Drug addiction is a pathological condition which arises due to frequent drug use. The disorder of addiction involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug-seeking behavior, the vulnerability to relapse, and the decreased, slowed ability to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) has categorized three stages of addiction: preoccupation/anticipation, binge/intoxication, and withdrawal/negative affect. These stages are characterized, respectively, everywhere by constant cravings and preoccupation with obtaining the substance; using more of the substance than necessary to experience the intoxicating effects; and experiencing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and decreased motivation for normal life activities. By the American Society of Addiction Medicine definition, drug addiction differs from drug dependence and drug.
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Many people start using drugs when they are young and uninformed about the consequences of drug abuse. Every effort should be made to educate those who are vulnerable to drug use so they will not engage in the use of drugs that could have lifelong damaging effects on their health.
Effects on the Drug Abuser
Drugs that are smoked, such as nicotine, can lead to respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer. Alcohol consumption can impair memory and damage the liver. Drugs that are inhaled can cause heart damage and kidney, brain and lung damage. Cocaine is another drug that can damage the heart, and it can also affect the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Illegal drugs that can damage the brain include amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD and heroin.
Effects on Others
Pregnant women who take drugs can give birth to children who could have attention problems, impaired judgment and/or behavioral problems that, although not yet confirmed, could extend into their adolescent years. People who smoke cigarettes put those who do not smoke at risk of getting lung cancer or heart disease. Those who inject drugs such as heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine may infect others with HIV, AIDS, hepatitis and other STDs when they engage in unprotected sex or sharing needles.
Consistent use of inhalants can cause liver failure and impairment of peripheral nerve function. Brain damage caused by inhaling drugs can leave you so badly impaired that you could wind up living the rest of your life with learning and communication problems. Inhaling strong chemicals can cause death when the drug abuser regurgitates and chokes on his own vomit.
Find out all there is to know about the harmful effects of drug abuse and do not allow yourself to be tempted to take drugs. If you are already addicted to drugs, seek help right away. Contact a drug treatment center and talk to someone who can help you. Help someone you know who is addicted to drugs by persuading him to talk to a loved one or a guidance counselor at his school about his problem. Refer your friend to a drug treatment center.