Drugs or Gadgets, families have role to help Addicts: KIMS Expert

Addiction is no longer related only to use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco consumption, but it’s a diseased state where people are glued to their mobile phones, following social media, watching pornography, gaming, gambling etc. in excessive that they are moving away from their duties and responsibilities and find it very difficult to refrain from such addictive habits.
In order to create awareness on the subject every year on October 2, India observes National Anti-Drug Addiction Day. The objective of the day is to protect India’s youth and make the country drug-free. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation always protested strongly against drug and substance abuse.
Dr Udit Panda, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Bhubaneswar feels “drug addiction has become a cause of common concern not only across the globe, but also currently in a city like ours where the administration is struggling to keep it under the control. It’s high time we must act and create awareness on use of mobile and other gadgets, especially after the pandemic.”
Dr Panda, further explains “addiction causes an affected person’s life to revolve around drug use and as a result their functioning and productivity suffer. The addicts crave so much for taking drugs that they may become irritable or at times extremely violent if they are forcibly prevented from taking.”
Addiction, in fact, is a chronic brain disorder where people compulsively use drugs despite a lot of harm from it. Any addiction won’t come in a day. If you continue using any addictive chemical or repeat any addictive behaviour for days to years, it will ultimately become an addiction.
Not once or twice, but with a continued use, drugs essentially hijack the process by which one’s brain perceives reward. It happens because of changes in Dopamine (a neurotransmitter) levels in the brain. That is probably primary reason why people neglect every other thing in life to engage in drug use.
There can be many types of addiction depending upon the drug or behavior.
Chemical Addictions: While wine, beer, whisky, vodka, rum, brandy under the group alcohol, cigarettes, bidi, hukka, gutkha, khaini, pan, zarda and gudakhu come under tobacco, ganja, bhang, charas and hashish under cannabis and afeem, heroin, brown sugar and Corex syrup under opium products. Similarly, chemicals like Dendrite and other glues, cocaine, crystal meth, LSD, ecstasy, club drugs and sleeping pills under other substances.
Behavioural Addictions: This occurs when people engage in a behavior which is like excessive use of mobiles for social media chatting, watching pornography, taking selfies and shopping.
Drugs or Gadgets, families have role to help addicts- KIMS Expert

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The psychiatrist from KIMS says “most people start drug or alcohol use out of curiosity. While most of them are able to restrict their drug use to specific occasions, a small section of users go on to develop regular use. With daily consumption and increasing amount, a section of people eventually develop addiction.
The addiction shows symptoms like not feeling well without using drugs, neglecting work, excessive irritability, causing violence at home or outside, using more drugs with passage of time and not being able to quit even not well, physically.
When people with severe addiction and heavy drug use decide to stop, they usually develop “withdrawal symptoms’’. The type and duration of “withdrawal symptoms’’ vary according to the type of drug used as well. There are various treatment options available to control and manage withdrawal symptoms.
A proportion of people will go back to using drugs a few days after stopping. Craving to restart drug use stays with months to years after one stop using drugs. It is important that the family discuss it with the doctors or psychiatrists and take help so that one doesn’t go back to drug use.
The suffering of families of people with addiction are usually as much as the people. Family members should know it is important to intervene early. The earlier the treatment is started, the better the outcome will be.
It’s a fact that anger and confrontation usually don’t help, so communicating the need for help is extremely important.
Admitting an addict to hospital is not always necessary. People with mild withdrawal symptoms, with good motivation to quit and those with strong family support are usually treated on an outpatient basis. Admission is usually advised for people with severe withdrawal symptoms or those with other complications.
KIMS has been conducting detoxification and de-addiction treatment in the Psychiatry Department.
During the last 12 years the hospital has created capacity building in creating mental health professionals to address addiction through de-addiction services.

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