Drug dependence

The Drug dependence - The compulsion to continue taking a drug, either to prevent the ill effects that occur when it is not taken, or to produce the desired effects of taking it.

Drug dependence can be psychological or physical, or more commonly both. A person is psychologically dependent if he or she experiences craving or distress when the drug is withdrawn. In physical drug dependence, the body has adapted to the drug, causing the symptoms and signs of withdrawal syndrome when the drug is stopped. These symptoms are relieved if the drug is taken again.

Dependence develops as a result of regular or excessive drug use, and it develops most frequently with drugs that alter mood or behaviour.

Drug dependence may cause physical problems, for example lung and heart disease from smoking and liver disease from excessive alcohol consumption. Mental problems, such as anxiety and depression, are common during drug withdrawal. Dependence may also be linked with drug tolerance, in which increasing doses of the substance are needed to produce the same effect.

Complications such as hepatitis or AIDS are a particular risk for people who abuse drugs by injection. Death may occur as a result of taking a contaminated drug, or be due to accidental overdose from taking a purer, more potent preparation than usual.

Controlled withdrawal programmes are available in special centres and hospitals, which usually offer gradual, supervised reductions in dose. Alternative, less harmful drugs may be given, as well as treatment for any withdrawal symptoms. Social service agencies and support groups may provide follow-up care. The success of treatment depends on the motivation of the affected person. Problems often recur if people return to the circumstances that originally gave rise to the drug abuse.


Post a Comment