• Sunday, December 10, 2023
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Substance abuse and your personal health

NDLEA, MTN Foundation partner against substance abuse

Emily had it all: A loving family, wonderful friends, and good grades. However, as she entered high school, things began to change for the worse.

Emily developed an interest in drugs and alcohol. She felt like everyone else at school was doing it, and she didn’t want to feel left out. As a result, she began going to parties and experimenting with various narcotics.

At first, she found it enjoyable. She had the impression that she had, at last, joined the hip crowd. She eventually realised, though, that she couldn’t quit abusing narcotics and alcohol. She started skipping classes, which caused her grades to fall and her relationships with her family and friends to deteriorate.

When Emily’s behaviour changed, her parents addressed her. She exhibited a protective attitude and wouldn’t hear their issues. She believed that her parents didn’t comprehend what she was going through.

Emily’s substance abuse increased, and she began to feel more alone. Though she made an effort, all of her pals had moved on without her. She was terrified and lonely.

She experienced a major low point. She had no memory of the previous evening when she woke up in a pool of her own vomit. This was when she realised she needed assistance.

After Emily’s parents located a treatment facility, her road to recovery started. Though it wasn’t simple, she managed to discover coping mechanisms and the best ways to manage her addiction with the aid of a therapist.

Substance abuse refers to the misuse of drugs, alcohol, and other substances such as tobacco. It is a problem that is prevalent in all parts of the world, affecting people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender or social status. Substance abuse is a contributing factor to a range of health problems that include mental illness, infectious diseases, and many other disorders.

Substance abuse may either be drug abuse or alcohol abuse.

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Major signs to look out for in someone struggling with substance abuse:

1. Small Physical Symptoms:

These are side effects that appear as slight alterations to physical appearance and behaviour. They include:

● Bloodshot or red eyes
● Pinpoint or dilated pupils
● Puffiness or flushed skin
● Persistent itching in a specific area of the body
● Impulsive pulling down of sleeves to hide marks
● Slurred speech
● Frequent sniffling

While these are not definitive signs, if they are accompanied by secretiveness or defensiveness, they could provide helpful clues as to whether something is wrong.

2. Overall Appearance:
● Drastic sudden weight loss or weight gain
● Poor hygiene
● Loss of teeth and hair
● Decline in personal grooming

3. Finding certain items in their rooms:

Some common items include:

● Cigarette wrapping papers
● Pipes
● Syringes
● Rolled up banknotes
● Cut-up straws
● Soiled cotton swabs
● Lighters
● Burnt spoons or bottle caps
● Razor blades
● “Cutting” surfaces like mirrors or glass
● Medicine bottles from more than one doctor

Depending on many factors, someone struggling with addiction might go to great lengths to hide the physical signs or treat the symptoms with total apathy.
Substance abuse also has an impact on our mental and emotional health. Many people use drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. However, this can lead to addiction, which can cause greater mental and emotional distress, creating a vicious cycle. S

Substance use can also lead to changes in some of the same brain areas that are disrupted in other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, mood, or impulse-control disorders.

Here’s how one may prevent substance abuse:

1. Effectively deal with peer pressure. – The biggest reason teens start using illicit drugs is because their friends utilize peer pressure.

2. Deal with life pressure. – Finding other ways to deal with life pressures such as exercise, reading a book, or writing may prevent the risk of turning to drugs as a way to deal with stress. Drugs only make life more stressful.

3. Seek help for mental illness. – Those with a mental health illness may turn to drugs as a way to ease the pain but it is best to seek help from mental health professionals as drugs will only make things worse.

4. Keep a well-balanced life – People usually take up drugs when they feel like something in their life is not working, or when they’re unhappy about their lives or where their lives are going. Look at life’s big picture, and have your priorities in order.

In conclusion, substance abuse can also have significant impacts on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Substance abuse can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation, and can strain relationships with friends and family members.