Think of a drug addict and an instant image that flashes across one’s mind is a drooling and drooping person with unearthly gaze, unkempt and dishevelled and someone to be kept at an arm’s length.
The general social attitude has never been favourable to a drug addicted person. This has, unfortunately, come as a major impediment to providing timely treatment to such patients, a matter of great concern for healthcare and rehabilitation institutions and persons engaged in combating the drug menace world over.
Increasing awareness about the debilitating impact of addiction and advancement in treatment procedures and medicines has helped change public perception to a large extent. But there are still a large number of addicted persons for whom the treatment comes too late or in worst case scenario they hardly make it to the hospital doorsteps.
Date with drugs
Every year a large number of addicted persons are therefore left out of any kind of treatment or rehabilitation regimen. For the general public and healthcare givers it is important to understand that in majority of the cases the addiction starts with trying out that first small dose of the substance, a voluntary step taken out of fun or whatever may be the reasons.
As the time passes the voluntary intake becomes a daily necessity and quickly the person ends up being hooked to the drug. This also marks the beginning of a painful journey for the addicted person. Drained out of his or her vital energy and caught in a whirlpool of drugs and more drugs, the journey is most likely end with a sad untimely end if not attended to urgently.
Never too late
By the time the patient realises the need for urgent medical attention for de-addiction or his or her family members and friends get to know about the patient’s predicament and rushes to hospital, vital time might have been lost for reversing the situation. But it is never too late to start the de-addiction treatment. Long term addiction is also very likely to manifest in serious mental disorders.
Addiction hits brain
Mental healthcare experts underline that addiction is a brain disease. This is because the drugs that a person takes over a period of long time directly hit his or her multiple brain circuits. The healthy functioning of brain-circuits is crucial as these are involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory behavioural control in a person.
De-addiction is thus a complex process to a path of recovery for a patient. With the implication of drug abuse being so diverse, socially and economically and health-wise, the treatment is equally difficult. For the treatment to be effective, healthcare professionals have to first diagnose the specific illness and its implications and then start the process of treatment.
A comprehensive treatment process aimed at de-addicting needs to ensure:
- It is helping the patient to keep away from his or her addiction
- At the time of treatment and after recovery there is no return to addiction
- It is helping patients lead a drug-free life for the rest of his life
- It is helping the patients, if he or she is the only bread earner, to revert to a productive life
- It is helping the person to resume social engagements
- The patient is assured of long-term care because of the chronic nature of the disease
- The person is being helped to prolong his abstinence from any kind of addiction
- The person returns to a normal and healthy life
Addiction is like any other illnesses that afflict mankind. It is a serious disease of our modern-day times. However, like all diseases, it is also curable through individual efforts of the addicted person and the mental healthcare professionals.