Posts Tagged drug abuse
Drug addiction is a difficult battle to fight alone. While beating it is dependent on the will power of the individual, it really is not that simple. While the drive to kick the habit off may be present, the body’s dependence on the drugs states otherwise. It becomes a battle between the mind and the body, where both struggle for dominance over the other. So what must the individual do in order to win over the trap of drug addiction?
The first step is probably the most difficult part – accepting the weight and reality of the problem. This is something that is easy for us to say, but excruciatingly difficult to do. After all, who in the world wants to admit to having a drug problem? That would be equivalent to saying that you have become a slave to an object; it’s also the same as saying that you no longer have full control of your life, and that your habit is the only thing that keeps you going.
Beating drug addiction is more than just changing modes of behavior. The main thing to remember about it is that it is a condition that is hard to control. The next step would be to seek out help from close friends and family about the addiction. The primary reasons for doing drugs are mostly social in nature, mainly revolving on self-esteem and acceptance of problems. Having close social links around you can help you slowly get over it.
The recovery stage is the longest one, after all. A lot of pain may come during this phase, but when you are finally done with everything, all the struggles will be worth it.
Teenagers and drugs may be likened to macaroni and cheese – it can be difficult to separate one image from the other. Maybe it’s because of the raging teen hormones, or maybe it’s something more. Whatever the case, both of them are inextricably linked, owing partly to the influence of mass media in society today. The main thing here is to understand how and why drug addiction begins among adolescents.
Teenagers are highly social beings, and it is during this stage of life that the identity crisis begins. In high school, they struggle to be recognized, while some struggle just to be accepted for who they are. In some scenarios, drug use has become a culture among them, and those who refuse to try it are labeled as “uncool”, effectively casting them out from the main group. It is during this stage that teenagers start to rebel, and where their behavior starts to become a bit unpredictable
It is not wrong to want to be accepted, but drug abuse definitely is. Teenagers know this deep down, but at this stage, they may not yet see the long-term effects of addiction. This is the challenge that adults must face – to make them understand that drug abuse is not as glamorous as they make it out to be.
Whenever possible, try to stop their drug use during the early stages. Convincing them to quit after a prolonged amount of time would be more challenging; they would simply refuse your help. Some might relent for a while, but the relapse can prove too strong for them to fight alone, and you would have to go through a lot of time and spend money just to help him. All the same, reassure them that they can kick the habit completely, and support them on the road to recovery.
The dangers associated with the use of Ecstasy, the popular club drug, are also not unknown. But recently a study conducted by Dr.Una McCann and colleagues of John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore revealed a disheartening fact. The US researchers found that the widely used club drug actually increases the risks of sleep apnea– a breathing problem characterized by stopping of breath and gasping for air in deep sleep.
In sleep apnea the muscle tone in the throat becomes excessively relaxed resulting in blockage of the airway. The person struggles to breathe and this happens several times during his period of sleep often leaving 10 seconds or more within breaths. The sleeper actually fails to notice this until the next day when he might experience daytime drowsiness, headaches, irritability – all of which result from sleep apnea. Apnea might also lead to driving accidents, cognitive problems, stroke and heart disease.
The researchers monitored the sleep of 71 ecstasy users who had used it at least for 30 times but had not used it or any other illicit drugs within the previous fifteen days. 62 people who never used ecstasy served as the control group. The age of the volunteers ranged from 18 to 46 years with an average age of 24 years. None of them reported of having any sleep disturbances in the past.
Based on the number of breath stoppages per hour, the researchers rated sleep apnea as mild, moderate and severe. One of the ecstasy users had severe apnea while 8 had moderate apnea. The mild rate was more or less same within the two groups (27% between non-users and 21% within users). Longer the period of use greater the number of sleep apnea episodes.
Dr. McCarn said, “Our findings may be explained by how ecstasy damages neurons related to serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is involved in sleep regulation and breathing, among other important functions.”
Flashing blood is the new technique of addiction that is gaining immense popularity among the teenagers along the Kenyan coast. It is a cash saving method whereby a user injects himself with heroin or any other illicit drug. He then draws a syringe full of blood and pass on the syringe to the next injector to inject himself. Thus these users are not only sharing needles or other paraphernalia but also blood. No wonder the numbers of Hepatitis C and HIV positive cases are escalating in geometric progression.
Recently a study on drug abuse had been conducted at Kalindini and Mombasa districts. The study, sponsored by National AIDS Control Council and carried out by DARAT, an organization based in Mombasa, indicated that a sample of 120 narcotic users including injecting drug users showed an exceptionally high rate of Hepatitis C and HIV positive cases. The drug users were all residents of Mombasa and Kalindini.
Dr. Timothy Mugusia, who was involved in the study said, “Over 70 per cent of them were found to be infected with hepatitis C while half of them were HIV positive.” He also said, “An abnormally high rate of HIV and hepatitis among injecting drug users at the Kenyan coast points to ‘flashing blood’ among local users.”
The practice was first reported in Dar es Salaam two years ago. Sheryl McUrdy of the University of Texas and Paul Kilonzo of the University of Dar es Salaam first reported the incidents of flash blood in a study published in the African Journal of Drug and Alcohol studies in 2006.
Dr. Mugusia estimated that there are around 6,000 drug injectors in Mombasa and Kalindini and most of the users are in their early 20s. The women in Mombasa have threatened to strip publicly if the government fails to take any immediate steps to check drug use in this part of the city since it is eroding the productivity of the youth.
During the first few tries, drug use may seem like a harmless and innocent activity since its immediate effect is to bring the user to a near-euphoric state. But this initial deception sheds its guise midway, as the user grows more and more dependent on the drug, which then proceeds to damage his body, mind and social life.
One effect of long-term drug use is the growing dependence on the drug, and this can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Physically, it can do damage do the brain. For example, the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does damage to brain cells, specifically the axons, which serve as the channels through which information passes from neuron to neuron. Most drugs damage the brain in relatively the same way, and the user begins to experience paranoia and acute anxiety when away from the drug for a certain length of time.
Mentally, the damage shows itself through the user’s behavior. The user may show signs of instability, irritability, and stress. This is, once again, due to the drug’s damage on the brain.
Of course, the people around the immediate vicinity of the user suffer the most because of this erratic behavior. A great deal of confusion, frustration, and anger can come out of this, since the user’s pattern of behavior can change along with his length of drug use. Friends and family would find the user a changed person, who has the tendency to isolate himself from the rest of society just to continue the habit.
While the pleasure brought about by drug use can be exciting at first, its long-term effects far outweigh its positive one. The damage that long-term drug use does on the physical, mental, and social health of the user is great, making this an urgent issue to address.
The social stigma attached to the label “drug addict” is a highly discriminatory one. However detestable an activity it is for the majority of people who choose to live their lives the right way, knowing how and why drug addiction persists within society is important in order to curb it and possibly eliminate it at its roots. There are definite reasons as to why drug addiction begins, and you will probably be surprised why it happens.
Those that most of us call “drug addicts” are stuck using drugs not only because they want it, but because their bodies start to become dependent on drugs. A large number, if not all drug addicts like to believe that they can stop drug use by their will alone, and these same people also choose not to undergo rehabilitation. But the likelihood of escaping the trap of drug usage is slim, especially if used in the long-term. There are mental changes associated with long-term drug use, and this can affect and alter the way people behave, leaving them unable to control some actions – including their strengthening craving for more drugs.
So why do some people choose to use drugs? The reasons for this phenomenon can actually be quite logical – most drug addicts choose to use drugs because of the strong desire to escape from the stresses of their daily lives. These include psychological stress from work, home, or in school. The desire to escape reality becomes one of the most fundamental reasons of prolonged drug addiction.
With this mindset to guide our line of thinking, understanding drug addiction becomes a lot less difficult. The labeling and stereotyping of drug addicts prevents us from looking at the reality of drug addicts – that they are persons trapped within the cycle of drug use. Analyzing the reasons for their habit is a pressing task, and should not be taken lightly.