According to Merriam – Webster dictionary, addiction is defined as a compulsive need for and use of a habit – forming substance characterized by tolerance and well – defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. It is a persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.
“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope” –Russell Brand.
Consuming drugs has become the new fad among today’s generation. Whether indulging in it to deal with stress, to enhance one’s performance or to just get a high, individuals have starting resorting to the consumption of such stimulants.
The use of drugs has been on the rise since a few years. Professionals are of the opinion that continued use of such drugs/ stimulants can have some long term effects which can create havoc in one’s daily life, their personality and alter brain chemistry as well.
Cocaine which is made from the coca plant (native to South America) is considered to be highly addictive, even more addictive is crack cocaine. Cocaine is a stimulant which increases one’s level of alertness and energy.
When it comes to cocaine, it provokes one’s brain to release a chemical called Dopamine which gives rise to a euphoric feeling. In order to sustain the feeling of the high that cocaine gives an individual, they repeatedly use it as the high that cocaine gives is short-lived.
- Decreased appetite
- Intense happiness
- Feeling paranoid
- High blood pressure.
- Increased heart rate.
- Heart disease, heart damage, heart attack and/or stroke.
- Loss of appetite.
- Increased body temperature.
- Convulsions and seizures.
- Problems with mood.
- Sexual problems.
- Loss of smell, nosebleeds, running nose and trouble in swallowing.
- Pain in the stomach.
- Higher risk of hepatitis and/or HIV.
- Bowel decay.
- Lung damage.
- If used during pregnancy it can lead to spontaneous abortion, birth defects, low birth weight and/or a baby born addicted to the drug.
According to WebMD Methamphetamine or Meth is a white powder that users swallow, smoke, snort, or inject. It’s made from a combination of pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications, along with other toxic chemicals. Meth creates an immediate high that quickly fades. As a result, users often take it repeatedly, making it extremely addictive. The physical effects are very similar to other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines.
- Crystal meth.
Consumption of Meth can have certain short-term effects which are as follows:
- Increased body temperature.
- Rapid heart rate.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased breathing.
Long-term use of meth can give rise to certain side effects:
- Weight loss.
- Dental complications.
- Skin sores.
- Risk of HIV and/or hepatitis.
- Delusions and/or hallucinations.
- If used during pregnancy, it can result in spontaneous abortion, birth defects, low birth weight and a baby born addicted to the drug.
Environment: One’s environment, stressful situations, family attitudes, etc play a role in the consumption of drugs. Difficult situations in one’s life can lead certain people to find solace in drugs which helps them to distract their mind from the problems they are facing.
Genetics: If an individual has a blood relative who has had or has drug addiction then they are at a greater risk of developing the condition.
Mental Health Conditions: Individuals who suffer from some mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, bipolar mood disorder or any other condition may resort to using drugs in order to cope with their feelings and as a means to relax themselves. Continued use of any drug can lead to addiction.
Peer Pressure: Peer pressure can be a major source of young people starting to use and misuse drugs.
Early Exposure/ Use: Exposure or use of drugs at an early age causes changes in one’s developing brain, alter the brain chemistry which increases the likelihood of drug addiction.
Inpatient Care/ Rehabilitation: Inpatient care involves the individual to be admitted into a supervised setting equipped with medical and mental health professionals to treat the addict. The idea of inpatient care or rehab is to provide a safe, monitored and clean environment where the individual will have no access to the drug. The process of detoxification will initially be carried out while monitoring the patient and attempting to manage the withdrawal symptoms. With the help of inpatient care or rehabilitation an individual can learn to live a life without using drugs and attempt to live a healthy and drug free life.
Residential Based Treatment: Residential based treatment involves centers that usually have a more home like environment and atmosphere. In a residential based treatment includes individual or group counselling, medical treatment and other types of therapies for addiction may be explored.
Outpatient Care: When it comes to outpatient care the individual has the liberty to live at home while seeking treatment and counselling sessions at regular intervals. With outpatient care individuals can seek individual or group counselling sessions, they have social and familial support and at the same time they can get treated for any other underlying mental health condition like depression, anxiety, etc, if present.
Psychotherapy: Dealing with addiction involves seeking help from mental health professionals. Medication helps to an extent but in order to a new way of life of abstinence seeking some kind of psychotherapy maybe the need of the hour. Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT) incorporates strategies that helps an individual break their maladaptive behavioral patterns over a period of time. With the help of CBT the individuals learns to recognize and deal with triggers, identify and correct behaviors and learning Cognitive Restructuring to change irrational thought patterns. With the help of therapy one learns the negative ramifications of using and abusing substance, it will aid one in learning coping strategies, adapting to a more constructive behavior and thinking pattern as well. Although, it is important to understand that the individual must be willing to change and change in the individual will be seen gradually, over a period of time.
Relapse Prevention Education: Relapse can be common while on the road to recovery. Relapse prevention techniques can help the individual stay put on the recovery process. The following can help one reduce the risk of relapse:
- Avoid the triggers.
- Avoid or eliminate the people and or places that aid in the craving.
- Include regular exercise in your daily routine.
- A balanced diet and a regular sleeping pattern is of utmost importance.
- Having a support system is essential.
- Be regular with treatment.
- Seek counselling and apply the techniques regularly.
- Adapt to a constructive lifestyle with positive activities and work.
- Follow a schedule.
- Develop a positive self-image.
- Set plans for the future and work towards it.