Defining a Drug Abuse Problem

Drug abuse is a complicated topic, because many definitions are involved and can become confusing. It is important to understand the various topics associated with drug abuse to be informed and in a position to take action if you suspect you or someone you love of drug abuse.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Casual substance abuse is often associated with experimentation. People are intrigued by drugs or alcohol and will experiment to see if they are as fanciful as some people make them out to be. Casual substance abuse is sometimes motivated by peer pressure, but most people believe they can consume a small amount just to take the pressure off without significant ramifications.

Recreational substance abuse is using a substance for fun rather than medicinal purposes. Peer pressure commonly causes people to consume substances for recreational purposes. People have the desire to fit in and relax with their friends, and drugs can increase their confidence in social settings. This environment often encourages people to abuse drugs recreationally.

The top recreational substances people consume are as follows: marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, opium, mushrooms and solvents. A key difference between casual and recreational substance abuse is that the top recreational substances can cause serious side effects.

Drug Use vs. Drug Abuse

The difference between drug use and abuse is intention. When people take a prescription drug exactly as prescribed, they intend to receive the benefit from the drug with the least amount of side effects. Their intention is to take the drug only as long as prescribed or until their symptoms are resolved. On the other hand, when people take a prescription drug in a manner other than prescribed, this is considered abuse. They may intend to get healthy as quickly as possible, so they take larger doses or more frequently then they are supposed to. This is considered drug abuse.

Additionally, anyone who takes medication prescribed to someone else is abusing the drug. Their intention may be to get the relief the medication provides, but since the medication was not prescribed to them, this is considered abuse. Of course, people who take illicit drugs are clearly engaging in substance abuse.

Intentions are the purpose someone has toward the effect of one’s conduct. This definition suggests that people have a particular purpose about a course of action they hope to achieve. The other defining variable is their attitude and how that affects the action. People do not usually intend to use substances to become addicted, but that is often the outcome. It is important that people consider their intentions when consuming substances, because that may be the difference between drug abuse and safe use.

Help for Drug Abuse Problems

Understanding your intentions regarding substance abuse will help you determine your level of involvement with substances. Call our toll-free helpline today for instant support. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about drug abuse and addiction.