Substance abuse, or drug abuse is about using a drug in ways that harm the health of its consumer. Very often, substance abuse involves taking drugs that are illegal, or using a drug that is legal for something other than its intended purpose. The term also covers the case of someone taking too much of a drug on purpose; very often this is called overdose. Psychoactive drugs are often abused.
The people who perform substance abuse are often addicted. The drugs most often associated with this term include alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines (particularly alprazolam, temazepam, diazepam and clonazepam), cocaine, methaqualone, and opioids. Since many of these substances are illegal, very often the consumers also have a problem with the law.
In many cases, the personality of people change, when they are under the influence of a drug. Sometimes, crimes are committed under the influence of drugs. In many cases, people behave in antisocial ways. It has been observed that people who abuse drugs over a longer time often change their personality as well.
Substance abuse is the second most common risk factor for suicide after major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Both chronic substance misuse as well as acute substance abuse are associated with suicide. When combined with personal grief, the risk of suicide is greatly increased. More than 50% of suicides have some relation to alcohol or drug use and up to 25% of suicides are committed by drug addicts and alcoholics, among adolescents, it is as high as 70%.
|Substance abused||Effects related to suicide|
|Alcohol||Alcohol misuse is associated with a number of mental health disorders, and alcoholics have a very high suicide rate. Suicide from alcoholism is more common in older adults. It has been found that drinking 6 drinks or more per day results in a sixfold increased risk of suicide. High rates of major depressive disorder occur in heavy drinkers and heavy drinking itself can cause major depressive disorder in a lot of alcoholics.|
|Benzodiazepines||Chronic use or abuse of prescribed benzodiazepines like Xanax, is associated with depression as well as increased suicide risk. Depressed adolescents who were taking benzodiazepines were found to have a greatly increased risk of self harm or suicide.|
|Cigarette smoking||There have been many studies showing a link between smoking, thinking about suicide and suicide attempts. In studies conducted among 50,000 nurses,and 300,000 male U.S. Army soldiers, those smoking between 1 to 24 cigarettes per day had twice the suicide risk; 25 cigarettes or more, 4 times the suicide risk, as compared with those who had never smoked.|
|Cocaine||Misuse of drugs such as cocaine often has a link with suicide. The time when the effects of a drug wear off is called "crash" or withdrawal phase. During this phase, many people feel bad. Suicide is most likely to occur during this phase in chronic cocaine-dependent users. Using more than one drug is more often linked with suicide in younger adults.|
|Crystal meth||Crystal meth use has a strong link with depression and suicide as well as a range of other adverse effects on physical and mental health.|
|Heroin||Deaths among heroin users attributed to suicide range from 3% to 35%. Overall, heroin users are 14 times more likely than their non-using peers to die from suicide.|
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