Domestic abuse. Broken relationships. Career problems. These are just some of the most disturbing effects of substance abuse. Interestingly, these very things can also be the reason why people turn to substances in the first place. Hence, there is merit in saying that substance abuse or addiction is a vicious cycle that many find hard to break away from.
People can become addicted to a lot of different substances. Alcohol is one of them; so is nicotine. And then there are harder drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine.
Aside from the social repercussions mentioned above, substance abuse is also linked to a lot of negative health outcomes. For example, smoking has been consistently found to be harmful to the lungs. It has been linked to a wide array of lung problems and other issues related to the respiratory system. There are also studies that say that frequent smoking has effects on sexual function and other key functions of the body.
Even when all that has been said, the battle against addiction is not a hopeless one. There are people who actually succeeded in breaking away from the habit, and they live to inspire others who struggle like they did once. But how? What needs to be done?
There are medications that help curb addiction
Substance abuse or addiction messes up with the body’s dopamine pathway. Dopamine is the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. Addictive substances stimulate this pathway to produce a unique feeling of high. However, sustained use of these substances renders this pathway insensitive to the usual things that make people happy– a hobby, favorite foods, and even sex. There will come a time when the substance is the only thing capable of producing the good feeling.
Pharmaceutical companies all over the globe have developed medications that stop the desensitization of the dopamine pathway. There are also meds that modify the body’s response to a particular substance such that the opposite reaction is experienced. For example, if by taking in cocaine a person feels good under normal circumstances, this person will react negatively to the substance when taking this special type of medication.
However, people just can’t take these pharmaceutical interventions at will. They need to be under the guidance of competent medical professionals.
Social interventions matter. So much.
More often than not, substance abuse is preceded by an immense amount of social pressure. If the person is to be free from the possibility of going back to the habit, this social pressure has to be addressed as well. This is the reason many think that addiction is a family disease, and all members of the family should help in order to get rid of it.
All members, for example, should be taught how to manage stress better. They can be introduced to meditation, mindfulness techniques, and even massage in Lacombe AB and in places where they are. Different forms of physical therapy are effective in inducing relaxation. These stress management interventions help maintain the atmosphere of calmness in the home.
Social intervention can also include teaching family members the means to manage their emotions better. Emotional outbursts, after all, often lead to negative outcomes that need time and a lot of effort to mend.
Currently, there are two general classifications for addiction interventions: pharmaceutical and social. A more effective approach will be a good combination of the two so that all bases will be covered.