What is drug abuse?
At the center of many social and mental health disorders, we often find coping mechanisms that involve the use of drugs. Disorders that involve drug use are medically described as abuse and dependence.
Addiction and substance abuse are defined as a pattern of distress or problematic situations created by consistently using drugs or alcohol. Addiction and abuse may affect work, daily functions, or relationships. Substance abuse is a medical brain disorder associated with both illegal vs. legal substances. Commonly abused illegal substances include cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Legal substances include prescription drugs, alcohol, and nicotine.
What is drug dependence?
Dependence on a substance is a condition that occurs after significant problems related to abuse have developed. With this medical condition, a person must constantly increase the amount of a drug or substance to get the desired effect. If someone with a drug dependence tries to decrease use, withdrawal symptoms often occur. When there is a dependence on a substance, there is continued use despite significant social, physical, or psychological problems.
How are dependencies classified?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth and Fifth Edition — DSM-IV and DSM-V — provide criteria for classifying and diagnosing disorders. DSM-IV and V define substance abuse disorders as conditions related to drug /substance use. The dependence classification has two main categories — physical and psychological dependency.
Physical dependency means the body has developed a physical reliance on a substance because it alters the body's natural state. Alcohol and nicotine commonly cause physical dependence. Bentyl addiction is also a cause of physical dependency — the body is dependent on the drug to fight symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Psychological dependency affects mental and emotional well-being. Cocaine often causes the euphoria associated with psychological dependence.
What are the 6 different types of drug dependence?
Within the above categories are six types of drug dependency: alcohol dependence, opioid dependence, hypnotics/sedative dependence, cannabis dependence, hallucinogen dependence, and cocaine abuse. Some authorities may recognize seven categories of drug dependence.
Alcohol dependence: Alcohol is a very commonly abused substance worldwide. It affects several of the basic functions of the body. Alcohol can create euphoric symptoms. It can also lower inhibitions. Dependence can occur due to the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism and can magnify feelings of sadness and anger. Alcohol dependence affects perception, judgment, and response reactions. Liquor, wine, and beer are types of abused alcoholic substances.
Opioid dependence: Heroin and oxycodone are commonly abused opiates or opioids. Opioids are created from opium or a synthetic version of the drug. Opioids interact with brain neurotransmitters and block signals that are being sent. This is why opioids are such strong painkillers. They create feelings of euphoria that make them highly addictive. Opioid dependence can be lethal.
Hypnotics/sedative dependence: This category includes both barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Barbiturates slow down the function of the central nervous system. Historically, barbiturates were used for sleep disorders and psychiatric conditions; they are still used today for anesthesia and to treat several conditions. Examples include Amytal, pentobarbital, and Luminal. Benzodiazepines — or benzos — interact with the brain neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A). Though these drugs interact with the brain differently than barbiturates, they too are prescribed for numerous sleep and psychiatric conditions. Benzos include Xanex, Ativan, and Valium. Both barbiturates and benzodiazepines are highly addictive, and dependence can lead to a high risk of overdose.
Cannabis dependence: Cannabinoids are drugs with a similar chemical compound to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. These compounds can cause euphoria while negatively affecting physical and mental functioning. Cannabinoids are the second most commonly abused substances worldwide. Cannabis and hashish are cannabinoids and have a lower risk of causing dependence compared to other drugs.
Hallucinogen dependence: LSD and mushrooms are hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are a type of drug that changes perceptions and the thinking process of those who take them. This leads to distortion of reality. Hallucinogens affect perceptions differently than other drugs. These types of drugs sometimes raise awareness and may allow users to experience new types of consciousness. This includes seeing things that aren’t there, perceived time alteration, or a sense of being outside your body. Though hallucinogens have a low risk of addiction or overdose, the mental effects can be long-lasting or permanent if used in a large quantity.
Cocaine abuse: Cocaine is a stimulant drug that affects the brain directly. It can be taken orally, by inhalation, intranasally, or intravenously. Cocaine affects the brain region known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Nerves from this area connect to the brain’s pleasure centers. Continued use and abuse of cocaine can often lead to tolerance. Higher doses are needed more frequently, and dependence develops as the brain needs more to get the same euphoria as initially received. Cocaine is very addictive and can easily lead to a fatal overdose.
What causes dependence, and what can be done?
Numerous social and cultural factors can lead to dependence. Socially, public law dictates what type of drug is legal or illegal. What is considered normal and what is believed to be dependence or abuse can be affected by multiple factors. These include environmental stressors, personality, genetic makeup, social pressure, and mental illness.
There are many programs for people who suffer from abuse and dependence. This includes both inpatient and outpatient options. Determination of the best type of treatment depends on the abused substance. Long-term options, follow-ups, and detox if needed are essential aspects of successful treatment. The long-term management may include meetings, support systems, and medical follow-ups. A doctor may recommend social psychotherapy to address the initiating factor that started and continued the dependence on the abused drug. If the initiating factors are not addressed, relapse may be a strong possibility.
John Hopkins Medicine: "Substance Abuse / Chemical Dependency."
Journal of Young Pharmacists: "A rare case of dicyclomine abuse."
National Institute on Drug Abuse: "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction?"
NYCHealth.gov: "Cocaine Abuse and Addiction."
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs," "Appendix A – Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, SAMHSA, CBHSQ," "Impact of the DSM-IV to DSM-5 Changes on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health."
Top What Are the 6 Types of Drug Dependence Related Articles
Alcoholism and Alcohol AbuseAlcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Bath SaltsIngredients of the drug bath salts include mephedrone, methylone, MDPV, or MDPK. Feeling high and sexually stimulated are symptoms of bath salt abuse. The primary goals for the treatment of addiction symptoms are abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation.
buprenorphineBuprenorphine is an opioid medication used to treat moderate-to-severe pain that doesn’t respond to other pain management therapies, and to treat opioid dependence and withdrawal symptoms while weaning off opioids. Common side effects of buprenorphine include headache, pain, withdrawal syndrome, insomnia, infection, weakness (asthenia), back pain, sweating, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, chills, nasal inflammation (rhinitis), flu syndrome, runny eyes, dizziness, vertigo, and nervousness. Buprenorphine has a high potential for addiction, abuse, and misuse, and can lead to overdose and death.
Cocaine and Crack AddictionCocaine is an addictive stimulant that is smoked, snorted, and injected. Crack is cocaine that comes in a rock crystal that is heated to form vapors, which are then smoked. Cocaine has various effects on the body, including dilating pupils, constricting blood vessels, increasing body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Drug Abuse and AddictionDrug abuse and addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Prescription Drug Abuse: Addiction, Health Risks, and TreatmentsLearn how prescription drug and over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse can endanger your health. Get the latest information on depressant, pain reliever, and stimulant addiction.
Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your DrugsImportant information about your drugs should be reviewed prior to taking any prescription drug. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precauctions, dosage, what the drug is used for, what to do if you miss a dose, how the drug is to be stored, and generic vs. brand names.
Hookahs vs. Cigarette Smoking (Addiction and Health Dangers)A hookah is a water pipe that's used to smoke flavored tobacco like watermelon, licorice, coconut, chocolate, cherry, mint, apple, and cappuccino. The use of this type of tobacco smoking began in ancient India and Persia centuries ago. You can find hookah cafes all over the world, for example, the U.S., France, Russia, Britain, and the Middle East. New forms of electronic hookah are now available. Some people who smoke tobacco think that hookahs are less dangerous to their health because the smoke is filtered through water, but the smoke from hookahs contain the same cancer-causing chemicals that cigarette smoke does. Smoking tobacco via cigarettes or hookah are both dangerous to your health.
Mental Health: Celebrities Who Are Open About AddictionAddiction affects people from all walks of life. See celebrities who’ve battled drug and alcohol use disorders and shared their stories.
Marijuana Addiction and AbuseCannabis use disorder is when you're addicted to marijuana. Learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End AddictionQuitting smoking is a great way to improve your health. Learn tips and techniques to quit smoking and kick the cigarette habit for good. Learn about smoking cessation products, benefits, medications and other tools.
What Are the 4 Stages of Addiction?The four stages of drug addiction are experimentation, regular use, dependency, and finally, addiction. Learn more about what happens during each stage.