Substance Abuse Disorders
Drug dependence is the abuse of a drug to the point that one’s physical health, psychological functioning, or ability to exist within the demands of society is threatened. Drug abuse and addiction are often considered strictly social problems. However, there is overwhelming evidence that in addition to the detrimental short-term effects, drug abuse has long-term effects on brain metabolism and activity. With habitual use, changes occur in the brain, turning drug abuse into an illness of addiction. Individuals who are addicted to drugs have compulsive drug cravings and are typically unable to quit by themselves; treatment is necessary to end the compulsive behavior.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 1 - Update on General Medicine. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.