoints, or extremely large. Drug addicts that use needles such as heroin addicts suffer from skin damage at the points where the needle is repeatedly inserted to give the dose or ‘fix’ from a syringe. (Torr, J. 1999)
Individuals addicted to drugs can suffer from withdrawals, which range from mild to severe. Mild withdrawals occur when the person is late getting the dose or ‘fix’. Mild withdrawals cause yawning, sneezing, runny nose, watering eyes and sweating. Severe withdrawals follow mild withdrawals and are caused by not receiving the drug for a long period of time. Severe withdrawals cause diarrhea, vomiting, trembling, cramps, confusion, and rarely seizures and coma.
When the individual takes the drug all withdraw symptoms are relieved. Withdrawal symptoms occur because the body becomes adapted to the presence of the drug, which reduces certain natural chemicals and the chemical deficiency is exposed. (Peele, S. 1997)
Addiction usually starts because a seriously ill or badly injured person is on painkillers longer than they should be. Sometimes boredom or pressure cause drug abuse. Some successful, high-powered business or professional people depend on drugs. Fashion may play a part and when it does drug use is always done for pleasure, ‘kicks’ or thrills. People who take drugs for these reasons believe drug taking is a technique to improve the mind.
Young people are often sold cannabis or other ‘soft’ drugs that are mixed or ‘laced’ with ‘hard’ addictive drugs, such as heroin.
Addicts come from all social backgrounds, good and bad. Doctors generally agree users have personality problems. Many use the drug to relieve tension because they can not handle life’s troubles.
Drugs can worsen health, cause lack of direction and motivation, and in this state it is easy to loose one’s job. Without money it is difficult to buy the expensive drugs and the addict may turn to crime. Drug trafficking is commonly turned to in order to pay for the doses. (Torr, J. 1999)
Drugs interact with neurotransmitters at different stages of normal process. Drugs can negatively influence presynaptic neurons by blocking the release of the neurotransmitters; this affects the PNS (peripheral nervous system) in its effectiveness and sensitivity. This means some drugs actually block the communication network in the nervous system so that the impulses to stop or start action are not transmitted.
A drug can act postsynaptically, acting on the receptors. The drug may mimic the normal neurotransmitter and cause an increase or decrease in the excitability of the postsynapic neurons. Other drugs can block the action of a neurotransmitter.
Some drugs change the information processing qualities of the nervous system, by interfering with synthesis, storage, release or activation of neurotransmitters.
By slowing down or blocking certain materials from passing in and out of a cell as they normally would, some drugs act on all membranes.
Hormones help the body maintain physical and mental balances. Taking drugs affects the way hormones are regulated in the body. This changes the way the nervous and endocrine systems function. When the nervous system is stimulated or depressed, hormone levels are also affected.
Psychoactive drugs affect the central nervous system and alter normal functions of the brain, causing behavior and emotion changes. Classes are stimulants, depressants and narcotics.
Stimulants speed up the central nervous system. They elevate blood pressure, dilate pupils, and cause decreased appetite. Users may experience irritability, sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness or sleeplessness. Overdoses can cause irregular heartbeat tremors, loss of coordination, physical collapse and death. Psychotic episodes and extreme fear can result. Inhalation or injection can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, high fever, or heart failure. Withdrawal symptoms include apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, disorientations and depression. Amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack are types of stimulants.
Narcotics and hallucinogens are also psychoactive drugs. Narcotics have some medical use, but hallucinogens do not. When used illegally, both drugs can cause bodily harm.
Narcotics act on the central and parasympathetic nervous systems to slow down body functions. Narcotics refers to drugs made from the opium poppy called opiates, some analgesics or medicines used to relieve pain. Narcotics are both natural and synthetic. They are powerful addictive drugs that cause physiological and psychological dependence. Withdrawal can result in loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills and sweating. Some medicines are made from opium and are valuable. Both cause drowsiness and can result in physiological dependence. Drugs from opium can cause stupor or sleep and can result in coma or death. Heroin is a narcotic made from morphine and has no medical use. It is a strong central nervous system depressant. Hallucinogens or psychedelics alter mood, thought and the five senses. They became popular in the 1960’s. There are synthetic and naturally occurring substances. They have no medical use and are unpredictable in their effects on the individual. Users often mix these drugs with other drugs causing serious medical problems. PCP, phencyclidine or angel dust and LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide are hallucinogens.
Marijuana is the common name for the Cannabis plant. The effective psychoactive chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Marijuana acts like hallucinogens, but it also has the same effects as stimulants and depressants. It lowers body temperature, but increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and it has a stimulating effect on the appetite. Marijuana is often psychologically dependent. Regular users experience personality and behavioral changes, lack of energy, paranoia, and loss of willpower and motivation. Hashish or hash is the dark brown resin collected from the top of the plant and is stronger because it has more THC.
Inhalants are substances that give off fumes that are sniffed and inhaled to give a hallucinogenic effect. Most are products that were never made for this purpose like gas, glue, and aerosols, plus many are labeled poisonous. Most inhalants depress the CNS and cause effects similar to alcohol. Immediate effects include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordination and loss of appetite. Regular use results in trouble with balance, speaking, judgment, the liver and kidneys, changes in bone marrow, and permanent brain damage. High concentrations can cause suffocation and death.
Ethyl alcohol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is a CNS depressant, it slows body functions, such as heart rate and respiration. In small amounts, alcohol causes feelings of well being and relaxation. Long-term use destroys the liver and leads to major brain damage. When alcohol is combined with other drugs, the results are unpredictable because of differing chemical reactions that occur in the body.
Nicotine is the main ingredient in tobacco, it is an addictive and poisonous stimulant. Nicotine moves quickly from the lungs to the blood and throughout the body. The flavor is due to the tar. Tar consists of hundreds of carcinogens or cancer causing substances. Tar penetrates the smoker’s airways and lungs. Combined with the drying effect of cigarette smoke, tar paralyzes and destroys cilia and reduces the body’s capacity to keep the lungs clear. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas in cigarette smoke that passes through the lungs into the blood. This gas combines with hemoglobin in red blood cells to prevent hemoglobin from being able to bind with oxygen and carry it to cells throughout the body. Smoking is related to many diseases. Lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema are directly linked to cigarette smoking. Bladder cancer, mouth cancer, ulcers, all forms of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease are more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
Smokeless tobacco includes snuff and chewing tobacco. Both are made from tobacco leaves. Snuff is placed between the gums and the cheek or lip. The nicotine in smokeless tobacco is addictive. Smokeless tobacco causes the production of more saliva and users swallow some without knowing it; this then introduces tar and other chemicals into the digestive and urinary systems. Cancer of the pharynx and esophagus may result. Irritation causes leukoplakia, thickened, white, leathery spots on the inside of the mouth. This can result in cancer of the lip or mouth. Users also get tooth decay, inflammation of the gums, loss of teeth, bad breath, discolored teeth and decreased ability and taste, especially salty and sweet foods. (Lawrence, F. 1996)
Drug abuse is a serious issue. Not many people are aware of how serious it is. Drug abuse is so serious because it has physical and psychological affects that are fatal. Because of the fatal results drugs can have on the body people need to educate themselves and never use drugs.
(note all information is true and facts but i lost te bibliography so the siteing are made up)