Drug Abuse

Drug abuse, or chemical dependency, leading to altered behavior, reduced levels of control and impaired performance. Consequently life situations and relationships tend to deteriorate both at home and at work and/or school. Prescription drug abuse is just as bad as the use of illicit drugs and just as difficult to overcome.

Overused prescription drugs and illicit substances work on the mood and mind of a person to attain an effect of well-being or comfort, euphoria or ecstasy, and escape from pain and problems. At the same time they cause a lowering of self-esteem, an increase in feelings of guilt and shame, breakdown of relationships and an altering of personality.

If you, or someone you care for, meet some of the criteria below, you are probably an addict.

Persistent efforts to cut down
Time spent thinking about or trying to obtain drugs
Important social occupational or recreational activities stopped because of substance abuse
Continued use in spite of knowledge that the substance is causing mental, physical and social harm

High absenteeism
Accidents at work, on the road or at home
Frequent claims for sickness benefits and sick leave
Deteriorating work performance both in quality and quantity
Mood swings and hostility that lead to deteriorating interpersonal relationships at home and work
Denial that there is any problem
A tendency to blame others for perceived problems
Promises that personal performance will improve
A record of petty offences, traffic violations
Patterns of drinking and using (eg using alone, timed drinking, binge drinking, self medication)
Memory lapses, or failing memory

Addressing the Problem

Those who have a drug abuse / chemical dependency problem need to first realize and admit that they have a problem for which they need help. As with any chronic disease , the affected person needs to understand what is going on in their body. They need to learn how to manage the dependency condition so as to maintain a state of remission, and to then approach life with new coping skills.

For the addict, total abstinence is the only successful way to handle the problem. But it is not just 'not picking up the first drink or drug'. It includes a modification of life practices and perceptions conducive to full recovery. Narcotics Anonymous is an excellent place for the addict to start, with loved ones attending Alanon. When a person experiences difficulty in making these adjustments professional help is needed.

After the initial stages of recovery, which can last from months to years, the individual may chose to deeply explore the issues that lead to their initial abuse of drugs. WE believe that recovery takes both a self-group, like NA, where you work with a sponsor, followed by parallel work with a professional counselor.

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