Drug abuse has become one of the most pressing issues of societies all over the world. Given that drug addiction has created a lot of negative effects, governments are becoming more and more aggressive in looking for strategies that can curb it especially among the youth. Communities are being made aware of the effects of drug addiction in families, friendships, career, among many others.
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There are various reasons why people decide to do drugs, and this is why people should know what drug abuse is all about and what possible solutions can be done to solve the issue.
Here are some of the things you should know about drug addiction and how to handle someone with a drug abuse dilemma:
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE PRONE TO DRUG ABUSE?
PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION
One of the most common reasons why people do drugs is because they feel alone in the struggles they are facing. Depression makes someone vulnerable to drug addiction because it makes a person feel detached from realities.
Drugs act on the processes in the brain, and this is why people who are depressed feel that drugs are an effective way to escape from the struggles they have.
PEOPLE EXPOSED TO AN ENVIRONMENT OF DRUG ADDICTS
Influence is a major factor in drug abuse. When people are exposed in an environment where others are under the influence of drugs, they can easily adapt to what they see. Practically everyone – regardless of sex, age, and financial status – is vulnerable to drug addiction if the environment is the problem.
Teenagers are going through identity crisis, which makes them vulnerable topeer pressure. Adolescence does a lot to a person psychologically and physically, and this makes the process challenging for teens. Their decision-making skills are being molded at this phase, and this is the stage wherein adolescents tend to experiment a lot.
Without proper guidance from families, especially parents, teenagers can easily be attracted to doing drugs.
CHILDREN OF DRUG USERS
When parents are using drugs, their children will most probably copy their routine especially when they are living in the same home. Children’s exposure to their parent’s drug addiction can result to their curiosity to try it too.
SIGNS OF DRUG ABUSE THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER IGNORE
It is not easy to tell if someone is using drugs unless physical signs are already visible. Here are the most common signs you should watch out for if you think that someone you know might be engaging in drug abuse:
- Abrupt weight loss
- Dilated pupils
- Tremors, chills, tingling of fingers and toes
- Severe sweating
- Dry mouth and lips
- Inability to have eye contact
- Bruises, mouth sores, acne
- Severe drying of skin and hair
- Inability to perform usual tasks and activities
- Slurred speech
- Tightening and clenching of jaw
- Reddening of the eyes
- Runny or sniffy nose
- Looks lethargic and drained all the time (especially after the effect of drugs)
It is also important to know the behavioral signs that occur to a person who is engaged in drug addiction. While there are many symptoms depending on the substance being abused, here are the most common behavioral signs that can be observed among drug addicts:
- Inability for decision-making
- Lack of focus and coordination
- Detachment and interest to spend more time along
- Being energetic (speedy speech, restlessness, increased volume of voice, exaggerated bodily movements, etc.)
- Intense mood swings
- Sudden changes in relationships and social networks
- Drastic changes in sleeping patterns
- Aggression and irritability
- Violent behavior
- Reduced consciousness to reality
WHY IS IT DIFFICULT FOR DRUG ADDICTS TO QUIT?
When a drug addict decides to quit and do it by himself, the whole thing usually fails. Drug addicts do not have the ability to quit easily because they have lost the capability to make firm decisions for themselves. Because drugs react with and disrupt the normal chemical processes in the brain, it is very difficult for them to fight their impulses and sudden mood swings.
Addiction becomes a brain disease, and this controls the person’s ability to quit. The addict loses sight of the bad effects that drugs can cause because of his or her sense of reality is distorted. Repeated and lengthened drug abuse becomes a routine, and this tricks the brain and the whole body system to feel that the drugs are the reason for one’s positive feelings.
As a result, the addict will keep on looking for ways on how to get the dose he or she needs to maintain the euphoric feeling. This is especially true for those who are facing struggles in life and have turned to drugs as a way to escape from realities.
THE BENEFITS OF EARLY INTERVENTION
Drug addiction gets worse through time. The negative impact on health, family, relationships, and career also get worse if drug addiction would not be given the right attention and treatment.
While a person will not easily admit that he or she is suffering from drug abuse,early intervention should be done as soon as the drug addiction is discovered. The longer it is delayed, the more a person and the people around him or her will be vulnerable to the risk of drug addiction.
Early intervention from experts will save the person from drug addiction and the results that it may cause if it continues. Therefore, anyone who thinks that a friend or a family member has a drug addiction should immediately consider encouraging the person to seek help from someone who can help and understand the situation.
DISCUSSING THE ISSUE WITH THE ADDICT
First off, it is important that you encourage a drug addict to accept and acknowledge the problem. There are some cases that drug addicts themselves make the important step of initiating to face the issue by discussing it with his or her family members and friends.
Open doors for the person to discuss the reasons why he or she decided to do drugs. Then, keep on reminding the person that you will do your best to extend the help he or she needs.
Motivate the person to also discuss the issue with other family members and friends; try to do this by saying that the burden will be lighter if it will be solved with the people the person loves. From there, you can easily convince the drug addict to seek the help of an expert to clearly define the possible solutions that can be done.
It is not easy to convince an addict to get an expert advice, but you should always take the extra mile to push him or her to do it. An expert will be very straightforward with the person’s needs, either it is a rehabilitation treatment or if it is a program that should be implemented at home.
Of course, it will always help to monitor how a person is doing. Take the time to ask questions, and give more time to listen to the answers the person will give. Always take the effort to make the person feel that you are ready to talk about everything, whether it’s about a new hobby or some plans to go on a vacation.
Discussing the issue with the drug addict is not enough; you should also discuss how he or she is doing all through the treatment.
HELPING RECOVERING ADDICTS IN TREATMENT
The first thing you have to do is to understand the effects of the substance someone is taking so that you will get a better picture of the whole thing, and it will be easier for you to explain to the person what he or she is going through throughout the process of getting treatment. Getting someone screened by an expert also helps, and this is for you to know the emotional, physical, and mental status of the person for you to easily track improvements.
Recovering addicts should be made aware the stages of the treatment that he or she will go through to make the person understand that the process will be a challenging one but is possible to accomplish.
Take the time to talk to the person. Ask how he or she is feeling, because you will easily tell that there is progress by the way a person shares his or her stories. Make sure that other friends and family members are involved in the process too, so that the person will feel that there is a strong support system and that he or she is not alone.
Anyone who has tried doing drugs is vulnerable to relapse. Therefore, the person should be exposed to things like new hobbies, traveling, going back to school, and working out so that his or her mind will not go in that direction again. The people around the recovering addict should monitor the activities of the person so that it will be easier to fight the possibility of the person’s relapse.
GROUPS INVOLVED IN DRUG ABUSE INTERVENTION AND TREATMENT
Family is a major part of one’s support system. The whole process of drug addiction treatment would not be successful if a person is not getting the support he or she needs from the family.
Family members, especially the immediate ones, should be involved in the treatment process so that the person will not feel that he or she is neglected or forgotten by the family. It is highly recommended that families dedicate time for activities with the recovering addict. Activities can be some sort of a new hobby, sport, or getting involved in charity work.
The community is also vital in one’s battle to fight drug addiction. This includes the person’s friends and people from the local church.
Usually, communities implement their own strategies to divert people’s attention from drugs. This is a good venue for someone to survive drug addiction, because being active in the community creates a sense of responsibility. Treating drug addiction should be done not only by the individual and the family, but also of the surrounding community.
What better way to learn how to face the battle other than learning from people who are going through the same thing? Self-help groups are a good way for recovering addicts to understand their situation. This gives the person a venue to share his or her experience without being judged.
Addressing drug abuse in someone you know may not be easy, and it takes a lot of patience and understanding. However, given the right mindset and emotional posture, you could very well be the person that a recovering addict needs to be with.