Understanding the substance abuse definition, health risks and statistics will help you to know how to identify substance abuse and keep yourself from falling into the trap of becoming addicted. The following will provide you with an in-depth substance abuse definition, as well as the health risks and relevant statistics that are associated with substance abuse.
Substance Abuse Definition
The most basic substance abuse definition is the dependence on certain addictive substances by a user. This abuse takes the form of a usage pattern that has turned from typical and standard into one that’s harmful to the body. There can be a wide variety of causes for substance abuse, though it’s typically derived from individuals seeking a certain drug as a means to ease pain or drown sorrow, and eventually finding that the only time they escape those negative feelings is by taking the drug. Any substance that can be bought illegally or must be prescribed has the chance of being abused. Even some completely legal substances, particularly alcohol, can be abused. Some of the most commonly abused substances include alcohol, cocaine, opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. If you’re taking a prescription medication, one of the best ways to keep yourself from easily slipping into substance abuse is by taking only what’s prescribed by your doctor.
Health Risks of Substance Abuse
When it comes to substance abuse, there are plenty of varying health risks to which you might be susceptible if you become addicted to any type of substance. While these health risks vary wildly depending on the type of drug being abused, there are some general health risks that can be found with practically all substances, though these will be divided into alcohol abuse and drug abuse risks. Some of the more common health risks associated with alcohol abuse include withdrawal symptoms that can weaken the body when trying to quit cold turkey, severe anxiety and even hallucinations. If you don’t have proper nutrition when abusing alcohol, it can cause severe health problems with the liver and brain.
Drug abuse has many different health risks, though most revolve around the heart. Drugs tend to stimulate heart rate and blood pressure, which can possibly cause heart attacks. Respiratory failure is another condition that may occur. Substance abuse can also cause mental health issues, such as psychosis and paranoia. Certain drugs will cause nausea and vomiting, while severe health risks could take the form of a coma or even death.
Substance Abuse Statistics
One of the most startling substance abuse statistics was reported in 2005. Around 22 million Americans were suffering from some form of substance abuse, while a shocking 95 percent of these people didn’t realize they were addicted to that substance. It should also be noted that among high school students in 12th grade, Adderall is reportedly abused by 7.4 percent of students.
If you or someone you know is going through any type of substance abuse, or if you require further information on the substance abuse definition, it’s important that you contact the substance abuse hotline at 800-447-9081 right away.