DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE

 

                       DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE


What is the definition of drug and alcohol abuse?

It occurs when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal and illegal substances too much or in the wrong way. Substance abuse differs from addiction. Many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior. Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease.

Use and abuse of drugs and alcohol by teens is very common and can have serious consequences. In the 15-24 year age range, 50% of deaths (from accidents, homicides, suicides) involve alcohol or drug abuse. Drugs and alcohol also contribute to physical and sexual aggression such as assault or rape. Possible stages of teenage experience with alcohol and drugs include abstinence (non-use), experimentation, regular use (both recreational and compensatory for other problems), abuse, and dependency. Repeated and regular recreational use can lead to other problems like anxiety and depression. Some teenagers regularly use drugs or alcohol to compensate for anxiety, depression, or a lack of positive social skills.

Signs of drug and alcohol abuse

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs involve a person’s outward relations with the world whereas physical signs relate to the body’s manifestation of side effects due to the presence of drugs in the system. Behavioral signs include but are not limited to:

OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS:

Acquiring and using the drug become the main priorities of life while all or most other obligations including work, family, or school are sidelined.

DISREGARD OF HARM CAUSED:

Although the drug abuse is causing physical and mental distress to the individual and their loved ones, the person struggling with addiction continues using drugs or alcohol.

LOSS OF CONTROL:

Even in the face of wanting to stop or reduce their drug use, the person cannot do so.

DENIAL OF ADDICTION OR HIDING DRUG USE:

When confronted, the person battling addiction will deny or downplay their drug use. To avoid having to explain themselves to others, the person may do drugs in secret.

Drug abuse cannot remain hidden for long. Its impact is too dramatic, and the person using drugs can spiral out of control fast. Changes in behavior, neglecting responsibilities, exhausting financial resources, and engaging in criminal conduct are some of the most obvious signals of a drug problem. Family members, loved ones, and coworkers are usually in the best position to recognize a drug problem as they are familiar with the person’s behavior and habits.


Physical Signs

Physical signs of addiction can manifest as side effects of use, during an overdose, or as a result of withdrawal. It may be very difficult for someone to pinpoint the cause of the physical signs, but severe effects will require immediate medical treatment. Also, it is important to understand that withdrawal symptoms arise when the body adjusts to the absence of familiar quantities of a drug. It is a natural process, but withdrawal can be dangerous.

General physical signs of addiction include but are not limited to:

·         Enlarged or small pupils

·         Sudden weight loss or gain

·         Bloodshot eyes

·         Insomnia

·         Unusual body odors

·         Poor physical coordination

·         Looking unkempt

·         Slurred speech

Typical signs of an overdose may include but are not limited to:

·         Drowsiness or trouble walking

·         Agitation

·         Aggression or violent behavior

·         Difficulty breathing

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         Hallucinations

·         Delusions

·         Loss of consciousness

Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Prevention and Control



Young and adolescent minds could be molded in any direction depending on the kind of exposure they get. They might befriend abusers and get into the habit of drinking, smoking or taking drugs. At this point in time, it is the responsibility of the parents as well as the teachers to handle the issue sensitively and guide them in the right direction.

Here are certain measures which need to be taken to prevent and control alcohol and drug abuse.

  • In the Indian society, the youth are often pushed beyond their limits to excel in every field. Parents want their kids to outperform their peer in studies, sports, creativity, and every other activity. Under excess pressure, the child often has the tendency to take up alcohol and drugs as a resort.
  • Persistent counselling is required to teach the child to deal with failures, pressures, stress, and disappointments. In fact, guiding them towards productive activities such as music, painting, yoga, sports or one of their hobbies could also help.
  • Children often pick up habits from their closed ones. Thus, the attitude of parents and older siblings towards alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs also affect the child’s choices.
  • In case the child is stressed out and on the verge of abuse, help must be sought from parents or even trusted friends who may guide them in the right direction, thereby helping him vent out their anxiety and guilt.
  • Parents must stay connected with the child, keeping a track of his whereabouts at all times. Spending more family time together will help them stay close and honest with their parents.
  • If it is found that children have fallen prey to alcohol and drug abuse, their friends must immediately bring this to the notice of their parents or teachers, so that the latter could take remedial measures for the same.
  • However, despite all the prevention measures, if unfortunately, the child does get into the abuse, seek professional aid. There are a number of rehabilitation centres, de-addiction programs and qualified psychiatrists who would help to get rid of the problem.

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