Narcotic Abuse Topic Guide
Narcotic Abuse: In 2007, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services reported that 21% of people over 12 years of age used prescription painkillers nonmedically. Narcotic abuse is when people use narcotics for reasons apart from the narcotic's pain-relief purpose. Signs and symptoms of narcotic abuse include euphoria, shallow breathing, small pupils, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, confusion, and needle marks on the skin. Treatment involves addressing the long-term psychological dependence associated with narcotic abuse and administering medications such as buprenorphine, clonidine, and naltrexone to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
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Addiction Addiction is possible whenever ingesting a substance causes the basic pleasure and reward circuits in the brain to activate. Addiction is an illness that requires treatment, because people with addictions cannot stop on their own. Symptoms of addiction include a person's inability to stop using the substance, devoting a lot of time and effort toward obtaining, using, and recovering from the substance's effects, discontinuing important social, employment, and recreational activities due to preoccupation with the substance, developing tolerance for the substance, and developing withdrawal symptoms.