Drug and Drug Addiction


The term “Drug” is defined by WHO (1969) as any substance that when taken into living organism may modify one or more of its functions.

The WHO Committee of Drugs defines drug dependence as – A state of periodic or chronic intoxication to the individual and to society produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic).

It’s characteristics include :-

  1. An overpowering desire or need to continue taking drug and to obtain it by any means.
  2. A tendency to increase the dose (with time).
  3. A psychic i.e. psychological and sometimes physical (physiological) dependence upon the effects of drug.
  4. Manifestation of particular withdrawal symptoms on abrupt discontinuation of drug.
Drug Addiction: Drug Dependence
Drug Addiction: Drug Dependence

DSM – II categories drug dependence under “Personality Disorders and certain other non-psychiatric mental disorders”.

Drug Addiction

Why people take drugs or causes of drug addiction –

  1. Curiosity –

According to Putnam & Ellinwood (1966) & Ruinn (1970) curiosity is one of the major causes of that initiate youth in drug abuse.

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  1. Peer Influences –

Numerous studies (Sadava 1973) have found that the young person tries a variety of drugs, the more likely is that his or her friends will be users and vice versa. It is also possible that individuals under the pressure of their drug taking friends may start taking drugs.

  1. Social Acceptance –

Young and old individuals living in cultures that facilitate a positive attitude towards drugs are exposed to cultural pressure to accept drugs.

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  1. Availability –

The easy availability of an addictive drug plays an important role in perpetration of drug abuse. Those regions of the world where drugs like cannabis, opium etc. are grown and people have easy access to them, it is likely that drug addiction will be on the higher side.

Causes of Drug Addiction
Causes of Drug Addiction
  1. Source of Pleasure –

Much of the amphetamine abuse and so also the abuse of other drugs is of weekend variety is common among the youth with limited intellectual resources. Adolescents with limited education and with no inherent ability to create constructive leisure for themselves, relieve the monotony of their dull non stimulating existence by congregating in small groups in the nearest city on weekends and taking amphetamines and other drugs which provide them with artificial stimulation or ‘bricks’ and hence derive from life more pleasure.

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  1. Achievement of a particular Sensation –

Some people try variety of drugs to experience new state of consciousness or to generate a particular sensation. These people are under the false belief that drugs will enhance their awareness, or increase sexual or other gratification. Other individuals or the same persons at another time may take drug to reduce anxiety, fatigue, enhance sociability or faster relaxation.

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