In recent times, many researches have been conducting on therapy and treatment options available for people who are substance (drugs and alcohol) abusers, and these have come a long way from the older treatment options (e.g. Glasscote et al, 1972). These observations have led the researchers to believe that drug addiction and alcoholism are not just primarily a physical ailment but it is also complemented heavily by environmental factors. Alcoholics and drug abusers tend to follow a specific pattern and we find that many of the people who have alcoholic tendencies come from their genetic makeup (Crabbe, 2002). Yet, even though there are some genetic influences that come into play, the abuse is fed by the abuser's immediate environmental factors, such as the attitudes of the family, friends, and support groups. The genetic side of this ailment explains how there are metabolic, structural, and neuro-chemical malfunctions in the brain that causes a person to become addicted to the drugs, which are supplemented by the environmental factors such as the various home, psychological, and social dynamics that the person experiences in his or her life. These two factors are bi-directional, which means that they both interact and conflict with each other in making the symptoms of alcoholism stronger in a person.
The surprising thins is that this is means that the next time you see an alcoholic or a person who is a drug abuser, be sure to think that it is not his or her fault that he is one but he or she has been driven to substance abuse because of either genetic or environmental conditions. Drugs have been a part of our society for many years now. Drugs, other than those used for medicinal purposes, are generally looked down upon and their use is discouraged amongst the people for various reasons. Drugs are considered to be harmful to our health and countless people die every year because of drug abuse. Many definitions exist for the use of 'drug abuse' and all of them relate to the use, misuse, or overuse of drugs for effects that are not therapeutic or medical in nature. Alcohol, cannabis, caffeine, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, nicotine, opium alkaloids, and tranquilizers are some of the most commonly abused drugs. Almost all the countries in the world consider drugs as illegal and the use of drugs can result in criminal penalty, aside from the other more prominent physical and psychological harm (Mosby 2002). This is because the use of illegal drugs can be very dangerous for the persons using, or rather abusing them, and thus, illegal drugs should remain illegal and never be legalized.
In the past few years, the practitioners in the health care and medicare services have tried to view the instances of drug abuse in a much brighter and broader light. The view of drug abuse is changing from being simply the problem of an individual and is being considered as a problem that plagues the society and the culture. Many of the public health professionals are using the terminology of drugs and alcohol 'problems' instead of 'abuse.' Drugs are also being termed as being harmful and problematic. It has been noted that many of the newspapers and the shows on television present drugs and drug abuse as an ambiguous and catchall phrase, when it is strictly a medical and legal term. Many of the television shows and films are reported to have used this phrase in order to describe any drug use at all, especially the use of drugs that are illicit. On the other hand, “in the modern medical profession, the two most used diagnostic tools in the world, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), no longer recognize 'drug abuse' as a current medical diagnosis. Instead, they have adopted substance abuse as a blanket term to include drug abuse and other things. However, other definitions differ; they may entail psychological or physical dependence, and may focus on treatment and prevention in terms of the social consequences of substance use” (Wikipedia).
Alcohol and drug abuse was first considered to be a part of Sociopathic Personality Disturbances, according to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 1950. These disturbances were considered to be the symptoms of some other deeper and underlying psychological disorders that constituted the moral weakness on the part of the 'abuser' (Jaffe 1975). By 1980, drug abuse was grouped into the category of 'substance abuse'. The American Psychiatric Association used a definition that used legality, social acceptability, and even cultural familiarity in 1972. According to this definition, “?�?�as a general rule, we reserve the term drug abuse to apply to the illegal, nonmedical use of a limited number of substances, most of them drugs, which have properties of altering the mental state in ways that are considered by social norms and defined by statute to be inappropriate, undesirable, harmful, threatening, or, at minimum, culture-alien” (Glasscote et al 1972).
As it is, drugs are a very big problem for our society and drug addiction is becoming an even bigger one. Many people who are addicted to drugs face many problems in their lives, such as abject poverty, family problems, and health problems. The governments of many countries all over the world have been trying to eliminate drugs and drug addiction from their culture and society but they have been unable to completely eradicate them. This can only happen if the people become increasingly aware of the problems that drugs pose and they learn to live their lives in spite of drugs.
Crabbe, J. C. (2002). “Genetic Contributions to Addiction,” Annual Review of
Glasscote, R.M., Sussex, J.N., Jaffe, J.H., Ball, J., Brill, L. (1972). The Treatment of
Drug Abuse: Programs, Problems, Prospects. Washington, D.C.: Joint Information Service of the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health.
Jaffe, J.H. (1975). Drug addiction and drug abuse. In L.S. Goodman & A. Gilman (Eds.) The pharmacological basis of therapeutics(5th ed.). New York: MacMillan. pp. 284 - 324.
Mosby. (2002). Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary. Sixth Edition. Drug abuse defintion, p. 552. Nursing diagnoses, p. 2109.
Wikipedia. “Drug Abuse,” Online, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_abuse