Many Americans believe that drug users belong to a segment of society different from their own, or that drug abuse is not a part of their environment. But this is not so, as 45 percent of Americans know someone with a substance abuse problem who suffer either from alcohol addiction, illicit drug addiction and/or prescription drug addiction. Among the most common abused substances are: Alcohol, Cocaine, Marijuana, Heroin, Ecstasy. Meth (Methamphetamine). LSD, PCP, Amphetamines
Alcohol, the only legal substance among the most frequently abused drugs, is consumed safely by the majority of those who drink on occasion. However, authorities estimate that alcohol abuse affects nearly 20% of all men and 10% of all women in America. Alcohol abuse is a condition in which an individual establishes a pattern of excessive drinking that adversely effects professional and personal relationships and jeopardizes an individual's health. Habitual drinkers who have alcohol dependency or alcoholism have a physical and emotional craving for alcohol, cannot quit drinking despite the many negative consequences this behavior has on their lives, cannot quit or limit their drinking, and develop a tolerance to the substance that makes it necessary for them to consume more in order to get high.
A highly addictive substance, cocaine is a powerful stimulant that is commonly consumed by snorting, injecting or smoking the powdered hydrochloride salt version of the drug. Crack is an intensely addictive derivative of cocaine that has been processed into a rock crystal which is then smoked. Ingesting cocaine creates a short-lived sense of euphoria, often accompanied by depressive feelings once the high has gone. When used repeatedly, tolerance and addiction to cocaine often develops, which makes it necessary for the user to consume more of the drug to get the desired euphoric effects.
Considered by many to be a relatively benign psychoactive drug, marijuana can actually be extremely dangerous when abused. Derived from the cannabis plant, marijuana is usually smoked like a cigarette or in a pipe. Marijuana acts upon what is known as the brain's cannabinoid receptors to trigger cellular reactions that result in a feeling of euphoria (getting high). Scientists have demonstrated that marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Repeated use can also be habitual.
An opiate that has been processed from morphine into a crystallized substance, heroin is a powerfully addictive substance that causes intensely euphoric feelings. Unfortunately, its habitual use is also marked by severely compromised decision making, severe health problems, including death in the case of overdoses, along with an extremely strong tolerance that makes it necessary for the user to consume increasing quantities.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is a synthetic drug that acts as both a hallucinogenic substance and a stimulant. Short-term effects include mental stimulation, enhanced sensory stimulation and increased energy. Adverse effects can include nausea and vomiting, chills, sweating and muscle cramps.
Meth or methamphetamine is an extremely addictive drug whose use has been escalating in the U.S. for the past few decades. Meth can be snorted, smoked or injected. Methamphetamine releases high quantities of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which stimulates brain cells and results in euphoria and intensified body movement. Habitual use actually damages the brain's dopamine receptors, causing in some users symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease, a severe neurological disorder. Other side effects include irritability, insomnia, tremors, convulsions, hyperthermia, paranoia, anxiety and even death.
LSD is the most commonly abused hallucinogenic drug and causes extreme and unstable mood changes. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, taken orally and came into popular usage during the counterculture of the 1960s. Side effects of LSD use include an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite and tremors. Although LSD is not considered to be an addictive drug, its short-term use can result in poor decision making, while frequent consumption can result in what is known as flashbacks, in which the user has recurrences of some of the drug's effects, even if he or she never takes it again.
PCP, also known as angel dust, was developed in the 1950's as an intravenous anesthetic. Its use during surgeries was discontinued because it caused delusions, mania and delirium. On the street, PCP is available as tablets, capsules or powder; it is taken orally or smoked. Among the most dangerous of all abused drugs, PCP can cause severe anxiety, paranoia and violent hostility. It has also been known to produce a psychosis that is similar to schizophrenia.
Amphetamines are stimulants and appetite suppressants that act on the central nervous system by increasing the level of certain chemicals in the body. While some amphetamines do have medical applications, long term use frequently causes insomnia, extreme paranoia that can rise to the level of psychosis, violent hostility, and weight loss.
For more information on our drug and alcohol detox, drug and alcohol rehab programs, or for a confidential consultation you can contact us:
TOLL FREE AT: 888-828-5432
E-MAIL us your questions
A CENTER FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY
Clinical Excellence and Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment