Alcoholism addiction treatment

When an individual feels that they are no longer in control of their addictive habit despite the medications they take or are constantly tempted and exposed to the addictive substance, a rehabilitation program is needed. Alcohol rehabilitation program is an intense recovery program that requires motivation, determination and social support to help the suffering individual […]

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Co morbidity in OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is distressing in itself as it affects the individual’s thoughts and behaviour. Through years of studies it is also seen that most often OCD occur with another mental illness. When an individual is diagnosed with two mental disorders it is known as co morbidity. And OCD is seen to have quite […]

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Types of Obsessive Compulsive ...

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is mental disorder that is driven by undesirable thoughts known as obsessions that compels repetitive behaviours, known as compulsions. However, it varies from individual to individual in the way in which symptoms of OCD are experienced. Based on the nature of the symptoms experienced OCD can be divided into different types. […]

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Alcoholism facts

1. Alcoholism causes various short term health hazards. The short term harm alcohol causes are the health conditions apart from diseases. It includes injuries caused by accidents, falls, homicides, sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning, etc. Under the influence of alcohol individuals have judgments and decision making skills are inhibited, this might be the reason behind the harmful […]

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Neurofeedback for alcoholism

A number of new methods and therapeutic techniques are coming up to make the journey towards recovery effective, easier and smoother. One of these attempts is integrating neurofeedback in the recovery program. Neurofeedback is a therapeutic intervention that uses biofeedback mechanism. Here medical instruments, sensors, are attached to the individual’s head and face region. These […]

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THE IMPACT OF DRUG ABUSE ON FAMILY AND WOMEN

Dr. Kasturi Pandiyan

The social disadvantage and sub-ordination of women on the one hand, and the rapid socio-cultural and economic changes on the other have significantly altered traditional structures and institutions within society. Such changes are invariably associated with social upheaval and drug abuse is a known outcome of such change. Drug abuse poses various kinds of problems impacting not just the individual user, but also on the family and society. It is the family to which the dependent user causes emotional or physical distress or crisis. The relationships suffer, financial sources get depleted, health costs increase. There are greater employment problems and increased emotional stress. The consequences of drug abuse is often more on the families in  poverty stricken circumstances. Sexual relationships can become adversely affected. There is a serious risk of transmission of HIV and other blood borne viruses to partners of infected drug users and of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Drug use is often associated with domestic violence, which in turn aggravates the physical and emotional distress of the family. Non-drug using partner may also take to drugs or alcohol for solace. When the drug user stops taking responsibilities on account of drug use, common family response include depression, stress and resentment.

Clearly, drug abuse impacts women dually, male drug abuse creates enormous burden for the affected women and drug abuse per se has even graver problems for women. Within the family, it is often the woman, in the role of wife or mother who is most affected by the individual’s drug use, and has to bear a significant part of the family burden.  Unemployment or diversion of money for drugs creates a huge economic burden, especially in the families with low incomes.  The women were themselves working and they face tremendous hardship, working both within and outside the house of their own earnings to support the drug user’s habit. Some women refused to give money, which then led to arguments as well as domestic violence leading to further distress. One of the major burdens faced by the women was the burden of blame – blame of being responsible for the drug use in the family member, blame of hiding the issue from others and blame of not getting timely treatment. Thus the woman often became the victim of not just the drug abuser, but also society. This often led to feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, depression, anxiety and isolation, and frequent suicidal thoughts.

In addition to emotional distress, many of the women face various health problems including weight loss, aches and pains and insomnia. A majority of them had not sought any help for the problems or for associated health problems like hypertension or diabetes.  Most of them felt that their health problems would vanish if the drug abuser gave up his habit. Many of them had attempted to take the drug abuser for treatment, but failed for various reasons. Physical violence and verbal aggression varying from ‘slaps, being pushed around, punched and kicked, being hit against the wall’ are the common forms of violence. Disturbances in the sexual area were apparent, but the awareness and protection against sexually transmitted diseases appeared low.

The lack of social supports was another important observation. With more people living in nuclear

families, relatives shying away especially when there were monetary expectations, lack of support from family of origin together with the blame for the drug addict all seem to put an enormous burden on these women.

Urban settings appear to be associated with patterns of drug abuse in women mirroring that of men, with probably higher risk behaviours associated with unsafe injecting and sexual practices.

Approaches of treatment and prevention therefore need to consider the problem of drug abuse impact on women from all these angles, as well as from the context of empowerment, support and attention to the welfare of women.

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