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Understanding Drug Abuse & Treatment: All you need to know

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Drug abuse refers to the indiscriminate use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than what they have been prescribed for. Drug abuse happens when people use such drugs in excessive amounts which leads to emotional, physical, and social problems for them. Once they get into the habit, it becomes extremely challenging to quit and stop its use.

However, drug abuse is just like any other chronic disease, and it can be treated.

Drug Abuse Facts:

The WHO reports that almost 155-250 million individuals all over the globe are victims of drug abuse. So, substance disorder is a serious problem, which is also responsible for a lot of violence and crime throughout the world. The NCB data shows that there were as many as 29,247 cases in 2012 with Punjab leading the count, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Almost 10 suicidal deaths related to drug abuse are reported every day in the country with the most frequent users being teenagers. Whether it is media influence, peer pressure, boredom, high-stress levels, or a rebellious attitude, teenagers are the worst affected. Long-term use of drugs can be highly damaging; it can impact your brains’ normal functioning, hampering individual judgment, decision-making powers, memory, and behavior.

What are the types of drugs?

There are different types of drugs that can cause addiction. Some of the commonly used addictive substances are –

  • Amphetamines – They are a strong stimulator that affects the central nervous system. Their medical purpose is to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) while non-medically, they are used for recreational purposes. Some of the adverse effects of amphetamines are loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss, and sudden upliftment of mood.
  • Cannabis – Cannabis use can cause anxiety, paranoia and loss of motivation. There’s evidence that indicates cannabis use increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. Cannabis can cause lung disease and cancer.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine is a natural stimulant usually found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system and helps you stay awake by preventing tiredness.
  • Cocaine – Cocaine, or coke, is highly addictive and it can induce fits in otherwise normal people or even heart attack and panic attacks.
  • Hallucinogens – Hallucinogens produce a loss of contact with reality and an experience of expanded and heightened consciousness. It can induce psychotic illnesses, mood disorders, and anxiety.
  • Inhalants – Inhalants are a group of substances like solvents, glues, adhesives, aerosol propellants, paint thinners and fuels. Inhalants can cause delirium, dementia, and psychotic conditions.
  • Nicotine – This is a chemical that contains nitrogen and can be found in several plants, including tobacco. It’s highly addictive and can cause tobacco dependency in people.
  • Opioids – There are about 20 different chemically distinct opioid drugs in use. Opioid abuse and dependence can cause sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, psychotic states, and anxiety disorder.
  • Prescription drugs – These are strong medications that require a prescription from a doctor. They can be of three types i.e. opioids, depressants, and stimulants.

What are the symptoms of drug abuse?

  • Poor physical coordination, insomnia, appetite loss, staggering walk, loss of weight, watery eyes, sweaty palms, excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat, etc.
  • Behavioral symptoms include a change in personality, frequent temper tantrums, sudden oversensitivity, chronic dishonesty, mood swings, paranoia, depression, nervousness, habit changes, lethargy, and indulgence in criminal acts.

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How to treat drug abuse?

You should seek help when you find that you or your loved one is unable to lead a normal life due to drug abuse and cannot shake off the habit on their own. While entering the world of drugs is easy, getting out can be rather painful. Side-effects of drug abuse like weight loss, memory loss, nervousness, etc. can wreak havoc in one’s life, and in some cases, it can even lead to the possibility of a drug overdose. The treatment will depend on how severe the addiction is. Here are some of the effective drug addiction treatments:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): In CBT, the therapist helps the individual identify the negative thought patterns that are associated with substance abuse, which are then replaced with positive ones. Here, appropriate coping techniques are also taught to the individual.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy: In this therapy, the therapist helps the individual get in touch with their personal motivation to give up on the habit. Here the individual is motivated to commit to the treatment plan and recover. This therapy is effective when used in the early stages to engage the individual in the treatment plan.
  • Contingency management: This is usually used in a residential program where individuals with different disorders live together and seek recovery. Here expectations, regarding particular behavior, are clearly stated to the individual, and if they engage in this desired behavior, a reward is given. This technique helps to reinforce desired behavior by providing incentives.
  • 12-step program: These support groups are an essential part of recovery. Here, individuals share their experiences and techniques that helped them get their life on track. These groups give the individual a sense of support and community. It can also help the individual structure their life and avoid temptations of the substance.
  • Medications: Medications are mainly used in the detoxification process. Here the goal is to drain the substance out of the body. Specific medication and supervision are essential in this. Detoxification is also a stage where the individual gets a lot of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Techniques to cope with these are also provided.
  • Long term residential programs: Here, the whole living space is structured to help the individual recover. The individual is asked to stay for usually 6 – 12 months, and a multidisciplinary team, consisting of a psychologist, nurse, psychiatrist and physician, takes care of the individual.
  • Out-patient programs: Here the individual is provided treatment on a weekly basis. Every week they are required to meet and undergo therapy with a psychologist and psychiatrist. If progress is not observed in a period of time, they are offered a long term program.
  • In-patient program: Rehabilitation is one of the best ways for the prevention of relapse to alcoholism and substance drugs abuse. This is similar to the long term program. A similar set of therapies are provided along with 24 hours of supervision from a multidisciplinary team. The only difference here is that the individual is required to stay only for a few weeks in the organization.

Why Cadabams?

Cadabams is one of the best substance and drug abuse rehabilitation centers in Bangalore where we help you walk on the path to holistic wellness by destigmatizing dependency and treating it like any other illness. We have over two decades of experience in the rehabilitation space and thousands of successful recoveries to our credit. Our wellness experts use a number of techniques such as mindfulness, therapy, meditation, and yoga to help you detox.

Cadabams has earned the reputation of becoming one of the leading drug abuse rehab centers today, which can help you and your loved ones recover from all kinds of addictions.

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Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

Yes, there are effective treatments for drug addiction, which include medications and behavioral therapies. The treatment for every individual is determined based on the type of drug they are addicted to and the length of use. For some people, multiple courses of treatment have to be followed to treat drug addiction successfully.

What are withdrawal symptoms and how long do they last?

An individual experiences withdrawal symptoms after reducing the stopping the usage of a drug abruptly after using it for a long time. Depending on the drug used, different symptoms may occur. For example, the use of heroin can lead to withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, insomnia, vomiting, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes, etc. General depression or dysphoria may also occur with heroin withdrawal which may last for weeks.

What are the effects and consequences of using drugs?

Depending on the physical build, diet, fitness, age, gender, and health of the individual, the effects of using drugs can vary. Besides, the amount and purity of the drug used also matters.

Drug abuse has been seen to cause people to become aggressive, anxious, paranoid, depressed, angry, or talkative. It also increases the risks of developing mental health issues. So, people who are prone to developing certain mental health problems should be even more cautious of drug abuse or addiction.

As some drugs are illegal, legal ramifications may arise from its addition to the severe negative impacts on the individual’s family and friends.

How to stay safe from dangers of drugs?

The best way to stay from the dangers of drugs is to not try them at all. Generally, people don’t accept when drugs are offered to them. However, if you are in a situation where you are pressured to take drugs, the best thing to do is to keep yourself away from such situations and instead be a part of those circles where people don’t do drugs.

Disclaimer: We strive to treat our patients with dignity and utmost sensitivity. We understand that addiction is a medical disorder and not a sign of weakness. Terms like “drug addict” or “drug addiction” are used not in a derogatory way but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. It is important to note that addiction should be referred to as substance use disorder to better address the effects of this psychological condition, and words like “addict”, “junkie”, etc. should be avoided. In case you or your loved ones are struggling with substance abuse disorder and share a unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at

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