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An introduction to drug and alcohol abuse

The use and misuse of drugs and alcohol is a very controversial issue in today’s society. It is often a source of open conflict between generations and between different sectors of society. Drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise; it must be understood that these substances are very powerful with the potential for doing a lot of harm to users. These are substances that tend to tempt people to over indulge so it is very important to be aware of the risks involved so that you do not have regrets later in life.

Unfortunately, there is no commonly agreed-upon definition of what constitutes use, which is unhealthy. Many classifications that do exist often neglect the fact that drug and alcohol use is commonly accepted in many societies. What one group considers as risky behavior is seen by others as being perfectly normal and acceptable.

Drug and alcohol use can be classified thus:

  • Abstinence: No use at any time of any substance.
  • Controlled: An appreciation of the elevated risk but the individual can stop at any time, a conscious decision.
  • Impulsive: Unpredictable use that can lead to unexpected results, including accidents and personal harm, but with no dependency or demand for continued use.
  • Habitual: The use of mood-altering substances has become an important part of the person’s life-style, stopping is possible but difficult.
  • Dependent: Showing a high degree of both physical and psychological addiction, substance use disrupts the person’s life and stopping is not possible without intervention and support.

Abstinence and controlled use pose no problems, dependency, on the other hand, does. Many people that are impulsive or habitual are at risk, many not happy with the situation.

When considering drug and alcohol use, think of the following factors:

Psychological consequences:

  • If you’re using alcohol or drugs to hide from a problem, you may inadvertency be perpetuating your anxieties, depression, shyness, etc., rather than facing it and solving it once and for all.
  • Drinking and taking drugs have no permanent effect on the world. They may allow a person a feeling of happiness or confidence, but the feeling is temporary. Continued abuse often leads to problems returning with a vengeance once the initial effect wears off.
  • Drug and alcohol use can be the cause of psychological problems, not the solution. These substances often cause depression, anxiety and psychosis.

Physical consequences:

  • Lowers one’s ability to resist harming themselves when faced with problems
  • Lowers the inhibition against harming others
  • Lessens a person’s ability to say no to experiences that they would not have engaged in while sober
  • Long-term health-risks

There are also many social consequences to face; your use of mood-altering substances may lead to a reduction in your circle of friends as well as damaging personal relationships.

Drug and alcohol problems are one of the mental disorders that can be faced with help. The professionals at Mayhill Hospital are trained to help a patient through this problem and emerge at the other end a better person.

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