Background: Drug dependence involves physical, mental, and spiritual damage. Drug abusers feel that the drug is a part of their daily life. Drug dependence is a disease that gradually increases. This disease is not cured but can only be controlled. Addiction is a process of use, misuse, and abuse. A drug abuser increases his/her drug use in multiples of 2 over time.
Characteristics: All drug dependency exhibits similar characteristics—
• Chronic, progressive, and relapsing disease
• Biological, psychological, and sociological components
• Lying and deceit
• Continuation despite negative consequences
• Changes in normal behavior
• Inability to cope with variety of life stresses
• Peer pressure
• Need for freedom and autonomy
• Experimentation and curiosity
• Fun seeking
• Availability of illicit drugs
• Peer pressure
• Breakdown of social and religious values
• Lack of knowledge about the ill effects of addictive drugs
Results: Emotional change: The drug-dependent person experiences mood swings related to drug use. Gradually there is a personality change and all activity and thoughts revolve around drugs. Judgment and insight are also impaired.
Family relationship change- In the beginning the drug abuser starts avoiding family members. As the addiction progress, lying, stealing, and violence become a regular feature.
Social Changes- The drug abuser starts to weaken his friendship with non-abusers, breaks promises, and lies. He/she makes friends with other drug abusers. There is no interest in any other activities or in social gatherings. Most of the time, the drug abuser sleeps during the day and engages in drug-taking activities during the night.
Financial Condition- The drug abuser spends all his/her money on drugs. As the need for drugs increase, more money is spent, leading to debt and borrowing and selling of goods from home, workplace, and school.
Legal Problem- Drug abusers become involved in many illegal activities such as street crimes, violence, extortion, murder etc.
Sexual Activities- Most drug abusers under the influence of drugs have inappropriate sexual behavior. Many of them visit commercial sex workers and many drug abusers can’t get sexual enjoyment without using drugs.
Conclusion: The effects of drug dependence are multifarious causing physical, psychological, economic, and social problems. Effective treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach in which health, education, social welfare, community, and family components should all be incorporated.