One thing that defines drugs is that, beyond their potential psychoactive effects and their ability to generate serious addictions, they have reached virtually every corner of human societies. Today we can talk about mass drug use, and in some cases its use has become so normal that it can even be controversial to talk about the harmful effects of some of the more popular ones.
In this article we will do an overview of the most consumed drugs in the world, And we will see their characteristics, and why they are harmful and justify professional assistance in case of addiction.
How does mass dependency arise on a large scale?
In the world, there are many substances capable of entering the human brain and interfering with its functioning. Many of them, moreover, not only alter the normal dynamics of the nervous system, but also make adjustments that predispose us to want to repeat the experience of consuming this substance.
This process by which consuming something directly affects our behavior by going to the base of everything we do, the brain, has not only caused millions of people to have their lives turned upside down due to drugs, but even drug use can already be understood. as a sociological phenomenon, which does not occur in isolated individuals.
Of course, many psychologists see in this fact the need to offer services specially designed to help addicts. Andrés Quinteros Turinetto, psychologist and director of the Cepsim Psychology Center, with several premises in Madrid, underlines that addictions are so complex that they occur in its center intervention programs that always operate from the dual psychiatric and psychotherapeutic approach.
To remedy this, the Cepsim team has created an institution called CEPSIM-CETRAD, which starts from the outset with a global therapy that unites the two approaches. Doing it otherwise would not be as effective, says Adres Quinteros, because where there is behavior (psychology) there is a functioning brain (psychiatry), and vice versa.
Therefore, whenever we talk about the most commonly used drugs, we are not only talking about substances, but also about the behavioral dynamics that usually go hand in hand with their consumption: addictive substances are nothing without the actions that lead to wanting consume more, and mental health professionals can work by changing these patterns of behavior.
The most commonly used drugs and their effects
As we have seen, although the effects of the most popular and widely used drugs vary, they are all based on changes in the brain and changes in the behavior of consumers, predisposing them to continue using. This vicious circle is responsible for the existence of substances as ubiquitous as the following.
We must not forget that alcohol is a drug which, although it is legal in practically all countries, it has two characteristics that make it very dangerous: It is one of the most addicting, and its effects increase the likelihood of death not only in those who consume it, but also in others, as it leads to risky behavior. In addition, it is one of the most widely used drugs and the age at which one begins to drink products containing this substance is getting younger.
On the other hand, the process of giving up alcohol is one of the most complicated, due to the aforementioned intensity of dependence that it generates in consumers who abuse the drink. For that, treatment by medical and psychological professionals is essential, Reminds Andrés Quinteros.
Tobacco is another drug that is so popular that we often forget what it is.
It is a highly addictive substance with a very significant impact on our health, because although its effects on the mind are generally not as intense as those of the other drugs that we see here (beyond predisposing us to adjust our behavior to ‘addiction’ ‘), damages our circulatory system and more than dramatically increases our chances of getting cancer, which worsens the general functioning of the body and ages earlier.
cocaine it is one of the most consumed psychostimulantsIt also appears in very different contexts: from parties and concerts to offices and workplaces, and of course also in homes.
This is because the excitatory effects of cocaine are not only sought after by the feeling of euphoria it produces, but some work environments are so harsh that workers see this substance as short-term support.
Amphetamines are based on excessive potentiation of the effects of dopamine and norepinephrine, Substances naturally present in the brain and acting as neurotransmitters, that is, messenger molecules that go from one neuron to another.
On the other hand, its stimulating effects of amphetamines have meant that in some cases, and only under medical supervision, versions of this substance are used as drugs to treat certain disorders, such as narcolepsy or ADHD.
Andrés Quinteros points out that the use of this substance as a medicine, although it can be relatively beneficial in specific cases, always comes with the risk of addiction for patients.
Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant related to amphetamine, which, as we have seen, is also one of the most widely used drugs, especially in Western countries. It is also one of the most addictive drugs in the world, which is why is very present in drug trafficking and is legally available only with a prescription.
While the effects of this substance begin with a general state of arousal, Andrés Quinteros explains that many people addicted to this drug find themselves in a state of constant stagnation and exhaustion due to the fact that they become unable to sleep for several days.
Cannabis or marijuana is a substance extracted from different variants of the Cannabis sativa plant, and bases its psychoactive functioning on a molecule called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Marijuana has the particularity of having an ambivalence in its ability to induce states of depression or activation of the nervous system, because it is able to generate both states of calm and relaxation and excitement and euphoria.
On the other hand, other typical effects of cannabis are the disorder of ideas and speech, disorientation and induction into states of confusion or even paranoia. In some cases also they appear effects of dissociative type, like hallucinations or unrealization; and one of its most dangerous effects should not be forgotten: their ability to trigger psychotic attacks in people genetically predisposed to it.
While other widely consumed drugs are used mainly in social contexts, in comparison the characteristics of cannabis favor that this substance be consumed alone or in very small groups, maintaining a passive attitude.
On the other hand, while cannabis is not as addictive as other illegal drugs, we have seen that it is capable of generating a dependencySomething to which teens and young adults, major users of marijuana, are particularly vulnerable.
Also known as Ecstasy or Molly, This drug is linked to recreational contexts and more particularly to electronic music events, even if its popularity is such that it has long overwhelmed this kind of scene. In fact, it is one of the drugs most used by young people on weekends, usually around the time of their day. socialize.
The effects of MDMA, which appear 45 minutes after taking the dose, are related to the appearance of a feeling of satisfaction and euphoria, As well as a greater extraversion and a desire for socialization. But beyond its effects as a stimulant, ecstasy can cause very dangerous imbalances in the body’s ability to regulate temperature, as well as high risk kidney complications.
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- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018). Graphics of drugs with habitual abuse. Revised 06/19/2019.
- Parrott, AC (2014). The potential dangers of using MDMA for psychotherapy. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 46 (1): 37 – 43.