Drug Addiction and Rehab
Drug addiction and its devastating consequences are often depicted in the popular media. One of the most dramatic such depictions is the movie “Requiem for a Dream”. The film follows the descent into madness of an elderly woman due to amphetamines and the tragic consequences of three other characters using heroin. The movie “Blow”, starring Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp deals with cocaine. Heroin is also portrayed in motion pictures such as “Trainspotting” and even “Pulp Fiction”. Documentaries like the TV show “Intervention” describe addicts’ paths to recovery or relapse.
Heroin withdrawal is one of the worst drug withdrawals there is. Heroin withdrawal is physically painful, dangerous and must be medically supervised. Heroin is not the only powerful opiate. Derived from morphine, heroin is also a painkiller, a highly addictive and potentially fatal substance. In recent years, an even worse opiate has made its way onto the streets, fentanyl. More powerful than heroin, fentanyl is responsible for countless overdoses. The popular star The Artist, previously known as Prince, died from a fentanyl overdose. Another opioid more powerful than heroin is dilaudid. Opioids are used in the medical field to manage pain, but due to the euphoric effects they produce, they often make their way to the black market.
Fatal drug overdoses are the worst consequences of drug abuse, but they are not the only dangers that substance use produces. The DSM-5 or the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) has a category for substance use disorders, ranging from mild to severe. Thus, a drug or alcohol addiction is considered a mental illness in psychiatry. However, not all substance use disorders are treatable, at least pharmacologically. But some, such as heroin, can be treated with medication. For example, methadone reduces heroin withdrawal symptoms without producing a “high”.
But why do people begin experimenting with drugs in the first place? As the joke goes “just say no to drugs” and the response is “stop talking to drugs!”. Peer pressure and boredom are among the main factors for initial drug use. And afterwards, the vicious cycle begins. Very addictive and powerful drugs such as cocaine or heroin can have a person hooked after only a couple of uses.
The important part to remember is that once you try a drug you like – you will always like it. For instance, while most cocaine withdrawal symptoms go away with time, cravings or urges to use persist for a lifetime. People can also be trapped into doing drugs, let us tell a true story.
A young, innocent girl just turned 17. She has never experimented with hard drugs and had no intention to. But, being at an impressionable and romantic age, she fell in love with the wrong person. Her new boyfriend was a criminal, a drug dealer. The police caught up with him and he was incarcerated, but he had already damaged the teenager by then. One evening she wanted to go out clubbing by herself. However, her criminal boyfriend had other plans. He cooked crack-cocaine and made her try it. She did, and of course, stayed with him until they consumed all of the drug. He told her that she would now have to face a life-long battle and later admitted that he only did it so that she wouldn’t leave him. We’re telling this story to warn parents and others that there are ruthless thugs out there who will stop at nothing to hook people on addictive substances for personal gain. The girl in the story was lucky enough to avoid becoming addicted, she broke up with the selfish, malevolent boyfriend and never touched crack-cocaine again. But it was a close call, a young life could have been destroyed by this one huge mistake.
Other horror stories involving street drugs include a young man from Australia and another from Quebec, Canada. A young Australian tried ecstasy for the first time and as a result remained permanently in a damaged state. Long after the high wore off, he continued stuttering and shaking and is unable to talk properly. The doctors said he was lucky to even be alive. Similarly, a young Quebecker (17 years old!) also tried ecstasy for the first time and his life was permanently ruined as a consequence. He became paralysed, deaf, mute and blind.
As mentioned above, drug addiction can be devastating. The worst part is that there is no cure. The truth is hurtful, abrupt. Once you’re an addict, you’re an addict for life. But, that does not mean you’re helpless, there are tricks:
- talk to yourself, communicate with yourself
- it’s ok to feel negative emotions and understanding that can reduce cravings and urges
- ask yourself how you’re feeling
- halt – an acronym – hungry (eat something healthy), angry (emotions, it’s ok to feel different emotions, talk to yourself, it’s human), lonely (call a friend or girlfriend/boyfriend), tired (pain) – exercise and sleep/relax
- regular exercise will help with energy and good mood
- doing nothing makes you feel unaccomplished and depressed/worthless
- key to do 40-60 minutes of low-impact cardio (releases endorphins)
- YouTube or favourite music can motivate you while exercising
- sauna, jacuzzi or steam-room release melatonin, and helps you relax (also helps you sleep for insomnia)
have a schedule, fill up your schedule, having a full schedule helps