Drugs and alcohol surround us in every day society. It’s easy to become hooked on them, this article explains some things you’d need to know about substance abuse of this kind.
Why do people use drugs or alcohol?
- Pleasurable effects
- Loss of inhibitions
- Pain relief
- To relieve various emotional problems (e.g. anger, stress, anxiety, boredom, or depression)
- To boost confidence
- As a way of rebelling or to express alienation from mainstream society
- To help cope with traumatic life experiences
- Social pressures
- Following a parent's example
- For a sense of belonging or social acceptance and to avoid rejection
- It’s glamorised by the media
Use of drink and drugs can be classified as
Abstinent - No use is made.
Controlled - People have made a conscious decision, have evaluated the risks and can stop if they want.
Impulsive - Use is unpredictable and can lead to unexpected accidents and harm. However there is not continual use or dependency.
Habitual - The use of alcohol or drugs have become a significant and important part of the person's life-style. Stopping would not be easy.
Dependent - There is a high degree of physical and psychological addiction. Alcohol and drug use disrupts or rules the person's life. Stopping is not possible without considerable support.
Abstinence and controlled use is the least worrying category and dependency the most problematic. However many people making impulsive or habitual use of drink and drugs are not totally happy with their situation.
Are you using drink or drugs to escape from a problem which you might be able to solve if you faced it? If so you may be perpetuating your shyness, anxiety, depression, unhappiness etc. rather than dealing with it for once and all.
Drink and drugs don't permanently change our world. They allow us to feel a temporary confidence or happiness, but the effect is usually one of borrowed time. Often the unhappiness or anxiety returns even more strongly once the effects wear off.
Drink and drugs can cause psychological problems by themselves. Alcohol can commonly cause depression; drugs can also cause depression, or can trigger anxiety or even psychosis (loss of reality).
Most drugs can reduce physical coordination, distortion of the senses, impair memory, attention judgement. These effects can lead to serious safety risks especially if the person uses drugs while operating a vehicle or operating machinery. Impaired judgment can lead to falls and other serious accidents.
Use of drugs is sometimes associated with violence and crime. Date rape is one example where the effects of drugs and alcohol can incapacitate the victim and make the person unable to resist the sexual assault.
A drug-related conviction can have serious consequences for the individual. A conviction may result in a fine or prison sentence as well as a criminal record. Having a criminal record may restrict employment opportunities and travel outside the country. A subsequent conviction may result in a harsher sentence.