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Understanding Drug Abuse: From Novelty Seeking to Addiction

Drug abuse is a pervasive issue that encompasses various substances and behaviours, from alcohol dependence to gaming disorder.

Novelty Seeking and Drug Abuse

Novelty seeking refers to the tendency to seek out new and stimulating experiences, often driven by curiosity and a desire for excitement. Individuals with high novelty-seeking traits may be more prone to experimenting with drugs or engaging in risky behaviours, as they seek novel experiences and sensations. Factors such as genetics, environmental influences, personality traits, and early life experiences can contribute to novelty seeking and its potential link to drug abuse.

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence, also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a chronic condition characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, loss of control over drinking, and withdrawal symptoms when not consuming alcohol.

Factors Contributing to Alcohol Dependence: Genetic predisposition, social and cultural factors, psychological factors like stress or trauma, and environmental influences play roles in the development of alcohol dependence.

Impact and Consequences: Alcohol dependence can lead to a range of negative consequences, including health problems, impaired relationships, legal issues, and financial difficulties.

Gaming Disorder

Gaming disorder is a behavioral addiction characterized by excessive and compulsive gaming, leading to significant impairment in various areas of life, such as work, education, and social relationships. Factors such as easy access to gaming devices, social isolation, underlying mental health issues like depression or anxiety, and reinforcement mechanisms within games contribute to the development of gaming disorder.

When Drug Abuse Becomes an Illness

Drug abuse transitions into a clinically recognized illness when it significantly impairs an individual’s physical health, mental well-being, social functioning, and overall quality of life.

Understanding the risk factors, impacts, and when drug abuse transitions into a recognized illness is crucial for effective prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies. By promoting awareness, education, and access to support services, we can address the complexities of drug abuse and work towards healthier, addiction-free communities.

Dr. Sreelekshmi S.
Junior Consultant Psychiatry
SUT Hospital, Pattom