Addictions have become very common in modern society and affect men and women of all ages. Youngsters are most at risk with the freedom to experiment. The media brings them information about fashions from advanced countries. Youngsters wish to imitate what they see.
The influence of media can be very harmful. Films, television, and the internet are full of news about addictions. De-addiction therapy is the path of breaking the habit with medications and addiction issues counseling. What could be the diverse addiction causes?
Various kinds of addictions
Any activity that becomes a destructive habit may be termed an addiction. Even food could become an addiction. Shopping is a commonly abused activity. The harm done in these cases will not severely affect a person’s health.
Addictions cause dependence. Psychological and physical dependence can be serious. The central nervous system suffers. When consumption is stopped, complex withdrawal symptoms occur.
When the possibility of damage from the addiction is serious, it is called abuse. Tobacco and alcohol along with a variety of drugs are habits that become harmful in the long run. They start as innocent recreational habits. The habits gradually affect the mind, body, and physical performance. Economic, social, and environmental losses are related.
Dimensions of the problem
According to the World Health Organization, alcohol abuse causes 3 million deaths globally each year. Tobacco abuse causes 5 million deaths annually. The figure for drug-related deaths is not very high in comparison but overdoses kill many.
The important role of social media
In the days of very powerful social media, can it help the recovery of addicts? Social media works both ways, for good and harm. While addicts contact each other online via social media and even procure substances easily for home delivery, social media can support recovery. Online groups fight the battle against substance abuse and render moral support. Raising funds for such helping causes would be facilitated online.
Governments, NGOs, social service groups, and concerned individuals and agencies can raise a voice against addictions. Some countries encourage free trade with dangerous substances like illegal drugs while other countries are very strict. Many countries including the advanced ones like America are opening up to the medical wonders of marijuana which is quite legal now in most states, even for recreational use.
Since drinking alcohol does not involve legal dangers, it is easy to abuse. Some countries do maintain the prohibition on alcohol but the black market thrives.
THE KILLING TOBACCO CONSUMPTION SYNDROME
While everybody is familiar with the smoking habit, tobacco is actually consumed in several ways. Chewing by itself and with betel, and vaping are some other equally harmful methods. Made up of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar, tobacco is a silent killer indeed.
Along with cigars and cigarettes, beedis are also consumed widely in India. Hookah is a ceremonial pipe with the smoke passing through water for a cooling effect. Snuff is inserted in the nose while gutkha is consumed with betel. E-cigarettes and vaping with e-liquids have recently commenced.
The harmful impact of Tobacco:
Every part of the human body stands at risk from tobacco. In the head and neck region, it could be stroke and blindness or gum infection.
Heart disease and pneumonia are other dangers. Aortic rupture, asthma, and lung cancer are possible.
Hardening of the arteries and reduced fertility are additional dangers.
Negative consequences of nicotine consumption
Psychological: Research has established that unhealthy tobacco affects the mind and thinking processes.
Biological: Growth suffers and stunted growth is one of the factors along with a direct impact upon the lungs and mouth.
Social: Groups of tobacco smokers or chewers hurt the morale of society.
Environmental: The vast global tobacco industry destroys the environment directly and indirectly. Consider the destruction of trees for paper and cardboard making. Economically, sums of money that many cannot afford are spent on sustaining the tobacco habit.
The damaging impact upon health
Respiratory ailments: Asthma, tuberculosis, COPD, and emphysema
Cardio-vascular disease: Stroke and coronary heart disease
Harmful effects on pregnant women
- Miscarriage and abortion
- premature birth
- and defective placenta
Cancers that tobacco can cause:
- Lungs and liver
- pancreas and kidney
- Oral cavity, nasal cavity
- Cervix and urinary bladder
- The upper gastrointestinal tract, etc.
The negative effect upon newborns and kids
- Tobacco use during pregnancy could adversely affect the unborn child.
- Asthma risk increases
- High blood pressure
- Stunted physiology
- Weakened lungs
- Congenital malformations in the baby like clubfoot and oro-facial cleft
Conditions that get worse with tobacco use
- Diabetes and kidney problems
- Rheumatoid conditions
- Eye disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- And inflammatory bowel disease
THE ALCOHOL ABUSE SYNDROME
we right jumping into the Alcohol abuse part, let's see some common global varieties of alcohol.
Some common global varieties of alcohol
Alcohol addiction-related severe dangers
- Fatal heart and liver disease
- Weakened immunity function
- Birth defects
- Serious cancer risks
- Sexual issues
- Eyesight issues
- Bone loss
How can alcohol addiction be recognized?
An expert can tell the difference between the social drinker and the alcoholic or addict. They often appear similar. The frequency and intensity of drinks would differ. Alcoholics may binge and go on and off drinking sprees.
Habituated to drinking, alcoholics develop great tolerance and do not suffer so much from hangovers the next morning. Their systems have become used to excessive alcohol consumption. A person drinking alcohol for the first time would react violently.
When alcoholism gets worse, loneliness sets in. The alcoholic avoids the family and friends and escapes into a personal world. Nightmares may result, and fears and worries too.
Dependence applies to every kind of addict, no matter the type of substance like alcohol, drug, or tobacco. Like a car needs petrol to run, alcoholics will need the regular dose to work or study, speak or travel. Daily life requiring alcohol for functioning becomes a great handicap. Supporting the habit requires money.
Instead of the weekends for the social drinker, an alcoholic drinks at odd hours. Drinking all the time or every time becomes the norm. It is true that chronic alcoholics drink early in the morning and even at bedtime. Drinking in the workplace becomes a regular habit.
Social and family relationships change for the alcoholic. Friends who have similar habits gather. Saying goodbye to earlier friends, alcoholics will search for the company of drinkers.
Naturally, alcoholics feel at home in places where drinkers and alcohol are present. They will avoid people and places where no alcohol is present. They will be tense in the absence.
Among the physiological effects of alcohol addiction are emotional imbalance, psychological problems, depression, and lethargy. Whether physical or mental, the alcohol loses the motivation to work.
Sooner, rather than later, the alcoholic runs into problems. Violence at home, legal problems, and issues in the workplace will be the usual results. Loss of employment, and being arrested and imprisoned are some serious consequences of uncontrolled drinking.
The truth is that alcohol controls the person now. The alcoholic has become a slave to the drinking. The person no longer drinks. The alcohol drinks the person.
De-addiction primarily means detoxification
Toxic substances have entered the physiological and psychological systems of the individual during the long years of addiction. The mind, body, soul, and spirit require deep cleansing just like the clothes in the washing machine.
Further, in terms of habits, company, work, and study experiences, individuals suffer lapses. A process of re-education and re-training would prepare them for a normal working or study routine. The rehab process can take a long duration in severe cases of addiction.
Lapses may take place during the recovery process with the patient going back to the old drinking habits suddenly. Particularly, in severe addiction cases, several such episodes may happen before a normal life is possible.
Along with a variety of treatments, emotional help from family and friends can render strong support.
Management of Withdrawal Symptoms from Alcoholism
When the alcohol habit is stopped after a long duration, withdrawal symptoms occur. Medical treatments use a variety of methods, like legal drugs. Pharmaco-therapy refers to drug treatments. A range of medications treats the withdrawal symptoms according to the nature of the substance being abused.
Treatments can also include acupuncture and acupressure. Electrical stimulation may be considered necessary in some cases.
Certain cases require hypnosis as a form of treatment.
Herbal treatments of Ayurveda along with vitamins have a beneficial effect.
Proper nourishment is crucial since a majority of alcoholics suffer dehydration and loss of appetite. Rather than eat healthy food, they would rather drink. The health suffers terribly. Alcoholics live in a world of fantasy similar to drug addicts. Living in dreams in an unreal world, they experience mega fantasies. Either they consider themselves mighty or very weak.
THE GLOBAL ILLEGAL DRUG SYSTEM
The problem of identifying drug addicts
Body language often helps to understand the severity of addictions. The loss of confidence and weakening health results in unsteady walking. Movement at work, study, or play is not active. Tremors come in the way of active physical response and movement of limbs. Thought processes slow down.
Speech patterns suffer. Even pronunciation of words and sentences seems to be labored and difficult to achieve. Delivering a speech seems quite impossible but it depends upon the situation. Salesmen have to be talking all the time.
Drug addiction usually results in a passive lifestyle. Unable to do heavy or active work, the result is a lethargic approach. The addiction interferes with regular sleep patterns and the addict may be busy taking drugs at night.
In such a changed reality, the addict has no relationship with the normal lifestyle. Losing interest in conventional life, anxiety, and depression set in. Sweating is an expression of this worrying condition.
Like the alcoholic, the drug addict also loses interest in food and is happy with the highs brought on by drugs. As a result, health suffers and sometimes drastically. It depends upon how long the addiction lasts, maybe months or years. Usually, it takes a long time to get into a dependent state on substances. The longer the condition continues, the worse it gets.
Physically and mentally, addicts have unstable conditions. Moods are constantly changing and tempers may suddenly flare-up. Violence can arise due to nasty tempers.
Similarly, unstable emotions are the result of drug abuse. Emotional detachment from the family and friends circle is common. Addicts take a depersonalized approach to the surroundings as if lost to the world.
With unreliable memory and lacking concentration, the working ability is affected. Holding duty and responsibility becomes a challenge.
Eyesight suffers from unclear vision along with red, puffed-up eyes.
Possessing banned drugs along with syringes and pipes indicates the habit. Smoking and injecting along with vaping, drinking, and eating are some common habits of drug consumption.
Who suffers from drug abuse?
Psychologically, those who cannot tolerate the stresses of social and professional life take to drugs or alcohol. Feelings of being inferior with low self-esteem are other causes. Among youngsters, the spirit of rebelling against society may be partly responsible.
Research indicates that show-business and the hotel industry have many drug cases. Actors, chefs, and barmen take drugs more often. Army and medical personnel use drugs more often.
Availability of substances
Some drugs are prescribed by doctors like benzodiazepine and those are bought easily. Others are bought in the open market like tobacco and cannabis. Banned drugs like Ecstasy have to be bought out in the street from illegal sellers.
Can addictions be cured?
Research over many years has developed methods that enable normal lives after giving up addictions. Addicted lives can be productive once again after the recovery process. Control of life would be possible with the damage to the brain and behavior undone.
Fear of withdrawal symptoms
Caught up in addictions over long, users dread the withdrawal process. The type of drug matters. Stimulants cause minor psychological symptoms when discontinued without dependency.
Withdrawing from opiate abuse may result in nausea and vomiting. Also, insomnia and muscle cramps occur. Restless loss of appetite and high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat often result.
Barbiturate withdrawal may lead to epilepsy.
Treatment steps involved in detoxification from illegal drugs
As an initial step, the drug habit needs to be stopped before treatment can commence. If the addict continues to have access to drugs, it may result in a relapse with the habit resumed. It should be certain that no drugs will be available. Freedom of the addict needs to be restricted for the time being to avoid resumed drug-taking.
A treatment plan with gradually reducing doses of legal drugs is set up at the rehab center. The length of medical treatment will depend upon the severity of the case, over weeks or months.
Good health needs to be restored, weakened by the drug habit and improper food, little rest, and sleep. Appetite gradually returns without the destructive influence of drugs. Regular sleep patterns resume.
Support of family and friends brings emotional care that is crucial.
Doctors and health specialists render psychological support.
Some common narcotic substances and opioid drugs
Procedures including medications to treat drug addiction
Along with assistance to counter withdrawal symptoms, the problem is to sustain the treatment. Stopping drug abuse and preventing relapse into using drugs are other challenges.
Withdrawal from the drug habit usually means overcoming difficult physical and emotional conditions. Along with restlessness, depression may be experienced. Medications do help to gradually reduce the craving for drugs and help bring calm to the body and mind.
Psychotherapy and addiction issues counseling help to open up new vistas of hope and liberation from the drug menace.
It is important to take a break from the previous lifestyle. Avoiding people and places, even objects associated with the past drug habit could help in adjusting to a new lifestyle. Even if a relapse occurs, ways to control the drug habit would be possible again.
Medications to treat withdrawal from substance abuse
De-addiction drugs for opioid-based treatments include Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Lofexidine. Nicotine withdrawal is helped by Bupropion and Varenicline. Alcohol curbing is treated with Naltrexone, Disulfiram, and Acamprosate.
Drug addiction and Behavioral therapies
Changing the attitudes and behaviors of the addicts helps them face stress. They can then deal with triggers successfully. Medication and addiction issues counseling would have a greater effect. The danger of relapse would be reduced.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) enables addicts to deal with situations that might motivate them to resume the destructive habit. Incentives to avoid drugs do help to remain away from the deadly habit. Taking the medications regularly and attending addiction counseling sessions would help in the recovery process.
The family of the patient also receives counseling to provide an understanding environment to ease the process of recovery.
Health consequences of drug and alcohol addictions
The effects of long-term addictions can be very destructive to health.
- Mental health deterioration is quite likely
- Lung or Heart disease
- Tobacco causes many types of cancer
- Methamphetamine causes meth mouth, a severe dental problem
- Opioids could result in death due to an excess dose
- Certain inhaled drugs destroy nerve cells
Indirect Harmful Effects of Drug Use:
- Sharing injection syringes and unsafe sex can lead to HIV and hepatitis C
- Skin infection results from bacteria from injection sharing
Drug and Alcohol Abuse versus Mental Disorders
The drug or alcohol addiction path runs steadily downhill despite intense happiness. The mental pitfalls are numerous. Either before or after addiction, mental problems could arise.
With regular substance abuse and even before addiction has set in, anxiety and depression are likely to occur.
The addiction phase will certainly make these symptoms worse and particularly with certain groups.
Further, it is a fact that patients with psychiatric problems use drugs to find a solution. Instead, the mental complications increase.
Dangers during Pregnancy and Breast-feeding
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) refers to the baby going into withdrawal symptoms after birth. It is the result of the mother abusing substances or taking medications during pregnancy. The baby may experience tremors and have difficulty with sleep and feeding. Thinking and behavior may also suffer.
The Risks Associated with second-hand smoke
Inhaled tobacco smoke by nearby people could bring in 250 harmful chemicals. Children are at greater risk. Lung cancer and heart disease could result from second-hand smoke. Even second-hand marijuana smoke could possess similar effects through the THC impact.
Infections from Injected drugs
Endocarditis and cellulitis, HIV, and hepatitis C could result from shared injection needles. The result of drug or alcohol highs could also lead to random sex without condoms, further increasing infection risks.
Accidents on the road
Unsafe driving is the result of drinks as well as drugs when the sensory faculties get weakened. Judgment, vision, and timing are impaired for the moment. Attention to the road suffers and reaction time is delayed. Marijuana comes second after alcohol in the extent of consumption by millions of drivers, including teenagers.
Global Statistics tells horror stories. Addiction types are primarily connected with tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. While tobacco and alcohol have no legal restrictions on purchase and consumption, drugs are illegal. Age restrictions apply to tobacco and alcohol procurement and use. Laws and age barriers differ across continents and cultures, countries, and regions.
Research and medical science have developed greatly, de-addiction is certainly possible. The process of stopping the habit and controlling the craving follows certain procedures. Along with a variety of medications, addiction counseling and family cooperation will help.
The severity of the case depends upon the age and social background, the type of substance abused, and for how long. The first step to success is acceptance of defeat and a desire to stop, heal and become productive again.
Doctors and hospitals, social service organizations, and NGOs play important roles to bring a second chance to millions of lost and lonely addicts of both sexes and all ages. A period of treatment followed by occupation therapy or training in earning a livelihood brings new hope and lifestyle.
Many succeed in destroying the addiction barriers but it could be a difficult journey. Relapses of going back to the habit may occur time and again. Yet, it is not the end of the road. Hope never dies.