Home > Common Causes > Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 3 Jun 2016 | comments*Discuss
Speech speech Difficulty speech

Drug abuse, sometimes also called substance abuse, is a term used to describe the use of both legal and illegal drugs for non-therapeutic and/or non-medical purposes. Alcohol and nicotine are sometimes included in this description, as well as prescription medication that is used incorrectly and inappropriately.

It is estimated that close to 5% of the global population abuses illegal drugs each year, and the number rises higher when the abuse of alcohol, nicotine and legal drugs is added as well. One of the many side effects of drug abuse is an impairment in communication functions.

Drug Abuse and Communication

Drug abuse affects all of the body because, when drugs are ingested or otherwise consumed, they enter the bloodstream and are carried all over. This means that harmful substances enter the brain, and when these substances affect the communication control centre then impairments in speech and language can occur. At a very basic level, drug abuse can be seen as a method of injuring the brain.

This may mean that memory and vocabulary are impaired, that the messages sent to the muscles involved in producing speech are mixed up, that the muscles involved in producing speech can weaken, that the ability to comprehend what others are saying is lowered, and that abilities in writing, reading, listening and even math skills are also affected. Depending on the type, length and severity of drug use, all types of communication can be impaired.

Speech Therapy

If speech is impaired by drug use, speech therapy may be able to rehabilitate an individual’s speech and language abilities to some extent. What occurs in speech therapy will depend upon many variables including the age of the individual, the speech difficulties experienced by the individual, the length of the session (usually between 30 and 60 minutes), whether the session is private or a group session, and the location of the session.

If individuals can still verbally communicate then activities and drills designed to boost vocabulary, learn correct grammar, practice tone and pacing and more may be the basis of therapy sessions. If individuals cannot verbally communicate then the speech therapist may be able to introduce communication aids such as books, charts or computers, or possibly even teach sign language, which may allow the individual to communicate through alternates to verbal speech.

Speech Support

If speech has become impaired due to drug abuse then a full medical check-up should take place to ensure that no other areas of health have been affected. At this time the medical professional should be able to offer further information about the speech difficulty and possible treatment options. Speech therapists and pathologists will also be able to provide further information and support for individuals experiencing speech difficulties.

Regardless of the cause of a speech difficulty or disorder, there are a number of organisations that exist to support individuals with speech problems in the United Kingdom. Many of these organisations are devoted to providing information and advice to those who suffer from a speech disorder, while others are also committed to fundraising for further research in a specific area. Just a few of the organisations operating in the UK today include The British Stammering Association (www.stammering.org) Speakability (www.speakability.org.uk) and Talking Point (www.talkingpoint.org.uk). These organisations will be able to provide further information on specific speech disorders, as well as possible local resources for those experiencing speech difficulties.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
This is a great article. Very informative. Scary info but necessary to know.
Studdevil9 - 3-Jun-16 @ 12:36 AM
implications of drug abuse can inlude death which turns out to be the frustration of adult which accompanies this
prezzy - 25-May-11 @ 2:11 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • None
    Re: Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
    Hi Our nine-year-old daughter has tongue thrust, as discovered only 8 months ago - we were never told about her partial…
    17 August 2017
  • Tgfa
    Re: What to With Problems Pronouncing 'Sh' and 'Ch'?
    Your son could be processing things way to quick like when he Is writing he is already a couple words…
    2 July 2017
  • john
    Re: Speech-Language Therapy
    I been stammering for 60 yrs and its getting worse
    30 June 2017
  • Amy2000
    Re: Lisps
    @CodeLyoko&FreaktownL - good on you for not letting people make you feel different. I wish I was as fearless - but I still feel self-conscious sometimes :(
    25 April 2017
  • CodeLyoko&FreaktownL
    Re: Lisps
    @LisaZZZ I never been bullied for having a lisp (even though a few people told me to speak properly like my dad) then I told them "I have a lithp. Don't you…
    24 April 2017
  • Nanna J
    Re: Children's Speech Sound Disorders
    My 3 year old grand daughter has been diagnosed with speech sound disorder, but my daughter has been told that nothing will…
    13 April 2017
  • thalia
    Re: Receptive Language Disorders
    My son is 13 and has just had his 2nd assessment, with a find of Receptive Language/Pragmatics. He needs an IEP, which previously…
    6 April 2017
  • Murf
    Re: Receptive Language Disorders
    My son is nearly 12 and for about 7 years I've known there is something wrong but didnt know what, last week he was diagnosed with…
    2 March 2017
  • Brookie
    Re: What is Backing Disorder?
    I am a teaching assistant in a main stream primary school. I work with children who have speech and language difficulties.
    15 January 2017
  • Laur
    Re: Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
    Hi is there a myofunctional therapist in west midlands. Im in splint therapy now but still having issues and i believe its…
    15 January 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SpeechDisorder website. Please read our Disclaimer.