What is a Substance?

Any item or element which is psycho-active and which has the capability to change or alter the consciousness, mood and thought processes of an individual is known as a substance.

Substance-Use Disorders

Substance use disorders can be referred to as a medical condition in which the usage of one or more than one psychoactive substance results in a clinically significant impairment or distress. Substance use disorders include a variety of mental, physical and behavioral symptoms which causes serious problems like loss of control, disturbed interpersonal relationships, hazardous use withdrawal symptoms and tolerance. There are two sub-groups under the concept of Substance-Use Disorders. These include Substance Dependance and Substance Abuse.

Substance Abuse Disorders

  1. Psychological disorders related to maladaptive behaviors which are a result of regular and consistent use of the substance involved are known as Substance-Abuse Disorders.
  2. In Substance-Abuse, there are recurrent and significant adverse and unpleasant consequences which are related to the usage of psychoactive substances.
  3. Regular intake of drugs leads to damage of family and social relationships, poor work performance and creation of physical hazards.

Substance Dependance Disorders

  1. In Substance Dependance , there is intense craving for the substance to which the individual is addicted. The individual exhibits tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and compulsive drug intake.
  2. Tolerance refers to the state when the individual who is addicted to the psychoactive substance has to use more and more of the substance to get the same exact effect.
  3. Withdrawal symptoms refer to the physical symptoms which show up when an individual stops or cuts down on the usage of the psychoactive substance.

Alcohol Abuse and Dependance

  1. People who are addicted to alcohol, drink large quantities of the substance and frequently rely on it to help them face and overcome difficult situations in life.
  2. Ultimately, the alcohol abuse starts interfering with their social behaviour, their capability to think and work and it leads to poor work performance.
  3. In many cases, the pattern of alcohol abuse extends to dependence. The people’s bodies build up a tolerance towards alcohol. They need to consume greater amounts of the substance in order to feel the same exact effects.
  4. Gradually, the withdrawal symptoms start showing up when the individual starts cutting down on the quantity or stops consuming alcohol.
  5. Alcoholism is the reason for the destruction of millions of families, social relationships, careers and is the cause of many road accidents. Alcoholism has severe effects on the children of the individuals who are addicted to the substance. These children suffer from various psychological problems like anxiety, depression, phobias etc.

Heroin Abuse and Dependance

  1. When an individual ingests heroin, the substance starts interfering with social and occupational functioning in a significant manner.
  2. Majority of the abusers slowly start developing a dependence on heroin and their lives simply revolves around the substance. Their bodies build up a tolerance for it and withdrawal symptoms are also exhibited when they try to cut down on its usage or stop taking it.
  3. The biggest danger is an overdose of heroin. It leads to slowing down of the respiratory centre in the brain which almost paralyses the breathing of the individual and in many instances causes death.

Cocaine Abuse and Dependance

  1. When an individual frequently ingests cocaine, it leads to the pattern of abuse in which the individual is intoxicated throughout the entire day. Poor work performance and disturbances in social relationships are other consequences of cocaine abuse.
  2. Cocaine abuse also causes major problems in short-term memory and attention.
  3. Eventually, in many cases dependence develops. Cocaine dominates over the individual’s life. Tolerance is built up which means that more and more quantity of the drug is required to get the same exact effect.
  4. Withdrawal symptoms are exhibited when the person stops taking the drug. It therefore, results in feelings of depression, fatigue, insomnia, irritability and anxiety.
  5. Cocaine seriously damages the psychological and physical functioning of the individual and poses dangers to the health and well-being of the person.

Substance use disorders are one of the most severe problems which is being faced by the society. The number of deaths caused by frequent use of drug use has increased over the years. It destroys families and lives. The best way to prevent these disorders is to consult a trained medical professional to evaluate and treat the disorder and save the individual.