Drug or alcohol abuse is the term used to refer to a state of habitual, improper use of either substance. People often abuse drugs or alcohol and become dependent upon them because they stimulate pleasure in the brain and produce euphoria. This state can be so appealing that the brain wants to experience it more and more, resulting in a dependency on the substance that creates the sensation.
The reason as to why a person experiments with drugs or alcohol in the first place is complicated. Sometimes, a person tries them out of curiosity or for the thrill of the experience. Other people do it as a result of peer pressure or to give off a certain image. Many people use drugs as an escape from problems in their lives.
Signs that a person may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem are fairly obvious. However, it can be difficult for others to spot the symptoms, since the victim sometimes withdraws from others or chooses only to be around other users.
Cravings are a major initial sign of drug dependence. Those who depend on a drug have a strong and overwhelming desire to use the drug at specific times. Oftentimes, the drug becomes a part of their daily ritual, and they take the drug before, during, or after eating or upon waking up in the morning. Any disturbance in this ritual or questioning of it causes the abuser annoyance or anger.
Alcohol and drug abuse result in a loss of motivation and a lack of interest in activities that were at one time pleasurable. Using excessive amounts of either substance can cause “blackouts,” which means the person will not remember conversations or events that took place while under the influence. Furthermore, a person is more likely to engage in risky behaviors while intoxicated, such as driving under the influence, sharing needles, or having unsafe sex.
Underage drinking is very prevalent on college campuses. It is difficult to know exactly how much alcohol students consume and the results of the consumption because it is primarily done behind closed doors. A common practice among college students is what is called “pre-gaming” or “pre-partying.” These terms refer to the consumption of alcohol before going out, usually in large amounts and very quickly.
If a person decides to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she faces legal consequences, such as losing his or her driver’s license. This has shown to be the most effective way of reducing drunk driving.
Intoxicated drivers also face jail sentences, confiscation of license plates, and vehicle impoundment or immobilization. Repeat offenders sometimes have an interlock device installed in their vehicles, which measures the driver’s BAC and prevents him or her from starting the vehicle while intoxicated.