Substance Dependence

When people think about using drugs, it doesn’t always have a negative connotation. There are a lot of people who can take prescription drugs as they are told and those who can use drugs recreationally without it ever becoming a problem. Sadly, not everyone is that lucky.

Many people fall into using drugs unintentionally; they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, abused a prescription, fell victim to peer pressure, etc. Most people who use drugs don’t have the intention of developing an addiction or substance dependence, so it usually spirals out of control before they even know it’s happening.

Substance dependence is defined as a drug user’s compulsive need to use controlled substances in order to function normally. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how someone could get to this point, but it could happen to anyone and isn’t reserved for those with problems, the homeless, or gang members. Doctors, lawyers, students, and school teachers alike can find themselves with a substance abuse problem, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms and be aware of the environment and those around you.

Some of the most commonly abused drugs are:

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabinoids (marijuana, hashish)
  • Opioids (Heroin, Opium)
  • Stimulants (Cocaine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine)

Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Stimulant
  • Depressants and sleeping pills

Prescription drug substance dependence is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Prescription drugs have always been relatively easy to obtain through a physician and if taken for too long or not as prescribed, are extremely addicting. Now there is increased access to online pharmacies and a growing number of young people obtaining drugs through their parents’ medicine cabinets. This is a source of serious concern as college campuses have become a hotspot for prescription drugs being passed around and abused.

Another source of substance dependence that is often overlooked is alcohol. People don’t pay as close attention to this abuse because alcohol is not an illegal substance, but it can also be one of the most deadly addictions. It’s easy for people to get away with and to conceal because it is a legal substance; so many alcohol dependencies go unnoticed. This is why so many people fly under the radar for so long with alcohol addiction and they learn to function in their normal routine without raising any cause for concern.

The best thing to do if you suspect that someone you know may be suffering from substance dependence is to talk to them and be aware of what’s going on in their life. Sometimes all a person needs is a sympathetic ear and if they need more, then you will be there to help them get help too.