The nicotine in tobacco products is an additive substance. It alters in your body chemistry so that you’re different with it than you are without it. Without it, you can become irritable, anxious, hostile, depressed, impatient, and restless. Smoking, with its physical effects, is definitely a Gotta Have It! activity. But tobacco isn’t just smoked; it’s also snorted, dipped, and chewed. Whatever its form, tobacco has nicotine as a powerful, addictive hook.
I’m glad to live in a time when understanding and research have advanced to the point where so many chronic conditions and symptoms cna be relieved or even eliminated through the use of pharmaceutical medications. These pharmaceuticals are like a two-sided coin — each has its positive, beneficial side and its negative, harmful side. If something is strong enough to help you, it’s also probably strong enough to harm you if not used properly.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says the following: “The nonmedical use or abuse of prescription drugs is a serious and growing health problem in this country.” Abuse comes when these wonder drugs are used outside of their narrowly defined prescribed-use parameters.
Any prescription drug has the potential for abuse, but there are certain categories that appear more at risk.
NIDA identifies the following: “Commonly abused classes of prescription medications include opiods (for pain), central nervous system depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy).” According to the same report, “In 2008, 15.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.”
This study was based upon prescribed medications and did not even investigate the abuse that goes on with over-the-counter products and medications, such as sleeping aids, laxatives, and appetite suppressants. When dealing with these substances, a little may be good, but a lot is definitely not.
SOURCE: Chapter 2, “Examine Your Excess,” in Gotta Have It! by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.