Drug Rehab Programs Explain Basic Info on Drugs

Drugs, as a category, are not necessarily a bad thing – after all, most drugs were originally invented for medicinal use and continue to be used for that purpose. However, many people, when using the word “drug” use it in the context of drug addiction or abuse, and this can give drugs an overall bad name.

In this context, the word can refer to medicines – which can also be abused – or to non-medicinal substances, whether natural or synthetic, that can cause dependence, including even alcohol. Drug addiction or drug dependence refers to the compulsive and continued use of certain drugs or substances in spite of obvious problems stemming from using that drug.

Hear from Delaney, Waters Edge Behavioral Health Technician 

Often, drug addiction is a physical, or physiological dependence, which refers to the fact that after long-term use, sudden discontinuation or reduction in dosage of the drug will have unpleasant, negative physiological effects. These effects are called “withdrawal symptoms” and they can range from the relatively mild to the very strong. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the drug itself, as well as on other factors, such as the quantities taken, the length of excessive consumption, and even the age at which the dependence started. Because addiction leads to higher and higher doses, the longer one is addicted, the more likely they are to have severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of the more common substances that are known to cause physical dependence are: alcohol, opioid pain killers such as morphine or oxycodone, certain sedatives (barbiturates), as well as heroin.

There are other drugs where addiction may lack physiological dependence, yet it is no less severe. Such psychical dependence, which is caused mainly by the fact that using the drug results in a very desirable mental state, can also occasion withdrawal symptoms, but these symptoms are non-physical, psychological or psychosomatic. Some drugs in this category are “uppers” such as amphetamines, and the recently-fashionable cocaine. With cocaine especially, the effect of well-being is so pleasurable, that simply the fact of not being in that state is enough to cause compulsive seeking of the drug in its users.

The potential of a given drug to become addictive varies widely, depending on the individual using it, the circumstances in which it is used (such as whether it is used for genuine pain-relief, for example) the dosage, and the way in which it is administered. While no predictions can be made for any given drug, some tendencies can be observed. The British medical journal Lancet published some general scores of addictive potential, using a combination of factors including physical dependence, psychological dependence and pleasure derived from the drug. They found that, the top scorers were, in this order: heroin, cocaine, barbiturates, alcohol, and benzodiazepines such as Valium(R) and Librium(R).

Drug rehab programs work to educate those with addiction issues about the basic drug information, in addiction to addressing all of the underlying issues that led to the addictive behaviors.