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Substance misuse


Dependence on drugs is a combination of physiological, behavioural, and cognitive phenomena in which the use of a substance takes on a much higher importance for a given individual than any other behaviours that once had a greater value. Drugs of abuse comprise cannabis, opioids (opiates), CNS stimulants (cocaine, crack, amphetamines, ecstasy, crack), CNS depressants (barbiturates, benzodiazepines, alcohol), hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin), and volatile substances (glues, gases, aerosols).


Opioid misuse and dependence are connected with a broad range of problems, such as overdose; infection with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C; anaemia; thrombosis; poor nutrition; dental disease; relationship breakdown; criminal behaviour; social exclusion; lost productivity; unemployment; imprisonment; prostitution, and withdrawal symptoms. Problems associated with excessive alcohol use cover hypertension, hand tremors, accidental injury, gastrointestinal bleeding, duodenal ulcers, cognitive impairments, anxiety and depression. The development of alcohol dependence seems to involve changes in brain neurotransmission.


Treatment programmes help people with drug and alcohol problems comprise a range of individually psychosocial interventions such as counselling, self-help groups, rehabilitation programmes, as well as medication.










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