What is drug dependence?
Drug dependence is a health problem caused by the frequent use of addictive substances, drugs. Addiction involves a change in lifestyle, both physical and psychological. It is characterized by compulsive and continuous use. Drug abuse includes different types of behavior: experimental or recreational drug use; the use of psychoactive drugs to alleviate symptoms or problems; and use in which dependence develops as a result of continued use to relieve discomfort or withdrawal.
What are the symptoms?
When an individual is addicted to drugs, they experience these symptoms repeatedly over a long period of time:
- Difficulty controlling the consumption of certain substances.
- Strong desire and obsession to consume the substance.
- Abandonment of interests beyond consuming the substance, as well as social life and activities that had previously interested him/her.
- Persistence in the consumption of the substance, despite being aware of its harmful effects.
- Withdrawal syndrome when stopping the consumption of the substance.
Why does drug dependence occur?
The fundamental cause of drug dependence is the addictive substance contained in the drug. Access to the consumption of an addictive substance leads to intoxication and a self-destructive cycle of dependence of the patient on the substance. The profile of patients suffering from drug addiction is very varied and depends on several factors, such as their context or the level of accessibility of the substance in question.
Can it be prevented?
The best prevention is information. It is important for society to be aware of the harmful effects of drugs on health, as well as the high risk of addiction.
What does drug dependence treatment consist of?
Drug addiction treatment is aimed at helping the patient to abandon dependence and therefore drug use. It is a multidisciplinary treatment, which usually includes therapy and medication. Therefore the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist is essential to treat drug dependence.