If you do not have a family member, friend or colleague that is directly affected by drug or alcohol abuse, you most probably think that it is something that only happens to other people. And we would all love to say that alcoholism and drug abuse is not our problem. But it is. Drug and alcohol addiction is everyone’s problem because it is a social problem.
If you look at the statistics from numerous studies that have been carried out in Britain in recent years, you will see that drug and alcohol abuse is a growing problem in our society. Data published by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) has highlighted the fact that drug And alcohol related deaths in England and Wales have reached record highs. Opiates, like heroin and morphine, are still the most commonly abused substances in the UK but deaths involving cocaine abuse and alcohol have doubled between 2015 and 2018. Britain has the highest rate of addiction for opioids and the highest number of life-time abusers of class A drugs in Europeand approximately 1 in 10 adults (between 16 and 59 years old) use illegal drugs.
Drug And Alcohol Addiction Is Not A Victimless Crime
Drug and alcohol addicts might like to believe that they are not hurting anyone else but that is just not true. Addicts hurt their family members and the people closest to them the most, but it has a ripple effect. Substance abuse and addiction leads to numerous physical and mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, heart complications, liver disease, kidney dysfunction and cirrhosis of the liver. Withdrawal symptoms can also have a detrimental effect on your health and in severe cases, the detox process can be life-threatening and include seizures, heart arrhythmia and delirium tremens. Addicts usually also suffer financially as they can no longer perform at work or hold down a decent job.
Substance dependence makes it hard for people to maintain strong personal relationships and the destructive nature of substance abuse leads to a breakdown of the family unit and this in turn results in a number of social and behavioural problems for people in their teen years. There is also a correlation between drug and alcohol abuse, social problems, antisocial behaviour and crime in many areas. People under the influence of drugs and alcohol have lowered inhibitions and this makes them more likely to commit crimes or indulge in antisocial behaviour. Petty theft to obtain funds to buy drugs or alcohol is also more common in areas with high drug and alcohol usage. The temptation to enter prostitution or escorting to earn “easy” money to fund their addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse places a huge burden on the financial and human resources of the NHS, police force and legal system and this affects every person living in the UK and that is why addiction is a social problem as well as a personal one.
Drug and alcohol addiction is recognised by the majority of medical professionals as a brain illness, but it is often still misunderstood by many people. People who have never suffered from substance dependency or had close contact with an addict often don’t realise how destructive and all-consuming the disease of addiction can be. They see addicts as people who can’t control themselves and have chosen to do something that they know is against the law. But addiction is far more complex than that and there are many underlying factors that influence a person’s susceptibility to addiction, including trauma, depression, pain and bereavement. Addiction is often the symptom of the problem rather than the cause.
Drug problems are not just confined to taking illegal substances and street drugs, like heroin and ecstasy. In the past few years, there has been a marked increase in people in the UK being admitted to rehab for addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can be obtained either by prescription from your GP, purchased from a pharmacy or from the medicine section in supermarkets. Many people become addicted to prescription medication as a result of injury or trauma. They are initially prescribed the drugs for a good reason but due to the potency of certain prescription medication, it is easy to become addicted. When they can no longer get a prescription from a doctor for the medication that they have become addicted to, these people will turn to illegal drugs that they can buy on the street or the dark web to get their fix.
Drug addiction is a social problem that needs to be taken seriously by society as a whole and not be swept under the carpet. One of the best ways to deal with drug dependency is for the addict to get the help that they need and for their family or friends to be supported throughout the whole recovery process. Fortunately, there are a number of detox and rehab options for addicts in the UK. There are programmes that are provided by the NHS as well as private treatment options.
How Residential Rehabilitation Works In A Nutshell
Residential rehab treatment has proved to be one of the most effective ways of treating drug addiction. One of the reasons that residential rehab is successful is because it removes you from the toxic environment and people that are enabling your addiction and allows you to focus solely on your recovery without distractions and temptations. This gives you the best opportunity to regain control of your life and make good decisions regarding your future.
Residential rehab usually starts with an in-depth interview to establish the severity, frequency and length of your addiction. When you are admitted to a residential rehab facility, if necessary, you will undergo medically assisted detox and be given prescription medication to wean your body off drugs and help you cope with the withdrawal symptoms. This is a necessary step for people who are suffering from severe long-term addiction as some of the withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol can be life-threatening. After you have completed the detox process you will take part in rehab therapy sessions. This will usually include cognitive behavioural therapy, group support, family sessions and one-on-one counselling. These residential rehabilitation programs can vary between weeks, months and in some options available, a year or more.
Other options include religious based treatments and rapid opioid detoxification among others. A full list of options can be sought from your local drug and alcohol service. To find your nearest service, visit our help & support page to find your nearest.
What happens afterwards?
Upon leaving rehab, it is vital that those going through the recovery process implements various structural support strategies including but not limited to moving to and living in a new area of the country, this removes them from places and people that may cause them to relapse. Finding a 12 step program or other organisation to continue the work that has begun in rehab and finding a new job. Other plans are implemented, all with the intention of removing the temptations, places, people and situations that may cause a relapse.
Remember: Anyone With an active addiction can live a happy, healthy, prosperous life without drugs or alcohol. Permanent changes can be made, IF they have had enough of the life they currently live and want a new, clean, sober life badly enough!
Getting Help For An Addiction
If you need help with an addiction, you can find contact information for organisations, charities and groups that can help. You can find their contact information on our help & support page here.