Substance Abuse Is A Very Serious Issue
Substance abuse or the overindulgence and misuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol have been a problem in our society for years and seems to be on the rise. Substance abuse is a very serious issue and we will explore it here.
If one has a substance abuse issue they will exhibit the continued prolonged use of a substance such as alcohol or drugs (prescription or illicit) no matter the physical or psychological consequences and this will become a destructive pattern. Substance abuse usually begins with someone using alcohol or drugs on a social basis or to 'self medicate'. Self medication is usually a symptom of an untreated psychological or medical problem (depression or even back pain) and ones tries to ease their pain with the misuse of a substance. Cigarette smoking can also be categorized as substance abuse. This whole cycle can lead to addiction and when addiction occurs there are grave consequences for both the user and society.
Substance abuse can also be referred to as chemical dependency. If substance abuse is occurring, the body becomes used to the chemicals that are being put into it. For example, if narcotics are being abused, the body will produce less endorphins because the body thinks it is producing too many due to the effects of the drug. The body will then create a chemical dependency to the drug in order to keep the endorphins at a constant level. If the substance is not introduced one may feel pain or depression and re-introduce the substance to once again raise the endorphin levels and treat their symptoms. This is how the vicious cycle of substance abuse and chemical dependency begins.
Society sees the effects of substance abuse in everyday life. For example everything from, the co-worker who misses work regularly due to a hangover or to the emergency room at the hospital being over crowded due to overdose cases or accident victims that came across someone that was impaired. Jails are full of those who have or have had a substance abuse problem, as when the body craves the substance the person will do almost anything to get it no matter what the consequences are. Families are being torn apart by substance abuse. Whether it is the person who is being hurt by someone who becomes violent while abusing substances, to the people that loose a loved one to overdose, or to the people who loose a loved one to lung cancer, substance abuse can affect all of us.
Although substance abuse can happen for many different reasons and to many different people, the key to keep it from progressing into a full blown addiction is early intervention. Some may have a physical problem they need to address such as chronic pain or a psychological issue such as depression. Whatever the case may be, getting treatment early on is the most effective way to try and halt the vicious cycle of substance abuse.