To many people, drug addiction is something that occurs to those who make poor choices in life or who have no willpower. These same people have this opinion that those affected are from a particular type of background and have no prospects in life. They fail to realise that drug addiction is actually an illness of the brain and that those affected are no more to blame for this illness than those who get cancer can be blamed for their illness. However, with that in mind, it is important to remember that drug addiction has far-reaching consequences for more than just the affected individual. This is an illness that affects many people across the UK. In fact, it is a huge problem for everyone – even those who have never touched a drug or who have no direct contact with anyone else who has. The question of why drug addiction is a problem to everyone in the United Kingdom is something that must be answered. We will attempt to do that in this article.
Why Drug Addiction is a Problem for the Individual
Nobody chooses to use drugs with the intention of becoming addicted. And even though these individuals have chosen to use a particular illegal drug, they are not intentionally deciding to become an addict. In truth, most people believe that they will be able to use drugs recreationally without ever having a problem. Some do not even think of the consequences when using a drug for the first time; they may have mental health problems that they are trying to ease or they could be trying to forget about a painful experience. To them, their immediate concern is relieving the cause of their distress; they are simply not able to think beyond that.
It is worth mentioning here that drug addiction is an illness that can even affect those who have never tried an illegal substance before. Most people are unaware of the dangers of prescription medication, but addiction to these drugs is a growing problem around the world. Here in Britain, prescription medication is provided to patients who are in need of stronger painkillers than those available over-the-counter. It could be that they are suffering with chronic pain associated with conditions such as cancer or while recovering from surgery. Or perhaps it is that they are prescribed sedative drugs to help with a sleep disorder. Either way, these individuals are prone to addiction if they abuse these drugs or take them for longer than intended.
Drug addiction is a major problem for the individual, who will suffer the most. Being caught up in a cycle of drug abuse and addiction destroys the lives of many people around the country. Despite these substances appearing to offer relief or benefits initially, it soon becomes clear that these are adding to the problems, or even making them worse.
It is easy to fall into a cycle of substance abuse without even realising. Most people fail to spot the signs of substance dependence in themselves until they are already at the stage where they cannot quit. Drug addiction occurs gradually, so it is quite easy for the person to plod along without realising that he or she is slowly but surely upping the amount of drugs being taken.
He or she may begin to obsess about the drug to the point that when they are not actually taking it, they can think of nothing else. As their illness progresses, they will begin to neglect other areas of their life; this includes their loved ones. Things that were once important no longer matter. The affected individual only cares about the drug he or she crave and their ability to get it.
Drug addiction inevitably takes its toll on the health of the person. There are many illnesses that can be attributed to drug abuse, and continued abuse can lead to life-long debilitating conditions. Both physical and mental health can be impaired and, for some, the damage can be irreversible. The longer a person stays addicted to drugs, the worse their situation will become. He or she will get to a stage of being in danger of losing everything once held dear.
Why Drug Addiction is a Problem for Families
Drug addiction is not confined to the affected individual, though. Many people will say that addicts are harming only themselves, but this is never the case. In fact, studies show that on average around five people are negatively affected every time one person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. This is certainly the case for the friends and family members of addicted individuals.
Addiction is known as a family illness because of the impact it has on the loved ones of the person abusing the drugs. The consequences for parents, siblings, spouses, and children can be deep and lasting. For example, addicts can be extremely difficult to live with. They may act in a bizarre or unpredictable manner while under the influence of drugs. Some will be verbally or physically aggressive towards their loved ones which can cause great suffering and distress.
The nature of addiction means that even addicts who are able to function quite well may be unable to provide adequately for their family. Even if they are going about their daily lives and continuing to work, they may be spending a lot of money on funding their addiction. Some will even spend money that is needed for essential bills on drugs, leaving the family in dire financial straits.
The children of addicts are often profoundly affected. Being under the influence of drugs means that addicted parents are often unable to adequately care for their kids. They may be too wrapped up in their own addiction to even notice that they are neglecting their child. This can leave children feeling vulnerable and confused.
As well as neglecting their kids, they are also setting a poor example. Children may grow up believing that drug use is normal; they will be more likely to suffer with addiction themselves when older.
In terms of extended family members, there are also negative consequences. Addicts often turn to these relatives when they run out of money. They will borrow and even steal from them to fund their habit. They may become quite manipulative when doing this. Family members are usually left to pick up the pieces when the addicted loved one destroys his or her life. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often left to bring up the children of their addicted loved one when social services step in. As you might imagine, this can be stressful and upsetting for everyone involved.
Why Drug Addiction is a Problem for Society in General
Even those with no experience of addiction will be negatively affected by it. Many people do not even realise the extent to which drug addiction is impacting on their life. The cost of addiction to the economy runs into the billions every single year, and taxpayers are working hard every day to pay for this.
As drug addiction contributes to poor health and premature death, there is an obvious burden on the National Health Service, which is funded by the taxpayer. Hundreds of thousands of people are admitted to hospital every single year with drug-related illnesses and injuries. Some will suffer long-term illnesses that require constant care. The sad thing is that all these illnesses could be avoided.
Another thing worth remembering when it comes to drug addiction is the fact that it is closely linked to violent crime. Substance abuse is a major contributing factor in many crimes that are committed while drug abuse is a huge problem in prisons across the country.
Criminal gangs are prospering because of illegal drug abuse, and the money they make from their underworld drug activity is often used to fund other criminal behaviour. This all has an impact on communities as well as society in general.
With so many crimes committed because of illegal drug use, it is easy to see how the country’s police forces and prosecution system are under mounting pressure. These are also services that are funded by the taxpayer.
With drug rehabilitation, many of the problems caused by addiction can be reversed. The more affected people who manage to get help for this illness, the greater the benefit to society as a whole. With the right treatment and support, many of those whose lives have been blighted by addiction can look forward to substance-free lives. They can start to get their lives back on track and become productive members of their communities once more.
Saying that drug addicts should just stop taking drugs to solve the nation’s problems is naïve, however. It is not easy to quit drugs once addiction has taken hold. If that were the case, why would anyone continue to use these substances when knowing that doing so causes so much heartache?
To beat addiction, it is necessary for the individual to complete the process of detox and rehabilitation. It would make sense that knowing the damage that addiction is causing to the entire country and the economy that more addiction services would be available and that greater resources would be ploughed into this area. Unfortunately, this is not the case; this is a sector that is severely underfunded and one of the first places where cuts will be made when budgets are tightened.
Nevertheless, there is hope for those who want to put their days of substance abuse behind them. As well as the NHS-funded programmes running in all areas of the UK, there are many other organisations that offer both inpatient and outpatient programmes for those in need of help. Charities, local support groups, local counsellors, and private clinics are doing their bit to provide treatment programmes for the many individuals whose lives are affected by addiction.
What Does Drug Recovery Entail?
To overcome a drug addiction, the individual will first have to admit to having a problem and want to change. It is never easy to admit that drug use has reached the stage where you no longer have control over it. Nonetheless, the only way to get better is to accept the truth and move on.
Family members often think that if they can just get their loved one into treatment, the affected person will get better. It does not always work out this way though. Dragging an addicted loved one kicking and screaming towards a programme of recovery can be counterproductive. This individual must want to quit drugs or a programme of recovery will not work – no matter how good it is.
For those who know that they want to get better and are willing to make changes, there is certainly plenty of help available. If a physical addiction exists, the individual will require a detox in the first instance. This will naturally begin within hours after having taken the last taken drugs. It is best to carry out this process in a supervised facility because fully trained staff are on hand to monitor the progress of the individual and will be able to make the detox safer and more comfortable.
When the detox has been completed, usually after a week to ten days, the individual will be ready to address the emotional and psychological element of their illness. This takes place with a programme of rehabilitation, and patients can choose between residential and outpatient care.
Residential programmes are typically provided by private clinics while outpatient programmes tend to be the remit of local counsellors, charities, and the NHS. A person’s needs and circumstances should be evaluated by a professional before any decision on care is made. This is the best way to ensure that he or she can access the treatment programme that will be most suitable.
For more information on overcoming addiction and the process involved, please contact us here at Oasis Bradford. We offer detox and rehabilitation programmes to those affected by addiction. Our record of success speaks for itself and our team of dedicated staff work tirelessly to help all patients achieve a successful recovery. Call today for more information.