What is Drug Abuse?

In the case of Drug Abuse specifically, Drugs refer to a group of drugs called psychoactive substances. In the literal sense of the word, psycho (mind) -active substances are substances that act on your mind, or in other words your brain.

Psychoactive substances can be largely grouped into the following categories.

Categories of Psychoactive Substances

For more information, read our article about information on drugs.


Am I addicted to Drugs?

In general, an individual is considered to be addicted to drugs if he or she identifies one or more of the following symptoms:

1. Impaired control

Control over one’s actions can be affected or reduced if someone is addicted to drugs. One common scenario in individuals is the inability to stop at the originally intended amount.

2. Social impairment

If an individual is choosing to spend his/her time consuming drugs or psychoactive substances rather than hanging out with his/her family or friends, it is a sign that the person is addicted.

3. Risky use

Risky use of the substance is problematic when it is continued despite the individual understanding that he/she has a persistent physical/psychological problem that is likely a result of the substance. For example, meth abusers continue to consume meth even though it leads to extreme dry mouth and decay of the gum line.

4. Physical dependence

Physical dependence is generally present if there is either tolerance or withdrawal of the substance. When an individual is tolerant to a drug, he/she needs much more of the same substance to get intoxicated. Withdrawal, on the other hand, is unique to each substance (read more here), and the symptoms can only be relieved by taking the addicted substance.

If you suspect that you’re hooked on drugs, you can take an online assessment provided by NAMS. After the assessment, we recommend that you speak to a professional about the results.


What if I or someone I know is addicted to Drugs?

The first thing we recommend you to do in this scenario is to talk to one of our live chat para-counsellors. If you would like to find out more, you can read our article on why you should quit drugs, or if you’re concerned for someone else, head on over to the friends and family section for more information and advice.