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Drug Addiction and Treatment

Why do people use drugs?

thinkerDrugs are used due to the pleasant state that is induced by the brain when they are taken. This pleasant state temporarily relieves the user of feelings of distress – fore example, anxiety, anger and sadness. Abuse of drugs cause long-lasting adaptive structural changes in the brain which in turn leads to increased tolerance of the drug, physical dependence, craving, lack of self-control and decreased ability to make rational decisions. This inevitably leads to further use. Withdrawal from the drug causes an increase in need to use again in order to avoid the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal.

Some people are more prone to drug addiction than others:
  • People with a family history of drug abuse/alcoholism
  • Environmental factors – social environment, history of trauma, peer pressure etc.
  • Dual diagnosis e.g. bi-polar
  • Adolescents – Due to the fact that the area in the brain that governs decision-making and self -control is still developing, this age group is at particular risk.
Drug abuse takes many forms, from the misuse of prescribed medications such as sleeping tablets and tranquilizers, to the misuse of non-prescribed drugs like cannabis (marijuana or weed), cocaine (or crack), heroin, TIK (methyl amphetamine), MDMA (ecstasy), and GHB (date rape drug).

yogaandreikiroomIndications that someone is using drugs:
  • Mood swings and increased irritability and hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Poor concentration and memory lapse
  • Energetic or impulsive behaviour and poor decision making
  • Dishonesty and stealing
  • Avoidance of previously enjoyed activities
  • Change in routine and friends
  • Reduced personal hygiene
  • Slurring or incoherent speech
  • Blood shot eyes or dilated pupils
  • Possession of drug related equipment e.g. glass pipes, tin foil, burnt spoons, small plastic
  • Drug addiction treatment
Similar to alcoholism, drug addiction is considered a chronic disease and requires on-going treatment and management. Drug addiction is also a progressive disease. It will continue to get worse unless there is some form of intervention.

Recovery from drug addiction requires a lot of support. The drug user is likely to be initially resistant to seek treatment due to the physical changes that take place in the brain, which leads to poor decision-making. The consequences of using drugs are such that the drug user is likely to find that their lives become unmanageable in every area. For example, relationships with family and friends break down, job loss, loss of money, criminal behaviour, legal issues and health problems.

Professional help may be needed to assist your loved one to ask for help. Treatment options swiftly provide the platform for sobriety, which sets the stage for developing a recovery plan and discovery that a drug free life can be possible. Integration into the 12-Step Narcotics Anonymous programme provides an on-going support system and social network to assist with sobriety, one day at a time.

If you or someone you love needs help, please contact us for information and assistance. 

Call: +27 21 761 7348 


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