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Article Summary

About Drug Abuse

The problem of drug abuse is one that plagues millions of people around the world, and most Americans have tried at least one illicit drug in their lifetime. Alarmingly, 22.5 million people in the U.S. alone are either currently drug dependent or have abused drugs within the past year. Drug abuse affects individuals of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, so it can be a challenge to understand how to overcome the problem when it affects so many different types of people. A place to start is to understand everything there is to know about drug abuse and addiction, so you can help others or seek the help you need.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse is the biggest drug abuse problem in this country. Just because alcohol is legal to consume doesn't make it any less addictive. This problem too affects all age ranges, and underage youth in the U.S. actually consume 11% of all alcohol annually. Alcohol is also the most abused drug by adults aged 50 and older in the nation, so it is a broad problem. Individuals can become dependent to alcohol very easily, and can actually go through physical withdrawal even if they don't drink every day. Binge drinkers who drink heavily but only on occasion are just as likely to go through alcohol withdrawal and experience the negative side effects of a heavy night's drinking than someone who drinks heavily every day. The physical dependence that alcoholics and individuals who abuse alcohol develop to this drug can make it very hard to quit drinking, and therefore most will require some form of drug rehab. Because alcoholism is so acceptable in society today, most who need help will abuse alcohol for quite some time before they actually seek it.

Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana is another drug that is commonly abused, but use of which is typically acceptable in society today. Unfortunately, abuse of marijuana poses just as many risks and consequences as other illicit drugs and it is not a safe drug to consume despite popular belief. An estimated 17 million Americans admit to having used marijuana within the past month, and there are millions of new users each year. Marijuana is a gateway drug, despite opinions otherwise, and the drug is the most commonly abused illicit drug and the drug of choice among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in the nation. Marijuana can cause dependence and addiction and many long-term users find it extremely difficult to stop using marijuana and often suffer withdrawal symptoms if they do stop.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is a similar threat, and the abuse of these powerfully addictive drugs poses an ever growing problem. The types of prescription drugs which are most commonly abused are opiate pain killers, stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers and benzodiazepines. Because prescription drugs are not illegal and millions of individuals take these substances on a daily basis, it may seem that they are safer and less addictive than hardcore illicit drugs. This can't be further from the truth, and abuse of these drugs is not only dangerous but can cause dependence and addiction just as easy as any other illicit drug. This is why prescription drugs are so abused. There are an estimated 6 million people who are currently using prescription drugs non-medically, but prescription drug abuse is common not only in the case of illicit use but also in individuals who have been prescribed these drugs legitimately. Legitimate users can also find it very hard to stop using prescription drugs once they have started taking them. So this is a problem which covers a very broad spectrum and can happen to anyone.

Other Common Drug Abuse

Other common drugs of abuse which are considered the more hardcore street drugs also show very high rates of abuse. Millions of people use heroin, cocaine, club drugs and other illicit drugs daily. This drug culture is the cause of violence, domestic abuse, crime, and social, economic and health consequences for millions of people every day. Couple that with the problem of the pill popping culture, who doesn't hesitate for a moment to pop this or that prescription drug, and we have a real problem on our hands.

Many individuals don't get the help they need as soon as there is a problem, because it can be overwhelming and difficult to quit on one's own. This is because most drugs affect the body's reward system, and individuals will quickly become dependent to their drug of choice. When someone abuses a drug, certain chemicals that would normally let you know that you have done something rewarding flood the brain and central nervous system. Drugs of abuse will typically cause a much greater amount of these feel good chemicals to be released and cause an overwhelming sense of calm and euphoria, or the high users experience. The body itself cannot naturally cause these large amounts of chemicals to be ambient in the body all at once. So when someone who is abusing drugs suddenly quits, their body goes through physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms until it has time to readapt to normal function without the drug.

Drug Abuse Treatment

The only solution to drug abuse is effective drug treatment at a drug rehab program. Drug rehab helps individuals that have struggled with a problem of drug abuse to be able to overcome the physical and psychological barriers which are contributing to their drug abuse. The initial phase of treatment will be a drug detox program which will ensure all drugs are flushed out and any assistance through withdrawal symptoms. Treatment then focuses on eliminating destructive patterns and behavior so that individuals can regain control of their lives. There are different types of treatment settings and drug rehab programs, as well as different lengths of time that individuals will remain in any given drug rehab program.

Successful rehabilitation from drug abuse is contingent upon adequate treatment length. Whichever drug rehab program is chosen, dependent individuals and long-term addicts who are dedicated to becoming rehabilitated should consider the program which requires a stay of no less than 90 days. In-patient and residential drug rehab programs offer an environment which is most conducive to recovery for individuals who want to experience the most lasting benefits.

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