Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse,
refers to a maladaptive pattern of use of a
substance that is not considered dependent.
The term "drug abuse" does not exclude
dependency, but is otherwise used in a similar
manner in nonmedical contexts. The terms
have a huge range of definitions related to
taking a psychoactive drug or performance
enhancing drug for a non-therapeutic or nonmedical
Drug misuse is a term used commonly for prescription
medications with clinical efficacy but abuse potential
and known adverse effects linked to improper use,
such as psychiatric medications with sedative,
analgesic, or stimulant properties
Alcohol is the major
abused nowadays. It is a
colorless liquid, contained
in drinks such as beer,
wine, spirit, etc. that make
Alcohol is a CNS suppressant.
It exerts this suppressant effect in a descending
manner, where higher cortical centers are
inhibited first, resulting in euphoria and then
In larger doses, lower vital centers are
inhibited, leading to hypotension and
It is found that ion channel activities associated
with acetyl choline, serotonin and GABA
receptors are enhanced by alcohol.
Ion channel activities associated with
glutamate receptors are inhibited.
* Death is due to central respiratory depression
or inhalation of vomitus
The classic signs of alcohol withdrawal are due
to sympathetic over activity and tendency to
develop epileptic convulsions.
Symptoms include tremulousness, sweating,
restlessness and even excitement.
They may include psychotic symptoms (such
as delusions and hallucinations).
Seizures and symptoms of delirium tremens
may eventually develop.
Treatment is Benzodiazepines.
It occurs when fetuses are exposed in utero to
alcohol by their mothers' drinking alcohol.
This syndrome is the leading cause of mental
retardation in the United States.
Women with alcohol related disorders have a
35 percent risk of having a child with deficits.
• Most of substances known to be amenable for
abuse and dependence (Addiction) can be
grouped into the following classes:
2. Sedatives, hypnotics or anxiolytics.
3. Cannabinoids [e.g. Bango - Hashish - Marijuana].
4. Opioids [e.g. Heroin, Opium, Morphine, Codeine
and Codeine-containing cough sedatives].
. Amphetamines and other stimulants.
9. Hallucinogens [e.g. LSD, Anticholinergic,
10. Phencyclidine [e.g. Ketamine]
11. Volatile solvents.
N.B. Poly-substance abuse and dependence is
Substances may be mixed with others.
Death is the primary adverse effect of cigarette
Causes of death include:
* Chronic bronchitis.
* Bronchogenic cancer.
* Cerebrovascular disease.
* Cardiovascular disease.
In pregnant women, nicotine crosses the
placenta freely and is in the amniotic fluid and
umbilical cord blood of neonates.
Sustained exposure of the fetus causes:
*Slow growth in utero and lower than average
*Increased incidences of newborns with persistent
This is an adaptive psychological,
physiological and biochemical
state caused by the repeated
exposure to a drug.
Continued use of the drug
becomes necessary for the wellbeing of the organism.
Sometimes the word
"dependence" is used as a
synonym of addiction.
it is a strong subjective drive to use the
substance. It is likely to be experienced by most
(if not all) individuals with substance
The diagnosis of addiction implies the use of a
drug with the following clinical criteria:
* The use of the drug is not upon medical
Drug abuse, including alcohol and prescription
drugs can induce symptomatology which
resembles mental illness.
Drug abuse makes central nervous system
(CNS) effects, which produce changes in mood,
levels of awareness or perceptions and
These signs and symptoms cannot be fully
stated as it varies in individual.
Substance abuse can be prevent in two major
ways. These are:
Educating the society.
The government should make a policy against
the selling of unprescribed drugs.
Two major goals:
the first is abstinence from the substance;
the second is physical, psychiatric, and
psychosocial well-being of the patient
Inpatient or outpatient settings.
* Throughout treatment, individual, family,
and group therapies (alcoholic & narcotic
anonymous) can be effective.
* Any underling psychiatric disorder should be
diagnosed and appropriately treated
Because substance abuse/dependence is in
part a neuropharmacological phenomenon,
there is at present an aggressive search for
agents that may:
decrease the reinforcing properties of substances
(block the drug euphoric effect)
decrease craving associated with substances
function as replacements for the drug of abuse
Naltrexone (an opiate receptor blocking agent)
decreases alcohol consumption and relapse in
alcoholic patients, also in opiate abuse.
* Nicotine replacement using nicotine gum,
patch, spray and inhalation have been used
with successful results in nicotine dependence.
* Methadone - an opiate receptor agonist proved to be highly effective in abstinence
from opiate use.
Halaesayyah, January 2014. Substance Abuse and Dependence.( Accessed
Lauragosnell, January 2014. Substance Abuse Disorders. ( Accessed 201403-07)
OsuntokiIbukunoluwa, August 2013.Basic knowledge about substance
abuse.( Accessed: 2014-03-07)
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