Things to know about substance related disorder

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance related disorder also known as drug abuse is a condition that affects a human brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication.

Causes of Substance Abuse

Drug addiction starts with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people its use becomes more frequent. The risk of addiction and how fast you become addicted varies for different drugs.

With passing time you may require larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may require the drug for leisure. As your drug intake increases, you may find it difficult to go without the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings and physical illness.

Several factors contribute to development of drug addiction. Some of them are:

  • Environment: Environmental factors, including your family's beliefs and attitudes and exposure to a circle that encourages drug use, play a key role in drug addiction.
  • Genetic: Once you've started consuming drugs, the development into addiction is influenced by inherited traits, which may slow or speed up the disease progression.

Risk factors

Anyone can get addicted to drugs. Various factors are responsible for developing an addiction:

  • Family history of addiction: Drug addiction is common in some families due to genetic predisposition. If someone in the family has alcohol or drug addiction, there is greater risk of developing a drug addiction.
  • Mental health disorder: If you are going through depression, ADHD or post-traumatic stress disorder, you're prone to become addicted to drugs. For those addicted, using drugs has become a way of coping with painful feelings, such as anxiety, depression and loneliness, and can make these problems even worse.
  • Peer pressure: Peer pressure is a deciding factor in starting to use and misuse drugs, particularly for young people as they get influenced easily.
  • Lack of family involvement: Not having a strong bond with your parents or siblings may increase the risk of addiction, also in absence of parental supervision.
  • Taking a highly addictive drug: Some stimulants such as cocaine or opioid painkillers, leads to quicker development of addiction than other drugs. Smoking or injecting drugs can increase the chances for addiction. Using drugs considered less addicting — so-called "light drugs" — can lead you on a destructive path of drug use and addiction.


Drug addiction symptoms are :

  • Relying on drugs regularly — daily or even several times a day
  • Having strong urge for the drug that block out any other thoughts
  • With passing time increasing consumption of the drug to get the same effect
  • Compulsively taking larger amounts, skipping food
  • Spending resources on the drug, even when you can't afford it
  • Concentration problems or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
  • Continuously using the drug, though you know it's the root cause of problems in your life causing physical or psychological harm
  • Acting on impulse to get the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing
  • Driving or doing activities when you're under the influence of the drug putting others at risk
  • Wasting time getting the drug, using the drug or recovering from the effects of the drug

Recognizing signs of drug use or intoxication

Signs of drug intoxication may vary, depending on the type of drug. Few of these include:

  • A sense of euphoria or feeling "high"
  • A unusual heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased coordination
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Anxiety or paranoid thinking
  • Cannabis odor on clothes or yellow fingertips
  • Excessive cravings for certain foods at unusual times

Long-term (chronic) use is often associated with:

  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Poor performance at school or at work
  • Reduced number of friends and interests


The most effective way to prevent an addiction to a drug is not to take the drug at all. If your psychiatrist prescribes a drug with the potential for addiction, use care when taking the drug and follow the instructions provided by them.

Preventing drug misuse in children and teenagers

  • Communicate: Discuss with your children the ill effects of drugs.
  • Be supportive: Listen when your children talk regarding peer pressure and things that bother them.
  • Set a good example: Don't misuse alcohol or addictive drugs. Children of parents addicted to drugs are at greater risk of drug addiction.
  • Strengthen the bond: Work on your relationship with your children. A strong bond between you and your child coupled with clear communication will reduce the chances of your child misusing drugs.

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