It’s estimated that ten percent of the population uses drugs in a pattern consistent with the established criteria for abuse—if you’re included in these numbers it’s imperative that you get help ASAP. Besides the rapid increase in prescription drug abuse over the last decade, recently drug abuse has even spread to over-the-counter medicines like cough syrups (known as DMX) as a popular way to get high. You or your loved one may have gradually fallen into drug abuse without even realizing it. A good sign that this may be the case is if you or your loved one have started to hang out with others who also like to use drugs for social or recreational use. It is very common for drug abusers to associate with other drug abusers whom they share no other common interest but their shared desire for taking the same drugs. Drug abuse can best be characterized as a pattern of behavior in which one makes drugs a part of their daily or regular routine. A person abusing drugs will come to this pattern through various circumstances: social activity turned lifestyle choice, escape from the pressures of life, escape from physical pain, etc. The journey from drug abuse to addiction is not dissimilar to that of alcoholism. However, while physical dependency on alcohol might take a long time to develop, drug abuse can turn to addiction before you even know what hit you, sometimes with a single use of the most addictive drugs.
Drug abuse is the regular use of drugs without the physical reliance on them. A person is not technically addicted to drugs until they become physically dependent on them, however the fastest route to drug addiction is from drug abuse. While it’s possible for someone to occasionally use drugs and not get addicted, the way the brain responds to prolonged drug abuse makes it almost impossible not to get hooked.
When a person has begun a course of drug abuse, they will quickly exhibit behavioral signs of which their loved ones should be mindful. They include, but are not limited to:
With numbers of addicts and fatalities rising every year within the age group, the populations most vulnerable to drug abuse have traditionally always been and continue to be children, teenagers and young adults. Exposure to drugs from experimentation is occurring earlier and earlier—with drug abuse being reported by children starting as young as ten years old. Alarmingly many children today have progressed from drug abuse into drug addiction before they even get their driver's license! The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) maintains a continuously updated national database of drug abuse rehab centers in your local area, as well as the leading recommended drug abuse rehab centers in the United States and around the world.