When we speak about drug addiction we generally mean heroin or cocaine. However there are many other drugs that are also associated with the habit of addiction such as alcohol. In many cases when a person becomes addicted to a drug or alcohol he develops a tolerance to it meaning that in order to achieve the same effect from using that drug or alcohol the individual would have to increase his intake of that drug or alcohol. Eventually this can lead to severe medical conditions that are sometimes fatal. A patient in an alcohol addiction treatment program for example would have to regularly consume more alcohol in order to achieve the same effect. In fact this is where the term “substance abuse” comes into the picture. Substance abuse refers to an individual’s dependence on an agent rather than merely a substance.
Substance abuse is defined as an adaptation to repeated drug use which develops into a dependency upon the substance. Alcoholism on the other hand has been defined as the inability to control use of a substance (alcohol or drugs) that interferes with personal professional or family responsibilities. Substance abuse and alcohol dependence are usually closely related and have many common characteristics. Substance abuse often involves having poor health because of alcohol consumption. This often results to depression anxiety and sleeplessness. Most substance abusers also display an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases because of frequent sexual contact with multiple partners. The drug abuser also has an increased likelihood of being arrested for crimes such as theft and fraud.
Substance abuse often begins as a normal perhaps even necessary part of growing up. However as the individual continues to use and abuse drugs he becomes isolated and begins to withdraw from society and his family. He may also develop symptoms such as irritability anger paranoia impulsivity and depression. Although drug abusers may often feel ashamed or embarrassed about their substance abuse they are more likely to be depressed anxious and angry. The physical manifestations of drug addiction may include the following: