We are living in a world, which has become extremely complicated, fast and demanding. Our lives are constantly affected by it. As a result we humans feel emotionally turbulent, insecure and very vulnerable. Our minds are allured all the time with new experiences, something we think will make us feel unique and different. One such experience that allures a young, inqusitive and adventurous mind is the effect of various drugs, including alcohol.
The most common drugs that are available in the market, apart from alcohol, are marijuana (ganja), Hashish (Charas), various kinds of cough syrups, sedative tablets, brown sugar, heroin, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, etc.
Most often the use of drugs start from teen-age and in school. There is almost always a very "cool" guy who is very different from the others and who has a certain warmth that attracts other boys and girls. He is always confident, smart, wise and has an irresistible charm and "who cares" attitude. Most often than not this "wise guy" has a little "secret" that he shares with the ones who have become closest to him. A few puffs of Ganja or Charas or Brown Sugar or a snort of Cocaine is all it takes to experience that something "unique" and "different".
The desire, and later on, the craving for more and more of this experience is the beginning of addiction. Most young people fall prey to this desire and unknowingly become addicted to drugs. Very soon the person becomes totally dependent on his / her chosen drug, without which he /she loses confidence to face reality and feels insecure and shaky.
The parents should always be aware of and watchful over these young vulnerable people and provide proper guidance. Hence, it is necessary for them to know a few things about the problem of drug addiction, its causes and symptoms.
What is drug addiction?
Addiction means using a substance repeatedly, despite knowing and experiencing its harmful effects. The person using the substance cannot control the urge to use it and needs increasing amounts to achieve the effect he craves for. On abruptly stopping use of the substance the person can experience withdrawal effects like watering of nose and eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, sleep disturbances, aches and pains and epileptic fits.
Addiction can result in a number of harmful effects on one’s health and makes the person more likely to develop Tuberculosis, Kidney and liver problems and other infections including AIDS.
Similarly mental illnesses like Psychosis, Depressive illness and anxiety disorders are also much more likely in a drug addict.
Drug addiction affects the personality of the individual and he may indulge in petty crimes, like stealing, shoplifting, commercial sex or other socially unacceptable behaviors just to support his habit.
He might gradually drift away from his friends and family members moving in a circle of other addicts. He may also leave or be thrown out of his job and end up in prison.
Why does it happen?
It is difficult to answer this question in a definite manner, however we do know that social, psychological and physical factors interact with the personality of the individual to determine this pattern of behavior. It is also known that if the parents of an individual are addicted to drugs the chances of his acquiring this problem are higher, than those whose parents are not.
How does it start?
Drug addiction commonly starts in the adolescence. It is the period during which we experience a number of physical, social and psychological changes. If he cannot share his anxieties and insecurities with someone within the family he may seek comfort outside the family. He might start using drugs as a way to assert his independence or to seek refuge.
In some cases it might start as an interesting experiment or as a dare.
Difficulties in personal life, socio-economic problems, relief of boredom, etc. can also result in an individual starting to take drugs, which gradually becomes a serious problem of addiction.
In some cases of physical or mental illnesses people also start using drugs to get relief form pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc.
Why do the young people get addicted to drugs?
The reasons could be mental or emotional
How will you understand whether your son or daughter is using drugs?
If you give proper attention and observe your child, you will be able to notice some unusual traits and behaviour. Some of the traits could be very common and are connected with growing up of your child. Those traits should be considered individually. If your child has really got addicted to some drug then some or all of the following traits or behaviour can be noticed by you.
What can be done?
The first and foremost is the motivation of the individual to seek help. Generally there are two main stages of treatment.
The first stage is that of getting the drugs out of the system of the individual (Detoxification).
During this period he might need to be admitted to a De-addiction Centre . The individual may be given medicines to minimize the effects of stopping the drug or he might be given a substitute of the addictive drug, which is then gradually withdrawn.
Side by side with these medicines, the second stage starts in which the patient is encouraged to talk about his problems and to find solutions to these problems in a supportive and non-critical environment, boosting his self-esteem.
In case of underlying physical or mental illness he is offered treatment for these.
What will you do if you suspect your child of using drugs?
Let us assume that you have noticed all or quite a few of these above mentioned traits in your child and you suspect him / her of using drugs. It is natural to be tense, scared and perturbed about the thing.You will have to handle it very carefully. Please do not resist yourself by thinking that it is impossible for your child to do such things. Remember, anybody can fall prey to drug addiction, as anybody can fall sick with flu or common cold. Please do not ignore the situation by thinking that your child will come out of it naturally, your child may not have such a strong will power.
At the same time please do not overtly react with your child. Do not show any outburst of anger, emotion or fear to your child. React to the situation with calmness and caring. Talk to your child, try to be intimate with him / her and try to find out how deep has he / she has gone into it. Try to create a caring and warm atmosphere at home and spend as much time with your child as possible. Try to be a friend to him / her. Your love, attention and patience can work wonders in this kind of a situation.
How can the Family and Friends help?
Family members and friends have an important role in the rehabilitation of drug addicts. It is natural to feel angry, embarrassed or ashamed but it is not going to help if we take our anger out on the patient. We need to be supportive and understanding of his problems, however do remember that family members and friends might be manipulated into helping the individual get drugs, so be careful about it.
It is a good idea to give the individual a sympathetic hearing of his problems and help in solving those; furthermore he will need constant help and supervision to start learning new skills, on the road to a new life.Do not be dismayed and fall apart if you find out that your child has become an addict. That is certainly not that end of the road for him / her. Timely admission to a de-addiction centre can save the career of your child. Do not hasitate to come to us for help.
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