Dealing with a drug abuse, either personally or that of a friend or family member, can be a Herculean task but one can make the journey to recovery if one has the right tools. One of the first steps in getting over an addiction is to garner as much information as possible about the nature of substance abuse, the signs and the assistance that is available locally and internationally.
WHAT IS DRUG ADDICTION?
The National Council on Drug Abuse defines drug addiction as “a complex, and often chronic, brain disease. It is characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use that can persist even in the face of devastating life consequences.
“If a person is compulsively seeking and using a drug(s) despite negative consequences, such as loss of job, debt, family problems, or physical problems brought on by drug abuse, then he or she probably is addicted. And while people who are addicted may believe they can stop any time, most often they cannot, and will need professional help—first to determine if they in fact are addicted, and then to obtain drug abuse treatment.”
The government agency goes on to say that addiction is caused by changes in brain function as a result of prolonged substance use. These changes involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors. However, there is hope as drug addiction is treatable using a combination of medication and behavioural therapies.
The council warns those seeking to kick the habit that relapse is common and can occur even after long periods of abstinence. But drug addicts should know that relapse does not mean that treatment has failed but rather that treatment should be attempted again or the modified. This also underscores the need for long-term care and communal support.
WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR DRUG ADDICTS TO STOP?
According to Narconon International when a person is addicted to a drug or alcohol, the addiction is in control, not the person. The compulsive nature of addiction means that using more drugs or alcohol feels as essential as taking his next breath.
For a list of drug treatment services offered in Jamaica click here.