Drug addiction is a growing serious problem that has drastic physical and emotional effects on the user and family and a long road to recovery
Illegal Drug Abuse
Undoubtedly, drug abuse and addiction is one of the leading factors in causing psychological, emotional, and physical problems among individuals. While abuse of drugs is a disorder that causes significant problems due to the destructive patterns of drug use, drug addiction is a disease that affects individuals making them incapable of withdrawing from the use of the substance. Substances that cause euphoric feelings are more likely to be used. No finger can be pointed to specific factors as being the major factors that cause drug addiction, but several risk factors have a likelihood of developing dependencies on chemical substances. Drug addiction is a growing serious problem that has drastic physical and emotional effects on the user and family and a long road to recovery. This leads to detrimental and drastic effects to individuals with respect to the execution of their user and family functions. Equally, drug related disorders inflict misery trails to the community in addition to inflicting direct damage and harm to victim. Huge costs are often incurred in efforts aimed at reducing the challenges caused by drug related problems by the society and the government. Such costs include health care, crime, and at the worst of circumstances, death(Zimic, & Jukic, 2012).
Drug addiction and Drug abuse
As mentioned above, drug abuse refers to a disorder caused by the continued and destructive pattern of using drugs. Many a drug consumed in this pattern are believed to relieve users of persistent pains in addition to acting as stimulants for conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder and relieving stress (Zimic, &Jukic, 2012).While drug abuse refers to a substance disorder, drug addiction refers to a disease characterized by dependence on substances. Drug addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain leading uncontrollable and compulsive tendencies to seek the use of drugs. This can be attributed to the effects occurring from the prolonged use of drugs. Other people may experiment with drugs less often, in very low amount,and experience little or no effect on their lives, families, and relationships. This however is not the case. No matter how little or less oftenyou engage in drug related habits, it causes some problems at the work place or elsewhere. Drug use moves from casual to problematic but varies with an individual(Zimic, & Jukic, 2012).
Emotional and physical effects on the user
The addicted patient is affected emotionally, psychologically and physically in a number of ways. This change usually occurs after the addiction has taken place.Nevertheless, different patients may exhibit different problems on different levels. After a research was conducted, it was noted that most users became violent to their family members(Orford, et al, 1992). Such violence is caused by agitation because of the drug use in some cases. Conversely, such violence is experienced when the users are asking for money to go buy more drugs. A recorded case was of Sandra a woman taking part in the research who revealed that her son user once damaged the whole house and even threatened her using a machete though never hurt her in search of money to go buy more drugs. Unpredictable behavior is also change noted on addicts(Orford, et al, 1992). This is due to the mood swings caused by the drug use and especially when the drug lacks in the users body system. This is because drugs interfere with the brain and one’s ability to think clearly and controlling their behavior. This therefore results to upredictability and therefore no one can rely on the user for anything since they wouldn’t know how the patient will be the next time they are needed. Stealing or selling property is another change noted in most users(Orford, et al, 1992). This is because drug addiction is an expensive habit.Since most users are teenagers who have no means to fend the habit or adults who have lost jobs due to the addiction they result to stealing and selling property. The most affected are the family members and friends because they have easy access and have an established rapport. Once the family members realize the disappearance of processions and take caution, the addict s result to stealing from the rest of the community and that is how most of them result to crime. This leads to many addicts dying while committing crimes and they few lucky ones result in doing time. A number of addicts spend long periods in bed. This is due to the release of the dopamine hormone in the brain that makes addicts find the normal day-to-day activities of a productive human being non-welcoming. This hormone makes the patient uninterested in eating working and cleaning and only interested in keeping to themselves trying to enjoy the high of the drugs. Some may stay in bed due to the shame they fell when they meet people who know of their addiction and therefore opt to keep away.
Emotional and physical effect on the family’s user
Research has shown drug use has serious consequences on the welfare of the family and the community. The most affected are the parents and the spouses if married. There has been very little research conducted on the managing of addicts by the close family and the negative effects the drug use has on them. Majority of family members have revealed that the member’s addiction has had negative effect on their own emotional health. In most cases, the women were noted to suffer more and consequently more sortpsychiatric help. This caused family split, problems in marriage and sibling relationship. Otherfamily members recorded financial strain because of a member’s addiction. This is common in cases where the addicted was the major financial support of the family and thereby prioritizes the drug use to the family. In cases where the addict sells, the family property to support his drug use caused financial strain to the rest of the family members.Another reason is the strain caused by the expensive treatment sort to help in rehabilitating the addict especially in the absence of insurance. This entire are the expenses incurred that would have been avoided if the addict led a normal life. Betrayal and loss of trust is another form of emotional ramifications to the family members of the addicts. According to Jackson, Usher and O’Brien’s research paper, the relationship between the family members and addicts became entangled with deceit stealing, dishonesty and broken promises. The addicts can never be entrusted with family chores and responsibilities. The addicts become very good liars and though at first the family members live in denial and disbelieve on the reports brought on the deeds of the addicts, they soon accept the changes and take precautions. The addicts also take some family processions and steal money and therefore this contributes to the loss of trust and betrayal. The parents and spouses in most cases feel responsible for the addictions. This takes an emotional toll on the affected members of family with the thought that their actions pushed the addicts to these habits. Jackson, Usher, & O’Brien, (2006) attributes this to the direct affect members feel that their actions directly reflect the previous relationship they had with them. In the case of Sandra, a participant in Jackson, Usher and O’Brien’s research, her mother and sister directly apprehended her for supporting her boy but she felt she needed to do some of these things to keep him alive (Jackson, Usher, & O’Brien,2006). In the case of Betty, she felt that in the past she had been blind. She blamed herself for not noticing the addiction earlier. Another effect is the isolation, disgrace, and humiliation. This is because the shame they experienced due to the embarrassing acts of the addicts as well as their criminal activities. The members feel stigmatized, humiliated, and shame of dealing with the drug use. This makes it difficult for them to look for help and they feel that they are on their own. They carry this burden on their own and may sometimes lead to depression and other health related problems. Resentment of siblings and anger is also an effect that leads to dysfunctional family members. The addicted sibling causes conflict in the home when they take the other sibling belongings to fend for their addiction. Another cause is the abusive nature to the younger siblings as a way to release the tensionand due to the mood swings caused by the hormones secreted after the drug use. The parents become very concerned with the safety of the other siblings and most of the times choose to separate the addicted member from the other siblings causing a drift in the family relationships.
Ways of coping with addiction and conclusion
Some of the methods that the affected family members of the addicts result to at times be very beneficial while others may be very destructive to both the addicted victim and the family member. The most common coping mechanisms are control: the family member feels that there must be some way to help the addict and try to control them. This in most cases does not help the user because the develop ways to deceive the concerned family members. Avoidance is another common strategy that creates drifts in the family and keeps the other family members safe from the violent activities of the addicted member. Tolerance is coping method that is exercised by family members that feel that they might be responsible for the addiction. This however may cause the affected family member to go deep into depression. Confrontation is a method that is easiest to adopt but the most depressing fact is that the addicted members will not heed to any advice given or even care (Orford, et al, 1992).
Drug addiction is a very emotional taxing complication that does notspare anyonein the community. The family members are however, the most affected and should choose the method of coping that lest affects the addicted member but they should not compromise their own life and happiness. Counseling for the affected family members is also recommended as well as support groups that will ensure an easier adoption of measures to help the addicted members in overcoming the addiction since it is the desired result.
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