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Substance abuse is a huge issue and has been growing over the years. It is an issue that has been increasing over the year. With huge imports from other countries and ease of access it has made it easy to get a hold of and influence many people. Huge issues that involve this situation are people that are concerned about the money and power (usually someone that is involved in a gang), people find themselves involved with the wrong crowd and get drugged down, growing up around it, and not seeing there is a problem before it is too late. This is a huge issue for me because I have family members that suffer from drug abuse. From an early age, I witnessed it firsthand. My mother was an addict, my father was addict, and my brother was an addict.This topic strikes close to home for me and I am sure I am not alone. It has haunted me for many years and I have never been able to get away from it. The amazing thing is it never affected me.
The sad thing about substance abuse is that there is no known cause for what actually causes people to use. There are many factors that can involve someone to get involved in drug use like genes, the action of the drugs, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress can all be factors. Many people that develop substance abuse issues have problems like depression, ADD, PTSD, or another mental illness. Understanding that what someone is doing and the way they are acting can be very helpful for the family and the person using.
In my opinion people outside of the “norm” that you would consider someone to be a user has started to change. We have a growing issue with colleges students that are getting into drugs and alcohol early. There are many deaths per year caused by alcohol and drug abuse. “An estimated 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States” (ALCOHOLISM 2017) In the cases of drug abuse it varies from site to site. From what I gathered it is approximately 50,0000 deaths per year from drug related cases.
How can we help these people from getting to that point to where it is too late? It is good to notice that someone needs help and not avoid them. Many of the people that are involved in the action feel as though they have no one and no one cares. They usually suffer from a low self-esteem which makes it hard for that individual to reach out to someone for help. It is easy to see the signs that someone is using. You just have to be aware of what they are. Each drug has different side effects. The easiest ones to recognize are, “Problems at school or work, physical health issues, neglected appearance, changes in behavior, and spending money.” (Clinic 2014) These signs don’t always appear right away. It is something that gradually progresses. Some people that have suffered with depression and other mental issues can be hard to recognize. These issues could already be something that was happening before the drugs came into the person’s life.
What options can you, as a family member, exercise to help the one you love get away from the drugs and addiction? There are many ways to get involved and show the user you are concerned for them and their health. Many people that are watching from the outside are concerned, but don’t know how to help. A great step is to seek help from someone of expertise. It is already hard enough for you being stress over what is going on. As someone that is concerned you need to be ready to approach the issue open minded and with knowledge of what is happening to the individual suffering. After seeking counsel from someone with educational background setting up a time to do an intervention would be a great step to start. Get everyone in the family together for support, show the person that there really are people that are here for him/her and concerned something very bad could happen. It can be a very upsetting time for members of the family, especially if the individual that the intervention is for has caused issues for the family like stealing, lying, physical abuse, etc... When you're going into the intervention have something wrote out on what you are going to say. It helps clear you mind, keep you on track, and keep you from getting upset and making the situation worse. “Brief interventions can be conducted face-to-face, over the phone or via computerized feedback to patients. They can be performed by health professionals after relatively limited training. Providing brief interventions can save lives and reduce a broad range of negative health and social consequences including addiction.” (Learning 2014)
After getting involved with an intervention you need to take further steps to help the person prevent relapsing. It is one of the other most important steps in the process. Continue to support the person and show them that you are there for them and their well-being. Watch for the signs of regression. You can miss the signs just like you did in the beginning and wind back at square one. Keep track of the individuals the person is involving themselves with. That is a big thing because influence is a great factor in the world. People strive to be accepted by those who are cool and have a lot of friends. You never want to be the odd one out. It is important because the person needs to build their confidence again and gain self-esteem. Look into groups that can help your family member or friend out. There are many organizations out there like NA, AA, help facilities, and many other treatment facilities that can provide help for someone in danger of relapsing.
Substance abuse is a growing trend in America. With the population increasing and society getting worse there is a need to drown out the problems of the everyday life. Sometime we don’t even recognize it is the loved ones that are right beside us. Being educated and having a plan if it ever happens to someone you love is important. Take the time to get involved and know what your plan is going to be if you face this ever-growing problem.
ALCOHOLISM, NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND. 2017. ALCOHOL USE IN THE UNITED STATES. February. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics.
Clinic, Mayo. 2014. Diseases and Conditions: Drug Addiction. Dec 05. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/symptoms/con-20020970.
Learning, Gale Cengage. 2014. Screening and Early Intervention Help Prevent Teen Substance Use and Addiction. http://ic.galegroup.com.proxy.ulib.uits.iu.edu/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=true&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&source=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC%3AGIC&mode=view&catId=&u=i.