Five ways how drug dependence ruins your mental health and solutions

Published: Jul 13, 2019, 13:40 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Drug dependence is a more severe problem than drug abuse. Worldwide, over 7 million people are a victim to using illicit drugs and this has caused many deaths. However, there are many mental effects of drug dependence before it becomes fatal

Five ways how drug dependence ruins your mental health and solutions
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As per the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the term drug dependence is described as a situation when a person needs one or more drugs just to function and with its withdrawal leading to physical disturbance. The most common difference between drug abuse and drug dependence is that abuse is usually considered as the initial phase of drug use that will lead to dependence in the future, if not treated. Drug dependence is a more severe problem than drug abuse. Worldwide, over 7 million people are a victim to using illicit drugs and this has caused many deaths. However, there are many mental effects of drug dependence before it becomes fatal.

Severe Depression

While depression can start the use of illicit drugs, drug dependence can further deteriorate the condition. In this case, the patient is caught in a vicious cycle of helplessness and hopelessness. Patients slowly lose their interest in daily activities, including taking basic care of them. This can further lead to changes in appetite, sleep disorder, sudden weight loss, fatigue, and physical pain.

Drugs and Anxiety

Drug dependency in clients often results in continuous anxiety attacks occurring over short intervals. Sufferer tends to worry and stay stressed even amidst the most normal situations and are often restless. Patient's heart rate is always above average and they feel a shortness of breath. This can result in nausea, muscle pain, headaches, dizziness and trembling of hands and fingers.

Mania in Bipolar Disorder

Drug dependency also results in bipolar disorder among patients. They are torn between the two extremities i.e., one minute they may feel tremendous happiness and the next moment it can change to extreme irritability without any external cause. This results in a rapid but incomplete speech pattern due to their racing thoughts.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Patients often feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster and are unable to control their anger or aggression. They became extremely sensitive and often show tremendous rage towards themselves and towards their friend and family or anybody around them. They become hyperactive and often tend to do impulsive and reckless actions. Sometimes following an attack of aggression the patient might even feel somewhat guilty and unworthy but this further leads to them lashing out on others, like a vicious cycle.

Schizophrenia and Hallucinations

Since drug dependence patients often find themselves trouble concentrating, with impaired judgment and making up unrealistic beliefs; these can create a hallucination effect. Patients with paranoid schizophrenia create an altered perception of reality also known as hallucinations. They start to see and hear things that are not real, think that they are being watched by someone and can even believe that others are trying to harm them.

What is the treatment of Drug Dependence?

Dr. Priyamvada Dua, Consultant - Mindfulness Bases Cognitive Therapy, Daivam Wellness says, "An integrated method with the goal of uprooting both the problem of drug dependence as well as treating the patient’s related mental disorder is the best treatment here. Recognising the symptoms of drug dependences, removing them and then coping with the aftereffects offers a long term solution."

This includes:

  • Treating the mental health problem with the help of various behavioral and cognitive therapies, counseling sessions, a change in eating habits and lifestyle, and asking for the support of friends and family.
  • Treating the drug dependence problem include detoxification of the drugs from the body, introducing medications, dealing with the withdrawal symptoms and preventing any future relapse with the help of coping mechanism and support groups.

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