People experiment with drugs for various reasons. Some try it because of curiosity, peer pressure, for relaxation, to improve performance in sports, relieve stress, or some serious personal problems. Using illegal drugs does not equate to abuse, but prolonged use does. Substance abuse and dependence can lead to behavioral, mental, and physical changes involving attention, perception, and judgment of the individual.
Substance abuse is a "pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes" (Buddy). It pertains to abuse and misuse of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines "for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in quantities other than directed" (Buddy). Substance dependence is characterized by compulsive drug use. It begins when an individual experiments with illegal drugs for recreational purposes, which develops into an addiction. Typically, if continued use satisfies a need, then the user finds enough reason to depend on the drugs more.
Those who have a history of addiction in the family and were exposed to it in childhood are very much susceptible to becoming addicts themselves. Others on the list include individuals who have experienced neglect, abuse, or other forms of traumatic experiences when they were little also become victims of drug addiction. Individuals who also experience anxiety or depression are predisposed to drug abuse.
Despite the addiction, some individuals are able to fight substance abuse where they attempt to stop the craving for any forms of illegal drugs. This is called substance withdrawal. Because the body has adjusted to the drugs, anyone attempting to withdraw from using the drugs experience pain, palpitations, sweating, muscle tension, restlessness, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety attacks, among others ("Withdrawal"). This is one of the times when a known drug abuser needs the support and help of family and friends to overcome the drug dependence.
Buddy T. (2013). What is substance abuse. About.com. Retrieved from http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/drugs/a/aa030425a.htm
"Withdrawal". (2013). Addictions and Recovery.org. Retrieved from http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/withdrawal.htm