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Clinical conditions associated with drug misuse

Acute intoxication: may be uncomplicated or associated with bodily injury, delirium, convulsions or coma. Includes ‘bad trips’ due to hallucinogenic drugs Harmful use: a pattern of drug misuse resulting in physical harm (such as hepatitis) or mental harm (such as depression) to the user.

These consequences often elicit negative reactions from other people and result in social disruption for the user Dependence syndrome: obtaining and using the drug assume the highest priorities in the user’s life. A person may be dependent on a single substance (such as diazepam), a group of related drugs (such as the opioids) or a wide range of different drugs. This is the state known colloquially as drug addiction Withdrawal: usually occurs when a patient is abstinent after a prolonged period of drug use, especially if large doses were used. Withdrawal is time-limited, but withdrawal may cause convulsions and require medical treatment Psychotic disorder: many drugs can produce the hallucinations, delusions and behavioural disturbances characteristic of psychosis. Patterns of symptoms may be extremely variable, even during a single episode.

Early onset syndromes (within 48 hours) may mimic schizophrenia or psychotic depression; late-onset syndromes (after two weeks or more) include fl ashbacks, personality changes and cognitive deterioration Personality factors determine how a person copes once addicted and the mechanisms he or she may use to seek help. A number of protective factors are recognised: Consistent parenting Scholastic achievement Involvement in sporting or other hobbies Responsibilities such as managing a home.

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