The symptoms of drug use are observed at the physical, mental and mood levels. In addition, diseases that produce characteristic symptoms often arise with long-term use. Each drug produces specific symptoms (tobacco, alcohol, xanthines, benzodiazepines, marijuana, alokinogens, amphetamines, synthetic drugs, cocaine, opiates and inhalants).
The World Health Organization (WHO) defin modify one or more functions of it, capable of generating dependence characterized by the drive to take the substance continuously or periodically, to in order to obtain its effects, and sometimes, to avoid the discomfort its lnes drugs as “any substance that introduced into the living organism, caack”.
Berjano and Musitu in 1987, concluded that for a substance to be considered as a drug it must meet the following characteristics:
- Make it a substance consumed voluntarily.
- That is consumed with the purpose of obtaining physical and / or psychological changes.
- That, as a consequence of the effect of psychic changes derived from consumption, a psychological need to continue consuming the substance appears in the consumer.
- That the drug character has social acceptance, that is, that the community perceives the product as capable of causing the effects described above.
It is important to bear in mind that not all substance use is the same and does not imply the same risks and consequences. There are different patterns of consumption: experimental, occasional, habitual, compulsive or drug dependent. Not all consumption is by definition a dependency.
Symptoms and effects of drug use
The symptoms of consumption vary depending on the substance, so we are going to detail the short and long term effects of each of the most common substances .
Its smoke contains some 4000 chemical substances, among them: nicotine, irritants, carbon monoxide and tars, many of them potentially carcinogenic and harmful to health.
Short-term effects : stimulates and promotes alertness, increases heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Sensation of relaxation
Long-term effects : respiratory and circulatory disorders, hypertension, increased possibility of different types of cancer.
It is a central nervous system depressant and acts by blocking the functioning of the brain system responsible for controlling inhibitions. The main component of alcoholic beverages is ethanol.
Due to the great acceptance that it has in addition to the marked social character, it allows to give consumption patterns that are considered normal, even if they are excessive.
Short-term effects : disinhibition, decreased tension, loquacity, decreased attention, drunkenness.
Long-term effects : gastritis, sexual impotence, cirrhosis, memory loss.
They are a group of substances with the ability to enhance to a greater or lesser extent different actions of the central nervous system. The main xanthines are caffeine (found in coffee), theophylline (in tea leaves) and theobromine (in cocoa).
Short-term effects : stimulation, reduction of fatigue and sleep.
Long-term effects : irritability, restlessness, insomnia, cardiac arrhythmias in people with predisposition.
The benzodiazepines are the most useful group of drugs, more widely accepted for treating anxiety states.
Short and long term effects : drowsiness, sedation, muscle relaxation, respiratory depression, anxiety reduction.
They are compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, and their chemical components are complex and varied, being the most known cannabinoles.
Short-term effects : euphoria, calm, well-being, stunning, eliminates inhibitions, increases appetite, possible unpleasant reactions such as panic and anxiety.
Long-term effects : amotivational syndrome, decreased ability to concentrate and memory, psychosis .
They are substances capable of causing alterations in the perception of the subject that consumes them. The best known is LSD, but there are many more types of hallucinogenic drugs .
Short-term effects : sensation of greater sensory acuity, alterations of the state of mind, perceptive alterations, “bad trip” (unpleasant sensations).
Long-term effects : flash-back (episodes of recurrence of effects), anxiety disorders , depression, psychosis, insomnia.
Its main action is to enhance the activity of the central nervous system. Initially they were used as drugs for the treatment of narcolepsy or Parkinson’s among others.
Short-term effects : euphoria, nervousness, insomnia, loquacity, increased confidence and self-satisfaction, agitation, aggression, lack of appetite and fatigue, hyperactivity, increased attention and concentration.
Long-term effects : severe depressions .
They are a set of psychoactive substances that are made by chemical synthesis in clandestine laboratories.
Some are made from drugs that were withdrawn because they have no therapeutic use. These substances have an additional toxic potential due to the amount of adulterants that are used. The best known is ecstasy.
Short-term effects : euphoria, pleasure, intensify perception, hallucinogenic potential, increase in blood pressure, tachycardia, hyperthermia, thirst, contraction of the jaw.
Long-term effects : changing moods, anorexia and sexual dysfunctions.
Cocaine derivatives are obtained from the coca leaf, a plant that was traditionally used by South American Indians, but their consumption patterns have undergone a great variation since then.
Its consumption is widespread, although in principle it was associated with well-off social classes. The main substances are cocaine, crack and free base.
Short-term effects : euphoria, excitement, reduction of fatigue and sleep, increased self-confidence, lucidity and mental alertness, pupillary dilation, increased heart rate, blood pressure and sweating.
Long-term effects : anorexia, insomnia, loss of concentration, sexual apathy, impotence, cardiac alterations, alterations in the nasal septum, depression, cocaine psychosis.
They are a set of substances derived from the opium plant with a powerful depressant and analgesic action on the central nervous system.
They also have the capacity to generate tolerance and dependence quickly. Among these substances, the best known are opium, heroin , methadone, codeine and morphine.
Short-term effects : relaxation, drowsiness , pupillary contraction, euphoria, satiety in the impulses, respiratory depression, decrease in body temperature.
Long-term effects : anorexia, constipation, cardiac and circulatory disorders, infections, absence of menstruation and complications for the use of the parental route (derives in diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis).
They are the group of chemical substances with diverse industrial or domestic applications that, although in Europe their consumption is not very widespread, they are widely used in other countries.
The most important substances are those derived from petroleum: lacquers, paints, stain removers or plastic glues.
Short-term effects : euphoria, laughter, cough, nausea, confused speech, empty eyes and disturbances of perception.
Long-term effects : headache, liver, kidney and heart damage , loss of memory and concentration, brain damage.
Risk factors in drug use
In the case of drug use, a series of factors have been established that may predispose or increase the likelihood of their appearance. It is a multi-causal phenomenon, in which the main factors are:
Factors related to the substance
The substance is not in itself a fundamental element, but it acquires importance insofar as it is used by the person with a specific function. Because of this, and because of the chemical composition and habits and consumption patterns, they make the consequences of the intake vary in each person.
Factors related to the environment
Consumption is affected by the sociocultural environment in which the person lives and more specifically by their closest environment, that is, the family, the group of friends, work, etc.
Among the main factors related to the environment we can find:
- Low family cohesion and consumption in the family.
- Dependence of the group of friends, consumption in the group of friends and lack of school integration.
- Bad work environment
- Easy access to substance, tolerant social attitudes towards consumption, lack of resources for the healthy use of free time, advertising of legal drugs.
These factors constitute a decisive element in the appearance of consumption. Certain personality traits and individual characteristics, together with other factors, may favor the initiation and maintenance of consumption.
Among the main related factors are:
- Deficit or blockage in the management of social skills.
- High search for sensations and poor ability to protect themselves from situations of risk.
- Lack of conformity with social norms.
- Difficulty managing stress
- High need for social approval and lack of autonomy with respect to the group.
- Under control of their behavior and inability to anticipate negative consequences.
- Search for magical solutions to solve problems.
- Low ability to temporarily delay their desires and search for immediate gratification.
- Low tolerance to frustration.
- Dissatisfaction in the use of free time.
- Low school performance.
- Lack of knowledge about drugs or favorable attitudes toward them and confusion with the value system.
- Low self-esteem.
Data on current consumption in Spain
The results of the surveys and studies carried out in the country on drug use indicate the following:
- There is a high percentage of the school population between 14 and 18 years old that has had contact with different drugs. Mainly with alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and cocaine. The dominant consumption pattern in these cases is experimental or sporadic, associated with playful contexts.
- There is a reduction in the age of onset of drug use.
- In the adult population the use of tranquilizers and hypnotics grows , in particular those that are not used under medical prescription.
- The use of heroin continues to decrease gradually and the consumption of cocaine increases dramatically.
- Tobacco and alcohol are the most consumed substances, although in recent years there has been a slight reduction in consumption levels.
- In recent years, the percentage of consumers of cocaine, cannabis derivatives and volatile substances has increased, especially among young people. Cannabis derivatives are the most consumed illegal substances in the country in the young population, even above tobacco.