- Types of drug use:
- Use: involvement with drugs which produce no negative consequences either in the user or in his personal environment. It depends on the quantity, on the frequency and on the physical, psychological and social situation of the person. Not all drugs can be used this way. For example, the majority of smokers are addicted to tobacco.
- Abuse: involvement with drugs which produce negative consequences in the user or in his personal environment (in his health, in his relationships, in his studies or work, etc.). It depends on the pattern of consumption and the personal and social context.
- Dependency: the use of drugs becomes a necessity and a priority over and above many other aspects of life, previously considered more important. The person devotes most of his time to thinking about taking drugs, finding them, getting money to buy them, using them, getting over their effects, etc.
The user needs to take the substance to avoid suffering from withdrawal symptoms, or simply to face everyday life.
- Physical dependency: the organism becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug, to the point where it needs to maintain a certain level of it in the blood in order to function normally. When this level drops below a certain limit the withdrawal symptoms characteristic of each drug start to appear.
The physical dependency can be overcome after a period of detoxification, which in some cases, may require medical help.
- Psychological dependency: the urge to use whichever drug we may be talking about, in order to feel ok or to avoid feeling bad (bored, restless, obsessed with the substance, etc.).
The treatment of psychological dependency may take time and effort since it requires important personal changes, like learning how to overcome boredom, establish relationships, have a good time or face up to anxiety without resorting to drugs. This process may require psychological help.