Ask any person with a past track record of substance abuse and they would tell you without any hesitation that addiction takes you whole. It’s like stepping on to a tract of slipping quicksand that consumes you without warning or mercy. Many, fortunately, realise their folly early and try to scramble up the slippery slope to recovery. But for a large number the battle just gets tougher by the day as they sink in too deep.
Yearning for substance
There might be numerous factors responsible for turning a recently active, healthy, and intelligent person into a bundle of confusion, succumbing to a person yearning solely for the substance. It could begin through a close gathering of friends who wanted you to try it once for a ‘fun time’. It could also be that someone you know personally tries to introduce you to the ‘joys’ of it at a party and then you get hooked to it.
Health problems follow
Whatever might be the reason, addiction to any substance, to things that can enslave a person are mentally and physically damaging. In the medical field, some of these addictive substances may have been used for pain alleviation but nowadays, these are seldom prescribed for daily use. Substance abuse over a period of time causes irreparable damage to brain functioning and normal physical activities.
Though substance abuse has a long term repercussion on a person’s mental and physical health, research findings have shown that some of the drugs are the most difficult to quit and hence cause more devastating impact on a person. Heroin is one such drug. Mostly used as an analgesic or painkiller, it is a very difficult addiction to quit for a large number of people.
Addiction to analgesic
It is common for hospitals to inject analgesics through intravenous supplies as pain relievers and then prescribe the same in the form of drugs to be taken at home. The intake of such drugs may cause withdrawal symptoms in some. Unfortunately, other depressants,pain-killers and analgesics (Example: Vicodin and Oxycontin) have now emerged as the fastest growing drugs of abuse. These are being regularly used by drug addicts and their easy availability is a matter of concern for de-addiction centres and healthcare professionals.
Cigarette – most difficult to quit
More than alcohol and cocaine, experts say, kicking the cigarette butt is the most difficult for persons hooked to it. It is common to see people going for a ‘smoke’ after a meal, for a ‘sutta break’, or after dinner. It is said that quitting cigarettes is even tougher than heroin.
Thanks to anti-smoking campaigns, a large number of smokers have quit cigarettes. In India with increasing awareness people are increasingly joining the non-smokers’ club. However, chewing tobacco or tobacco–mixed betel nut remains a major source of addiction and is also said to be one of the causes of mouth cancer.
What is addiction?
Addiction is the compulsive use of harmful substances. It is a chronic dysfunction of the brain where a person is unable to stop despite knowing the harmful effects and they gradually become dependent on the substance for everyday functioning.
How does addiction start?
Many risk factors increase chances of developing addiction like aggressive behaviour, lack of supervision, genetic factors, age of first substance consumption, etc. Followed by craving, binging and withdrawal. The process of addiction starts with pleasure seeking behaviour, then relief from stress and better performance, then tolerance, and finally dependence.
Why is addiction hard to overcome?
Addiction leads to alteration in the prefrontal cortex of the brain and in a person’s dopamine cycle. It impairs judgment and impulse control making it difficult to make good decisions and the body starts needing more dopamine in order to function properly.
Can addiction be cured?
Yes; systematic detox and rehabilitation can cure addiction. But the cure is highly dependent on the individual, certain risk factors, and protective factors. Medical and psychosocial factors too play a very vital role in the recovery process. But it can be cured.
How does Cadabams treat addiction?
Cadabams recognizes the social and family aspects of addiction as well. We offer support groups for individuals and families. We provide a 24/7 support with immediate crisis intervention and a multifaceted team of psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, etc. Cadabams takes evidence and solution-based treatment plans which are customized for every individual.
If you need more information about treatment options for addiction or have any queries, do mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit us at Cadabam’s Anunitha. You can also reach out to us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949.
Disclaimer – It is important to note that addiction should be referred to as ‘substance use disorder’ to better address the effects of this psychological condition. Words like addict, junkie, etc should be avoided as they place the blame on the individual. Individuals/person/people suffering from substance use disorder or substance dependence syndrome should be used.