The idea of using drugs to have more fun, to relax, to become livelier, or something else, one thing is the same: drugs are used to change how you feel. At first, when someone tries a drug, they are experimenting to see how it affects them. Then, peer pressure or rumors about how drugs make a person experience the world around them is why someone will agree to use it. If drug use could remain in the realm of experimentation or sporadic use, a person might find they would rather not waste hours being sleepy or wired or hallucinating. However, most people that try drugs and like them will do them again. This is what drug abuse is all about. The next phase for many is addiction and loss of control. Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 58.7 percent used tobacco, alcohol, or an illicit drug in the past month. (SAMHSA)
Comparing Abuse and Addiction
Drug abuse and addiction are only slightly different. When someone abuses a drug, they will not have perfect lives or be happy all the time, and therefore it is similar to addiction. However, abuse is different because the person can and will stop using drugs if they are causing their life harm. Someone addicted to a drug can’t and won’t be able to put the drugs down even if they are physically sick, facing jail, or financial ruin. Someone can usually stop abusing drugs independently, but in many cases, a drug abuser still requires professional help but not always. People who have an addiction will always require professional intervention, counseling, behavioral therapy, and lifelong abstinence. A drug abuser has the freedom of stopping and starting, whereas an addict does not. Drug abuse is unpredictable and can develop into addiction; even if they can stop, they are still at risk.
What is a Substance Use Disorder?
There are various degrees of drug abuse and drug addictions. Professionals who treat addiction will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to determine if a person needs treatment. The DSM-5 now refers to drug abuse and drug addiction as a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) instead of abuse or addiction. It allows for a more definitive identification of a person’s level of drug intake. A person may fall into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. For example, people who only take drugs occasionally are likely to have a mild SUD compared to someone who uses it every day.
Depending on the number of symptoms identified, clinicians can determine the severity of a substance use disorder in the DSM 5. Two or three symptoms suggest a mild substance use disorder; A moderate substance use disorder exhibits four to five symptoms, and a severe substance use disorder exhibits six or more symptoms. (NCBI)
Some of the Best Ways to Prevent Drug Abuse or Addiction
The only way to prevent drug abuse or addiction is never to ingest a drug. If someone is predisposed to addiction, they will continue to take the drugs and end up ruining their lives in ways they never intended. There is not a single addict on the planet who plans to go to prison for drinking or drugging or overdose and die. However, drug abuse most often leads to drug addiction, so the best way to prevent it is never to try it. The other ways to avoid drug abuse include:
- Identify how substance use disorders develop by learning the facts on the disease of addiction.
- Do not give in to peer pressure or temptation by surrounding yourself with people who do not use or drink.
- Get help if you have a mental illness or if you suspect you might be struggling emotionally or mentally.
- Identify risk factors in your family or environment that could put you at risk.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent stress and other situations that might make you desire to drink or drug.
What Treatment Programs Help Drug Abuse?
The most effective drug use and addiction programs will first be personalized to the individual’s own needs. Since there are differences in severity, every person will need a comprehensive treatment plan. Most people abusing drugs will need to begin at a medically supervised detox, followed by an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. Regardless of the severity, all drug use indicates a level of dissatisfaction with their feelings and life circumstances. Drug abuse and addiction are how people self-medicate, and Evoke Wellness in Coconut Creek provides in-depth treatment programs to help all levels of addiction or abuse. Call now to change your life from focusing on drugs and getting high to concentrating on your self-worth and peace of mind without substances.