How to help an Alcoholic?

It is painful and overwhelming to see someone you love destroy their life due to an addictive behaviour. Alcoholics usually tend to deny their addiction and only realize it when its negative effects have spread into almost all areas of life. Here the role of friends and family members can be effective in encouraging them […]

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First aid for Panic Attacks

Panic attack is a condition which is episodic in nature marked by high anxiety and fear, also discomfort that develops suddenly and reaches heights within 10 minutes.   Observable symptoms: Trembling and shaking Sweating Short breaths and sensations of choking If the person reports – palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, abdominal distress or nausea, dizziness […]

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Panic Attack in Child

Did you know that a panic attack in children often manifests in the early stages of adolescence? And, it is the most common psychological problem in the western countries, usually affecting about 2-3% of the people especially the younger ones in a year. There is no specific event triggering the first panic attack in children, […]

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Alcohol Detoxification

Do you know that Delirium tremens kills one in  20 people during alcohol withdrawal? Yes, It is estimated these tremors occur in 5 percent of the people who go through the process of alcohol withdrawal. This is the time where the alcohol detoxification comes into the picture.   It is good if you have decided […]

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How To Stop Panic Attack

Dying on EMI basis?   In the spur of a moment suddenly thinking of losing control, having a heart attack or even dying. No clue of what’s happening in and around? That could be a panic attack. Yes! A panic attack is a sudden impact of intense fear that creates severe physical reactions in the […]

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Trapped in ‘Land of Lotus Eaters’

t2In the Greek epic ‘Odysseus’, the hero – Odysseus – jubilant over a hard earned victory in the Trojan Wars sets sail for the journey back home. Halfway through the journey, the ship passes by the ‘Land of Lotus Eaters’.

Total oblivion

Attracted by the beautiful island, the crew drops anchor only to find that they are addicted to the Lotus which makes them oblivious of everything. Lest all his crew forget the ocean route to home, Odysseus orders his men to quickly leave the island.

Incorrigible habits

The epic narrative, written over 3000 years ago by Homer, is an analogy to a serious modern-day issue: the problem of addiction. The word addiction generally entails a wide range of substances and human actions. It could be addiction to drugs or addiction to seemingly incorrigible habits that take a lot of efforts to get rid of and overcome.

Addiction: description

The Oxford Dictionary describes addiction as ‘The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.’ In today’s context the word addiction is being used to mean a range of addictions – addition to drugs such as heroin, cocaine and behaviours – addiction to gambling, shop-lifting, stealing, etc.

Addiction: categorisation

Addictions, then, can be categorised into those enlisted and categorised under the Diagnostic and Statistical Mannual of Mental Disorders and addictions that have to broadly do with human behaviour. The former is associated with drug abuse and the latter with behavioural traits that are socially unacceptable but symptomatic of a different kind of addictions than the drug addiction.

Substance abuse

Addiction to substances is perhaps the most harmful of all addictions in terms of its direct impact on the human brain. It is similar to the one experienced by Odysseus and his crew members who nearly got trapped in the Island of Lotus Eaters, where once people eat the lotus they get addicted to it, making them oblivious of everything around them.

Hooked forever

A person addicted to drugs is hooked to it forever till he or she is weaned away from it and rehabilitated. It is a never ending craving, a compulsion to have it on a daily basis with each passing day the craving for ‘more’ assuming greater proportion. It not only throws the personal life out of gear but leads to social isolation and mental disorders.

Impulse control disorder

In contrast, addictions having to do with compulsive behavioural traits have nothing to do with drug abuse. These behavioural traits are largely manifestation of impulse control disorder. The patients suffering from impulse control disorder find it very difficult to keep their impulses under control.

The symptoms of impulse control disorder are:

Behavioural Addiction:

  • Actions marked by compulsive aggression
  • Actions marked by compulsive assault on others
  • Actions marked by compulsive stealing or Kleptomania
  • Actions marked by compulsive setting ablaze things or Pyromania
  • Actions marked by a compulsion to indulge in gambling

Addictive Behaviour

  • Eating Food
  • Watching Pornography
  • Using internet
  • Video games playing
  • Doing work
  • Doing exercise
  • Obsessive preoccupation with spirituality
  • Asking for pain
  • Cutting things
  • Needless Shopping

Substance abuse or drug addiction is the single most harmful addiction. It begins with a small dose and the quantity keeps going up with each passing day till the patient is addicted to it.

Persons can get addicted to substances through:

  • Tobacco-use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Using heroin
  • Using Cocaine
  • Using Marijuana

Addictive prescription drugs are:

  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics, or anxiolytics (sleeping pills &tranquilizers)

Other addictive substances are:

  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • Amphetamines (such as methamphetamine or meth)
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Finally, addiction irrespective of its types and manifestations causes untold misery to the patients suffering from it. Proper and timely medication can greatly alleviate the pain and sufferings.

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