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Types Of Drug Abuse

Dec 15 | 2014

Different Types Of Drug Abuse

Any substance, medication, compound or drug that induces either altered states of consciousness, euphoria, or both can be abused. Most of this abuse can lead to sever withdrawal which needs a medically managed detox if the individual wants to stop. The many types of drug abused covers the entire spectrum of compounds and their corresponding effects; and is not limited to illegal drugs. Types of drug abuse can include both illegitimate substances acquired on the street, in addition to substances acquired legally through doctors (it should be pointed out that drugs can be obtained legally through a doctor in ways that are entirely unscrupulous).

Alcohol- The Most Common Type Of Drug Abuse
Alcohol generates short term euphoria and sedation. Perhaps the most widely abused substance available. Prolonged Abuse induces severe physical handicaps, liver damage, and, eventually, mental health deterioration. Alcohol can act as a hypnotic sedatives. It works by depressing the central nervous system and slowing down bodily functions such as heart-rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Alcohol generates a variety of effects that run the gamut from minor sedation to complete anesthesia. Combined with the high amount of sugar found in most beverages creates a dangerous combination of a mild stimulant and a powerful depressant. Signs of alcohol abuse include: slurred speech, impaired motor functioning, impaired judgment, staggering behaviors.

Narcotics derive from the Greek word for benumb (Narko). Medically it refers to a type of drug abuse that induced sleep or have analgesic, pain-killing properties. Today it is most commonly associated with drugs that fall into the classification of Opiates, such as Morphine, Heroin, and their analogs like Hydrocodone (Vicodin). However, since the legal definition of Narcotics differs from the medical definition, there are actually two different classifications that consequently cover a broad range of psycho-active compounds and drugs. The first type of drug abuse to truly be labeled as a Narcotic was liquor, whose recorded use goes back to ancient times. The side effects of Narcotics intoxication include: drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, sense of apathy, decreased physical activity, constriction of the pupils, flushing of the face and neck, constipation, nausea and vomiting, respiratory depression.

Amphetamines operate on the mesolimbic pathways by stimulating production of the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Nor-epinephrine. Amphetamines are one of the most widely abused drugs available today. Amphetamines generates a rush and high that is as intense as it is brief, creating a powerful reward stimulus-loop that inevitably, over time, leads to more use, with each subsequent dose reinforcing the next. Amphetamines first appeared en masse in urban neighborhoods in the early to mid-1990’s, and quickly evolved into public health crises of epidemic proportions, affecting hundreds of thousands of people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.

Prescription Types of Drug Abuse

Prescription drug addiction covers an enormous array of different medications designed to treat a variety of ailments. The vast majority of prescription types of drug abuse are relatively harmless, at least with regards to addiction, and covers the entire spectrum of both physical and mental health ailments. Prescription drugs cover all manner of mental health issues. However, with regards to Abuse Potential, the medications of interest include Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall (used for the treatment of ADHD), sedatives and tranquilizers, and Narcotic Painkillers such as Percocet, Vicodin, or Morphine.

Benzodiazepines are class of drugs known as hypnotic sedatives or minor tranquilizers. They work by depressing the central nervous system and slowing down bodily functions such as heart-rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Neurologically they act on what are called GABA receptors in the brain, which is an area of neuro-functioning associated with the pleasure center. There are a number of different Benzodiazepines available today: Xanax, Librium, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan.

Club Drugs
Club drugs refer to a variety of compounds that tends to be abused by adolescents, teen-agers, and young adults. These drugs span a fairly broad spectrum of substances that include both Stimulants and Depressants such as MDMA (ecstasy), GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid), Ketamine Hydrochloride (Special K). Over the past decade they have become popular with people who go to raves, bars, concerts, and nightclubs. Because many of the drugs (although not all) are relatively new to the market, research regarding long-term effects are incomplete. Current data and statistics, however, indicate that this class of substances is most frequently abused by those within a specific youth culture, and as such poses certain clinical considerations with regards to treatment protocols that might be different from therapeutic approaches targeting an adult population of abusers.

Cocaine & Crack
Cocaine is a highly addictive, highly powerful stimulant that is derived from the Coco plant and typically comes in a powdered form. The powder can be snorted, injected, or cooked down into a compound that can be smoked called free-base or crack. With the exception of Methamphetamine, Cocaine is presently the single most abused stimulant in the country and is frequently used with depressants. In the 1970s the drug enjoyed a renaissance in popularity and was touted by experts as being non-addictive because it doesn’t have the physical symptoms of withdrawal one sees with Heroin or liquor or sedatives. After the explosion of crack in the mid 1980’s, however, opinion changed and it is now accepted that Cocaine’s has powerfully addicting psychological properties.

Hallucinogen types of drug abuse refer to a class of substances that fall into 3 distinct categories. These include what are known as Delriants, Psychedelics, and Dissociatives. Although there is overlap between the effects and symptoms of intoxication, drugs in each category tend to generate different experiences. Historically, the use of Hallucinogens goes back thousands of years. In different cultures they have been utilized for a variety of reasons, typically for religious ceremonies (for example Native Americans have taken Mescaline for centuries to induce spiritual experiences). In general, unlike the effects produced by opiates or stimulants, which are used for purely recreational reasons, the psychedelic experience is commonly associated with altered states of being or consciousness, with trance-like states, and with dreaming and meditation.

A Look At The Types Of Drug Abuse

Generally speaking, drugs of abuse fall into one of three categories: stimulants, narcotics, and sedatives. The federal government tightly regulates the prescribing criteria for each class of medication, whether it is an analgesic pain-killer or a stimulant. Drugs are rated according to their abuse potential, which refers to the intensity of the euphoria the drug induces, its onset, as well as its potential to generate tolerance and dependence. Many individuals struggling with dual diagnosis try to self medicate with the drugs listed above. This almost never works and is a clear cry for help.


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