Drug Abuse and Addition

The world today has become surrounded by drug abuse as well as drug addiction. This escalating disorder has become so common, that its truth is based on misconceptions that people have concerning drug abuse as well as addiction. This paper briefly provides an overview of drug abuse as well as addiction, and at the same time looks at the aspects of epidemiology, social problems, pathophysiology, as well as ethical issues that might arise with medical emergency responders.

Drug abuse and drug addiction; exactly what does that mean and who is affected by it? There is a confusion between drug addiction and abuse. Drug abuse happens when there is usage of a substance, generally illicit drugs or alcohol, while drug addiction takes place in a broad variety of substances and activities. Addiction can be termed as the compulsive need for usage of substance forming habits, such as alcohol, nicotine and heroin, of which is eventually characterized by obviously physiological signs upon withdrawal as well as tolerance; widely: insistent compulsive use of known substances that are harmful to the user. Drug addiction is usually not a substance forming habit, it also includes things such as gambling, sex, video gaming, and even internet. All the same, the primary focus of society is still to do with drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Several characteristics of pathophysiology and epidemiology will be discussed together with the social implications that addiction causes as well as any ethical problems that lie with addiction and medical emergency service providers.

The addictive behavioral study is relatively new. Science just started to study behavioral addictiveness in the 1930. Prior to this, studies were being carried out by scientist on drug abuse that were plagued by misconception shadows as well as nature addiction. But with present day discoveries as well as information on how brain chemicals work and the methods of alteration, there is now a deeper understanding of alcohol and drug addiction. Drug addiction, according to Dr. Dryden-Edwards also referred to as chemical dependency or substance dependence, is an illness that is described by a destructive drug abuse pattern that leads to major problems which involve tolerance towards or substance withdrawal and other problems arising from substance use that could have implications to the sufferer, either by school performance, socially or in terms of work. More than 2.5% of humanity suffer from drug addiction at some point in their lives. Some of the commonly abused addictive substances are alcohol, anabolic steroids, amphetamines, cannabis, caffeine, ecstasy, cocaine, inhalants, hallucinogens, nicotine, phencyclidine, opiates, sedatives, anti-anxiety drugs, and or hypnotic. Despite the fact that alcohol and drug addiction is viewed as a mental health issue, there is no one particular determinant cause. However, several people believe that drug addiction and abuse is a genetic disease of which is a false fact. A person’s environment is cause for the development of a predisposition dependency drug.

Epidemiology

The socially associated risk factors of drug addiction and drug abuse encompass the male gender, between the age ranges of 18 and 44 years, heritage of Native American persons, low socioeconomic status as well as the marital status of the unmarried. State statistics reveal that residents from the western U.S are more at risk to substance dependency as well as abuse. While males are very prone to alcoholism development, females seem more vulnerable to alcoholism at fairly lower amounts of alcohol consumption, this is because females have a much lower body mass as compared to males. The combined medical, criminal, economical, as well as the social implications costs American taxpayer more than half a trillion dollars annually. Each year drug and alcohol abuses contributes to 100,000 American deaths, with tobacco contributes approximately 440,000 deaths annually. Individuals of all ages suffer the damaging consequences of drug as well as alcohol addiction and abuse. Babies can get affected while within the mother’s womb if the mother is to engage in drug or alcohol use, which as a result causes defects in birth as well as slows down the intellectual development in the later years of the child. As for Adolescents, they usually perform poorly in school and usually drop out while they are abusing drugs. Adolescent girls stand the risk of having unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and violence. In addition, parents and adults are also affected, usually by having their cognitive abilities clouded. With all the vast exposure, the stage has easily been set for the next generation to simply step into the addictive lifestyle.

Pathophysiology

Drug addiction primarily affects the brain, but also affects the flow of a person’s organ systems. Drugs as well as mind changing substances which can be abused usually target the body’s natural system of reward either willingly or unwillingly causing entire euphoric effects for the drug user. These effects arise from the dopamine, which is a regulated neurotransmitter movement, emotion, cognition, motivation and pleasure feelings. The release of Dopamine is naturally rewarded to the body for natural behaviors as well as initiations for the cycle to repeat the behavior all over. The dopamine neurotransmitter fills the reward system that is often concealed in restricted amounts from routine activities such as sex or eating. The brain perceives this as a life-sustaining action as a result of the activated reward system. On introducing the chemical substance within a person’s system and the euphoric effects are realized, a person’s brain takes note of several significant happening events and teaches itself to do this action repeatedly until it is a habit. The consumption of illicit drugs can cause an individual to impulsively act when the brain’s reasoning system would normally delay or prevent a form of given action.

This reasoning system is circumvented, hence leading to the undesired action that can possibly have negative consequences on the drug user’s life. However, several drug effects as well as chemical substances are at times euphoric, and other times the substance causes depression, suicidal thoughts, and paranoia. Continuation of the drug causes the brain to become acclimatized to the surplus of dopamine within the reward system. This then leads to the decrease of dopamine release as well as the dopamine receptors numbers within the system itself. In turn, this affects the user’s ability to attain the desired effects of the drug usage. This response from the person’s brain causes the person to try and reactivate the receptors by adding the dosage or amount of the drug in order to attain the same dopamine high. This effect process is referred to as a tolerance. Long term drug abuse causes changes to occur to other systems parts within the brain. The neurotransmitter glutamate of which is a part of the reward systems can be changed and hence cause learning inability. When the brain reaches the maximum level of glutamate, it causes an off balance and the brain tries to compensate, of which as a result affects the drug user’s cognitive ability. Once the brain accustoms to the drug effects, dependence is made and drug abuse cessation causes a result known as withdrawal. While most withdrawal signs are very uncomfortable for the drug addict, there are several serious signs such as seizures, strokes, myocardial infraction, delirium tremens, and hallucinations.

Social, Ethical issues as well as the impact on emergency medical services (EMS)

The consequences of drug abuse and addiction are very evident in an individual social life. The addictions destructive behavior affects every area of their personal life, right from the genesis of the drug abuse. The addictions symptoms from a physical perspective include alteration of sleeping patterns as well as eating habits, which in turn contribute to both weight gain as well as loss. Frequent drug abuse tends to lead to failure in meeting important responsibilities at work, school or even home. Other drug addiction effects include domestic violence, family disintegration, child abuse, employment loss, and failure in school. People with addiction engage in risk taking, and with alterations in the reward system within the brain, the drug users expect positive reactions prior to them taking the substance that would satisfy their needs for the risks they take. Impulse control is difficult when drug choice is available to people with addiction. As a result this fuels the addiction even more.

The effect of the emergency medical service is immense. The calls from addiction range from medical overdosage to trauma. The emergency medical provider’s obligation in response to overdosed patients requires paramedics to find out how much as well as what the patients took, and what is the correct medication to give in order to reverse the condition that is being experienced by the patient or drug user. With the various emergency responses comes danger, with the possibility of violent outbreaks by the addicts or users. Therefore, paramedics must be aware of their surroundings while handling the patients. In addition, patients who experience withdrawals tend to hallucinate a complete event as well as incorporate the paramedics, thus causing the patient to react violently towards the care provider. Drug addiction is a very serious condition that can be considered as a psychiatric problem, of which needs to be treated with a sure diligence as well as suspicion.

Within the realm of the emergency medical service, the response rate of addiction is not considered an emergency condition. The incident will arise if an addict is experiencing withdrawal violent signs or has substance overdose, and the patient would appear in a state of agitation or even unconsciousness. There is no prearranged method in handling a patient that is experiencing problems related to addiction. The key element is in treating the symptoms of the patient. All patients require supplementary oxygen through non rebreathe if tolerance is acceptable. To assist in flushing out a normal saline of infusion, obtaining of intravenous access is a must. Should a patient or addict be in a state of agitation or seizure, administration of a sedative is required, such as versed or valium. Caution must be taken when administrating benzodiazepines because of the risks regarding failure or respiratory depression is present. Should a patient experiencing an opiate overdose as well as low breathing, Narcan 0.4 – 2 milligrams must be administered, but caution must be observed when administering the drug of which is done slowly in order for the patient to breathe sufficiently so as to sustain life. Should breathing and airway problems continue then intubation must be considered in order to secure the airway of the patient. Quick transport with due concern is suggested in order for the patient to be evaluated so as to have the hospital staff commence detoxification.

Conclusion

The drug abuse and addiction world is unforgiving and harsh, especially if an addict or user is unwilling to leave it behind. A number of people claim that the addiction is all within the head, and research has verified this notion. The brain effects from a formed learned pattern is similarly rewarded to such activities like drinking or eating.

A lot of people do not comprehend as to how and why other people become drug addicts. It is wrongfully presumed that drug users have no willpower or moral principles and cannot stop using drugs simply by choosing to alter their behavior. The reality is, drug addiction and abuse is a complex illness, and quitting it requires lots of good intentions. In actual fact, because drugs alter the brain in ways that raise drug abuse compulsiveness, quitting becomes hard, even for the willing addicts.

A lot of drug users also believe that they can control their drug abuse and addiction. Having a drug habit is a costly affair that leads to loss of belongings, money and even self-esteem. Curiosity is what drives some people abuse drugs, while others it is peer pressure, and another group of people become addicts of prescription drugs. While drug abuse normally leads to drug addiction, overcoming drug addiction is no easy task. So the question begs, is this drug abuse or is this drug addiction? These are two completely separate paths that lead to the same depressing outcome. In addition, the consequences of drug abuse as well as drug addiction become noticeable after a given period of time whereby compulsiveness and violence take over, furthermore, the physical toll which includes illness and depression at times could be debilitating. Therefore, the only method to reducing drug abuse as well as addiction is through educating or sensitizing the public. Avoidance is viewed as the best prevention.

Explosive Information About ADHD Drug Abuse: Is Medicating ADHD Putting Your Child In Harm’s Way?

Very often, medicating ADHD symptoms is the right way to go. Many children and parents have experienced help and support through medicating ADHD when prescribed under the guidance and expertise of a trained physician. Medicating ADHD with stimulant medications is especially effective when combined with other treatments, such as behavior modification techniques, parenting skills training, and psychotherapy. But there is a nagging concern I have in considering medicating ADHD with stimulant medication – the rapidly rising trend of ADHD drug abuse.

Ritalin and Adderall are the two most commonly prescribed ADHD medications. They are powerful amphetamines and the chemical effect they have on the body is very similar to the illicit drugs speed and cocaine. Like speed and cocaine, these drugs can be addictive, habit forming. The individual taking the drug can also develop a tolerance, meaning more and more of the drug is needed for the same desired effect.

The danger here is that as your child begins taking the Ritalin or Adderall, there tends to be improvement for a awhile until a tolerance is developed. Your doctor will need to increase the dose to continue receiving the benefits. This leads to the risk of some fairly serious side-effects, including nervousness, twitching, loss of appetite, dizziness, hallucinations, delirium, tremors, a serious mental disorder known as amphetamine psychosis, and even death.

Under the guidance of a trained professional, these side-effects can be managed. But how sure are you that your child may not be taking more of the medication than you? A recent ADHD drug abuse survey of schools found that many schools store these stimulant medications in unlocked containers. That’s worrisome when 16 percent of the children taking Ritalin or Adderall within school said they had been asked to sell, give, or trade their medication to others. And if that is not concerning enough, according to recent ADHD , 30-50 percent of adolescents in drug rehab facilities have reported they used prescribed stimulant medications for “non-medical” or recreational use.

This is what has led me to begin searching for natural methods for medicating ADHD as opposed to dangerous, habit-forming stimulant medications that are classed along with cocaine and speed! As a professional Social Worker, I cannot in good conscience see a child be prescribed these powerful stimulants without exhausting all alternatives, including medicating ADHD with natural herbs or homeopathic solutions.

With natural herbal remedies, there is no chance of ADHD drug abuse, as they are completely non-habit forming and non-addictive. Homeopathic remedies for medicating ADHD work holistically with the body to calm and soothe the Central Nervous System, nourishing the vital nerve pathways with important minerals and amino acids. As a professional Social Worker specializing in children’s issues, I have seen great improvements using herbal and homeopathic ADHD remedies in reducing ADHD symptoms. The best part of all is they are completely non-addictive and safe to use. Native Remedies is one company I recommend as they have created a special homeopathic formula specifically for treating ADHD. If you worry about the addicitive quality of stimulant medications, check them out. I know you will be glad you did.

Alarming

As we are all aware, doping activity has really picked up pace since it has gotten the media and celebrities involved. This has become a major reason to worry for almost every parent. Among the most vulnerable class are teenagers, who are trying to fit in and be cool.. They are following in the footsteps of all these pop stars who have used drugs. Second on the list are people who are unemployed or are emotionally disturbed, they tend to drift towards these activities. Despite strict laws there has been no stopping for a lot of people.

The facts and figures speak for themselves. Among the age group of 12-17 the most popular drug is marijuana because it is cheap, available, and gives a good kick. Next in the list is cocaine, it is a popular party drug. Pain relievers are the next most popular after cocaine, it acts as a stress buster for many people. A lot of drugs are comparatively less consumed because of financial issues. Another interesting figure was that among adults aged 18 or older who first tried marijuana at age 14 or younger, 12.9 percent were classified with illicit drug dependence or abuse, higher than the 2.2 percent of adults, who had first used marijuana at age 18 or older.

Among adults, the age they first used alcohol was associated with their dependence on or abuse of alcohol. For example, among adults age 18 or older who first tried alcohol at age 14 or younger, 17.5 percent were classified with alcohol dependence or abuse, compared with only 3.7 percent of adults who had first used alcohol at age 18 or older. Adults age 21 or older who had first used alcohol before age 21 were more likely than adults who had their first drink at age 21 or older to be classified with alcohol dependence or abuse.

The rate of illicit drug dependence or abuse among males age 12 or older was similar, 3.7 percent. The rate for females involved in these activities is 2.1%. Adults age 18 or older who were on parole or a supervised release from prison during the past year had higher rates of dependence on or abuse of a substance (36.9 percent) than their counterparts who were not on parole or supervised release during the past year (9.1 percent). Probation status was associated with substance dependence or abuse. The rate of substance dependence or abuse was 39.7 percent among adults who were on probation, which was significantly higher than the rate among adults who were not on probation (8.7 percent).

The figures are also not too convincing for adults, 11.3 % people above the age 18 or older were found involved in these acts, 18.6% people from the age group of 20-25, 12.5% were from 26-49, 7.1% from 50- older. The prime reason among adults drifting toward drugs was too much stress and emotion disturbance. Another interesting figure was that 27.7 % of the people involved in illicit drug habits,29.7% were found out to be chain smokers and 38.6% were found out to be involved in severe drinking habits.

It’s really depressing to see such figures. I hope people realize these things and at least make an effort to save their health and make a better tomorrow for themselves. If such acts continue at the same pace as they are, I wonder what will be of the generations to come.