When it comes to drug problems, people use several different terms. One of these is drug abuse. Many people want to know the drug abuse definition and how it differs from addiction. In truth, drug abuse and addiction have more in common than they think.
A Closer Look at the Drug Abuse Definition
According to experts, the drug abuse definition is the excessive, compulsive, and self-damaging use of drugs. Using drugs can lead to serious physical injury, dependence, or damage to the brain. It may even damage the heart, liver or kidneys. On a psychological level, drug abuse can cause hallucinations, memory loss, and dysfunctional behavior.
If these issues seem like they’re similar to addiction, it’s because they are. In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists drug abuse and addiction together. Both drug abuse and addiction fall under the universal term “drug use disorder.”
Symptoms of Drug Use Disorder
Numerous symptoms point to people having drug use disorder. For example, recurrent drug use, financial issues, and legal problems all point toward this condition. Relationship problems and failure to follow up with important obligations are also signs of drug abuse.
People who abuse drugs build up a tolerance and have to take higher doses to get the same high. Eventually, the continued increase in drugs can lead to a fatal overdose.
How Do Drugs Affect the Brain?
The chemicals inside drugs affect the communication system of the brain. From there, they disrupt how the brain receives, sends, and processes information. They usually over stimulate the reward center to interrupt the signals. However, drugs can also interrupt communication via imitating the natural chemical messages of the brain.
For example, heroin and marijuana have a very similar structure to that of the chemical messengers within the brain. Because of that, they can fool the receptors into sending abnormal messages. Drugs such as cocaine, however, over stimulate nerve cells in the brain to release large amounts of neurotransmitters. The increased presence disrupts all normal communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
In the end, nearly all drugs target the reward system of the brain in one way or another. They make the brain release dopamine, which is the same chemical that the brain uses to register a reward. For instance, it releases dopamine when people eat great food or have sex.
Get Help for Your Drug Use Disorder
Whether you call it addiction, drug abuse, or drug use disorder, it’s important that you seek professional help. At Ashley Addiction Treatment, we work hard to provide effective substance abuse programs. From our Primary Program to outpatient rehab, we offer it all, including:
- 12-step program
- Individual therapy
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Relapse prevention education
Don’t let addiction ruin your life or the life of a loved one any longer. Overcome it with our help. Contact us at 866-313-6307 for more information about our programs.