Drug addicts’ brain stimulates illegal, criminal activities - GulfToday

Drug addicts’ brain stimulates illegal, criminal activities

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

Dr Rida Tariq

Drug abuse refers to the use of certain drug substances that stimulate chemicals that produce pleasurable effects on the brain. It could be misuse of drugs like antidepressants, LSD, prescribed drugs, caffeine, etc. Over 350,000 people lose their lives from misuse of drugs (overdosed) each year. Drug of abuse is developed by different reasons like peer pressure among young children, long-term use of such medicines as antidepressants, opioids. On the basis of research, the causes, risk factors specially among teenagers, treatment are pointed out in this article.

Excessive use of OTC, prescribed drugs or illegal drugs leads to dependence, which further causes severe addiction with negative conclusions. It is a psychological illness with high mortality risks and rate. The use of prescription drugs that were originally intended to target pain relief may have turned into recreational use and become addictive Chemicals may be used as part of religious practices or rituals, recreational purposes as a means of obtaining creative inspiration. Not only the long term damage is caused to the body, drug addicts who use needles are also at the risk of contacting HIV and Hepatitis infections.

Drug abuse is most common in adolescents and teenagers because of many reasons. Peer pressure is the major reason and the experimental use of recreational drugs. Family factors also mentioned such as childhood trauma, disputed or broken family. It is also worth noticing that an academic problem contributes to drug abuse. These findings resulted that if the mental health is improved by behavioral or cognitive therapy and social situations are controlled or avoided it can cause a huge difference and helps in the treatment.


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Moreover, risk factors are sometimes salient in adolescences. Although genetic factors and environmental factors associated with family gathering also play a significant part in development of this illness.

The human brain consists of various nerves interconnected that coordinate to perform specific functions. To transfer chemicals or messages from one nerve cell to other, neurotransmittors are released that attach with neuron and cause changes. 

The addictive drugs stimulate brain’s “reward system” by elevating Dopamine levels. Drugs like Marijuana, Cannabis, LSD interferes with your brain chemicals putting you in the state of euphoria where you feel happy and excited.

Because these drugs mimic your brain’s neurons, they don’t activate them in the same way and this may lead to other adverse effects.

It has been believed that stress and drug addiction is interrelated. Experimenting different models demonstrated that neurophysiological changes occur when humans or animals are stressed. Psychoactive drugs also affect these changes. Studies also show that humans either stressed physically or psychologically facilitated drug self-administration that increases the rate of drug abuse

Moreover, chronic stress can also increase the chance of drug intake. An experimental study took place on 2015. They subjected stress-susceptible mice to consume Fentanyl for 15 days. This resulted that stressed mice consumed more Fentanyl than unstressed mice. Male mice consumed more drug than female. It also proved that stress-sensitised Fentanyl consumption also depends on gender and behavioral outcomes.


Symptoms of drugs may vary in different ways. The intoxication and amount depends.

For the evaluation, one goes through certain assessments and sessions with Psychiatrists and drug counselor. Mental illnesses are complex to diagnose due to the similarity in symptoms. Some patients have shown both substance use disorder and other mental illness that proceeds to the severity comparative to those with single illness.

According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), high rate of illicit drugs is correlated with illegal and criminal activities. Around 65% outpatients drug-free clients reported weekly or daily use of anti-depressants.

Treatment is basically withdrawal therapy depending on the drugs consumed. The goal of the treatment is detoxification, to capacitate you to stop drug intake as safely as possible.

Your healthcare provider should know the types of drugs you have consumed in order to proceed treatment program and in the betterment of you mental health as well.

The rates of drug abuse are increasing with comorbidity. Mental health issues, social circle, peer pressure, family issues and genetics lying under the circumstances of consuming drugs especially among adolescents.

To treat patients with comorbidity of mental health issues like depression or anxiety with drug addiction, different programmes take place to grow awareness among teenagers to decrease the rising trend of drug addiction. Different treatment protocols like behavioral therapy, psychological sessions and withdrawal therapy helps in reducing the drug abuse in patients.

In Pakistan, the prevalence of drug abuse is increasing to its extent. This rate of increase is under the concern of rehabilitation and health care providers to improvise and take preventive measures.

Concluding the circumstances, we reach the point that drug abuse is a highly dangerous illness that if proceeds to severity may lead to fatal death. Excessive use of OTC drugs or even painkillers are abusive which is detected by specific symptoms. These symptoms should be considered as adverse effects however consultancy with specialists is necessary to steer clear of drugs.


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