The Drug Abuse Problem
Drug abuse problem is one of the major problems facing many young people today. National surveys indicate that persons in the age group of 18 to 25 are most likely to use illegal drugs.
Why do young people, or why does anyone, young or old, use drugs? Studies reveal that responses such as the following are common.
- “They make me feel good.”
- “My friends all do it.”
- “I’m more relaxed and friendly when I’m high.”
- “I was curious.”
Unfortunately, the drug user’s life sooner or later becomes disrupted. Drugs can cause a wide variety of physiological and psychological problems. Drug abuse can interfere with school performance and personal relationships. It can cause lost jobs and cut short promising careers. It can ruin lives.
Many drug abusers are not aware they have a problem. They rationalize that they can stop anytime. Unfortunately, the research shows this is not true in many of the situations.
When to Get Help For a Drug Problem
- Do you take drugs or drink to get ready for social situations?
- Do you take drugs or drink to avoid facing personal problems?
- Do you hide your drinking or drug use from others?
- Do you take drugs and drink when you are alone?
- Do you get annoyed at others who suggest you drink or take drugs too much?
If you answer yes to many of the questions in the box above, you may have an alcohol or drug problem and should talk to an alcohol and drug counselor at your college health center.
Living a life of robust energy and fitness is a quality of life on the opposite end of the spectrum from a life of using drugs. Your quality of life does not depend on doing right or wrong or whether you are good or bad. Your quality of life is determined by your choice to live at your potential and to live each day to the fullest.
Exercise can be your drug – your recreational drug! Exercise can help you to handle personal demands, achieve career goals and maintain good health and wellness. Remember that wellness refers to engaging in behaviors that enhance the quality of your life. Regular exercise is the key to maximizing your potential.
Drug use has the potential to mess up your health and the quality of your life. Drugs used for treatment, cure, prevention, or pain relief are referred to as medicines. Such medicines have kept people alive and helped in maintaining health. When a person uses drugs for reasons other than medical treatment, this behavior is called recreational drug use. Drugs are used recreationally to lessen social tensions, to seek sensations of pleasure, to enhance physical performance, to rebel against the pressures of society, to gain peer acceptance, or for a combination of these reasons.
Drugs are classified according to the physiological affect they have on your body as follows.
- Stimulants. Speed up your nervous system, increase alertness and excitability.
- Depressants. Slow down your nervous system, Help you to relax (known as tranquilizers or sedatives).
- Psychoactive drugs.Â Alter moods, feelings, perceptions.
- Narcotics. Powerful pain killers that cause pleasurable feelings.
- Inhalants. Volatile non-drugs producing drug like effects when inhaled, substances such as glue and gasoline fall into this category.
- Designer drugs. Illegal manufactured drugs that tend to mimic controlled substances. Generally more powerful and dangerous than the drugs they mimic.
Commonly Abused Drugs
Caffeine and alcohol are classified as drugs. All are legal and commonly used today in our society.Â TheyÂ have the potential to be harmful if abused. Anabolic steroids, most often used by athletes, have also become a concern. The so-called recreational drugs, such as crack and marijuana, are another form of drug that can cause serious health problems.
Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Millions of people drink or ingest caffeine daily. It is found in cola drinks, chocolate, and of course, coffee. Restricting consumption to a couple of cups of coffee or cola a day allows a person to get the benefits without hurting his or her health.
Alcohol. Alcohol, although socially acceptable, has probably caused more social, emotional, and physical damage to users andÂ their families than any other drug. People drink to celebrate, to relax, to ease social situations, to feel good, and for a multitude of other reasons.
Because alcohol is accepted inÂ society as legal and appropriate, it is important to use it responsibly. This means drinking slowly (not more than one drink per hour), eating when drinking and, most important – not mixing drinking and driving.
Some people have a low tolerance for alcohol or may lose control over t heir alcohol consumption. These situations can lead to alcoholism. To date, there is no way of determining in advance who will have trouble with alcohol. A tendency toward alcoholism can be inherited, thus the drinking of alcohol can be very risk y for some people. However, the question remains, is the “inherited” from learned behavior or an actual physical connection?
Steroids. Anabolic steroids are powerful drugs that can change the way the body works. They can increaseÂ body weight, muscle size and strength. They are looked upon as performance-enhancing agents. However, because of the serious health risks, physicians and sports organizations are against the use of steroids. Steroids are used medically to help the body heal. However, doses given for medical reasons must be carefully monitored by doctors.
Even though steroids appear to increase muscle bulk and strength, they can cause serious health problems. Side effects range from acne to cancer. Even heart attacks may show up years later after use. Bone growth can be hindered. In males, testicles shrink, with impotence and sterility resulting. Female uses end up with increased growth of facial and body hair. Over 70 harmful side effects have been identified.
Aside from physical problems, steroids can cause depression and violent behavior. Infections from steroid injections have led to infections such as hepatitis (a liver disease) and AIDS. Most important, many elite athletes who were known steroid users have died at a young age because of steroid use.
Despite these frightening facts, the use of anabolic steroids is increasing. And not just among athletes, but among fitness enthusiasts who want to experience strength gains and muscle definition beyond those seen with training and nutrition alone.
Some users report a feeling of euphoria. Many users don’t care about heart disease 20 years from now. They are only concerned with the present. Some physicians feel that steroids may be one of the most addictive drugs in America. Suffice it to say, the dangers from the use of this drug far outweigh its immediate benefits. Proper training will bulk up your muscles if this is your desire. It just might take a little longer.
The most widely used recreational drugs are cocaine and marijuana. Use of these drugs produces feelings of exhilaration, euphoria, and well being. The effect is rapid and the high lasts from5 to 20 minutes for marijuana to 2 to 4 hours for cocaine.
After the euphoric feeling subsides, a depressed feeling often follows. Complications from cocaine use can range from cardiac problems to nervous system problems that can even result in death.Â To say it simply, cocaine use can be devastating and it has no place inÂ a healthy living style.
Marijuana, or pot, is characterized by many people as a harmless drug because it creates a relaxed and dreamy high and seems to be less addicting than some other drugs. Nevertheless, a wide range of reactions to this drug has been documented. There appear to be some potential health problems related to its use.
The Choice is Yours
Drugs prescribed for medicine have a place in helping people to achieve better health. However, unwise use of drugs can severely mess up your health and reduce your quality of life. As you begin to realize how good it feels to be physically active and to be in good physical shape, it will be easier to refrain from destructive behaviors such as using drugs or alcohol. People who have achieved a high level of wellness do not use drugs. If they do drink alcohol, they do so in moderation and control.
The choice, of course, is yours. Exercise regularly, eat properly, get adequate rest, manage stress and refrain from drugs. You might be thinking that although these things are important they are not important during your high school or college years. You may feel that for now you want to enjoy being inactive, eat what you want and will have trouble when you want, sleep less, and enjoy the parties. After all, you only live one and are only young for a short time. But you are fooling yourself if you think that such living patterns now cannot have a negative effect on the quality of your life later on.
We know without a doubt there is no place for drug dependence in a health lifestyle. The best alternative to the instant gratification that recreational drugs offer is to adopt and maintain an active way of life. Being physically fit means having a body that can function at its optimal efficiency. This translates to robust health and the availability of excess energy to fully appreciate the joysÂ life.