Compulsive, excessive, and self-damaging use of habit forming drugs or substances, leading to addiction ordependence, serious physiological injury (such as damageto kidneys, liver, heart) and/or psychological harm (such asdysfunctional behavior patterns, hallucinations, memoryloss), or death. Also called substance abuse.
1. Natural or synthetic substance which (when taken into a living body) affects its functioning or structure, and is used in the diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a disease or relief of discomfort. Also called legal drug or medicine. A legal or medicinal drug (such as amphetamines), however, can be harmful and addictive if misused. 2. Habit forming stimulant or narcotic substance (such asalcohol, cannabis, nicotine, or a derivative of cocoa or poppy) which produces a state of arousal, contentment, or euphoria. Continued or excessive use (called drug abuse orsubstance abuse) of such substances causes addiction ordependence. Thereafter any attempt to discontinue their use results in specific reactions (called withdrawalsymptoms) such as sweating, vomiting, and tremors which cease when the use is resumed. Also called illegal drugwhere its production and/or use is prohibited.
Whether a substance is legal or illegal, however, may have nothing to do with its potential for addiction or harm: alcohol and nicotine, both addictive and harmful, are legal in most countries because they generate substantialemployment or government revenue through taxes.
To use wrongly or improperly; misuse: abuse alcohol; abuse a privilege. or
Improper use or handling; misuse: abuse of authority; drug abuse.
What Are the Different Kinds of Drug Abuse?
Someone with a drug abuse problem often displays general symptoms, regardless of the type of drug being abused: paranoia, confusion, overall attitude or mood adjustment, withdrawal from relationships or activities, abrupt changes in quality of work or school attendance. The specific signs of drug abuse, however, will differ, depending on the nature of the chemical.
◊ Acute Alcohol Abuse
The Handbook of Diseases describes the immediate signs of alcohol abuse as intoxication, loss of motor control (including walking and speech), alcoholic odor on breath or clothing, loss of memory and blackouts.
◊ Chronic Alcohol Abuse
The chronic kind of alcohol abuse are more subtle. This abuse can be seen in someone who has including difficulty focusing, uncharacteristic behavior (passive or argumentative), dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, declining school or job performance, and fixated attention on alcohol, according to the Handbook of Diseases.
◊ Depressant Abuse
The kind of the abuse of depressants (barbiturates---Amytal, Seconal; benzodiazepines---tranquilizers Xanax and Valium) include an intoxicated appearance (like alcohol, but without the noticeable smell). Signs of depressant abuse also include a lack of facial expressions or emotional responses, flaccid appearance, deflated or flat personality, and slurred or distorted speech.
◊ Stimulant Abuse
The kind of stimulant abuse (amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, Ritalin) as hyperactivity, extreme energy, fidgeting, twitching, nervousness, irritable or argumentative, lack of appetite and sleep deprivation. Physiological signs include dilated pupils, dry mouth and lips, runny nose or nose bleeds, and sinus problems.
◊ Hallucinogen Abuse
The abuse of hallucinogenic drugs (PCP, LSD, Ketamine or Special K) as including distortion (self, others, time, the senses), hallucinations, confusion, altered mood or behavior and slurred or incoherent speech. Kind of hallucinogenic abuse also include physiological indications, such as extreme dilation of the pupils, warm skin, heavy perspiration and body odor.
◊ Narcotic Drug Abuse
Abuse of narcotics (opiate-containing drugs such as heroine, methadone, codeine, oxycontin and morphine)...
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