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Defining Recreational Drug UseRecreational drug use is the use of any drug, prescription or non-prescription, for non-medical purposes to enhance an experience or to increase pleasure. Recreational drugs include both over-the-counter and other substances like caffeine and nicotine that are legal for consumption in the United States. While many Tennessee residents might first think of teens and young adults, recreational drug use is not limited to these groups as adults who use alcohol and cigarettes make up the largest population of recreation substance users. Not all recreational drug use leads to addiction, but understanding when a person is in danger of crossing the line or has crossed the line can help prevent drug abuse.

Risks of Recreational Drug Use

Not all recreational drug use leads to drug addiction, but using drugs recreationally increases the risk. Although most adults who use alcohol in moderation or for social reasons are able to control their consumption and do not struggle with addiction, people who begin smoking at an early age have a life-long struggle with addiction to cigarettes. Marijuana smoking for medical reasons has become legal in many states, but those who do so for recreational purposes can quickly become addicted to the feelings the drug produces. The most popular drugs used for recreational purposes that Tennessee residents might encounter include:

  • Caffeine and theobromine – found in coffee, tea, cocoa, and soft drinks
  • Marijuana (cannabis) – smoked as cigarettes and baked into food items
  • Alcohol – including beer and wine and regulated for use by adults
  • Tobacco – regulated for use by adults
  • Opiates – this includes prescription pain medication and heroin
  • Cocaine

All recreational drugs lead to tolerance and then to dependence. Once tolerance happens, the person using the drug needs more of the substance to achieve the same results. Tolerance then leads to dependence which means that the person must use the drug in order to feel and function normally. Once dependence on a drug is present, addiction quickly takes over all aspects of the person’s life.

Drug Addiction

When a person becomes addicted to a recreational drug, they lose all ability to control their use of that drug. Although the extent the addiction impacts the users life varies on the type of drug used, all recreational drugs change a person’s life in some way. Drugs like alcohol and opiates work in the central nervous system changing a body’s response time and the way the brain perceives pain. Regular marijuana use can result in memory problems and other health issues. When a person is addicted to a drug, the body and brain no longer do the work they are supposed to do. Without the drug, people who are addicted suffer extreme drug withdrawals, severe mood swings, depression, and an increased risk of overdose. If you or a loved one in Tennessee uses recreational drugs, look for these signs of addiction:

  • Needing more of the substance to achieve the same results
  • Spending money you do not have to get and use the drug
  • Needing a supply of the drug on hand at all times
  • Becoming involved in illegal activity, like stealing, to get and use the drug
  • Engaging in dangerous or risky behaviors while under the influence of the drug

Finding Help for Drug Addiction

The regular use of recreational drugs can lead to tolerance, drug dependence, and addiction. If your or a loved one in Tennessee struggles with drug abuse, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator. We are ready to answer your questions about addiction and help you find treatment.