Chemical dependency or substance abuse has been one of the greatest problems that the society has been facing for years. It affects not only the lives of the dependent, but also their families, friends, and nearly everyone around them. It can naturally be difficult for families to deal with, especially if they want to help their loved ones but do not exactly know how. Among the great ways to fight and prevent this issue is through awareness. Learning more about the problem and how to treat it can prove to be a great leap towards its cure.
What is Chemical Dependency?
Chemical dependency is the compulsive need to use drugs in order to feel its so called “benefits,” or just to be able to function normally. Most people use addictive substances because it helps them experience quick yet temporary relief from grief, frustration, or pain.
It is said that people who are chemically dependent often have other psychiatric problems, or at the very least, need professional help, which can complicate matters even more. Chemical dependence or addiction is also characterized by frequent relapse, and one should not expect to overcome addiction in the first attempt. However, the first try is always crucial as it marks the dependent’s willingness to be treated and cured.
Some of the most commonly abused substances include heroin, opium, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy, uppers, etc.), and ketamine (Valium), among others.
Medical and Psychological Treatment
Many substance abusers falsely believe that they can overcome the problem on their own. However, majority of them fail to succeed and end up buried deeper to the ordeal. Studies show that long-term use of drugs and other similar substances such as alcohol and cannabis can alter brain function and strengthen the need to use and consume them further. Thus, the craving continues even after the individual stops using them, heightening the possibility of going back to the negative habit again.
Because of the ongoing desire to use drugs, preventing relapse makes for the most important part of treatment. Treatment programs depend on the substance/s abused and of course, the person. Behavioral or psychological treatment can provide the individual with strategies to help them avoid such cravings and eventually, prevent relapse. Medical professionals can also prescribe medications to help patients cope with withdrawal symptoms.
As mentioned above, drug users often have underlying psychological issues or disorders, making counseling a necessary part of chemical dependence treatment.
How Psychological Counseling Can Help
Even before one gets into substance abuse, consulting a psychology professional can already be of help. Stressed? Depressed? Bombarded with existence-questioning problems? If you feel like you lack someone to talk to, a practitioner can be the friend that you need.
Chemical abuse may start as early as childhood or adolescence. A lot of issues can push someone to use drugs, thinking that it is the only way for them to escape reality quickly. Family issues, bullying, relationship problems, and matters in organizations they are in (such as in school), can contribute to someone’s desire to get into drug abuse.
Psychological counseling can be considered as the most effective method for one to avoid being drowned into substance dependence. Through this, a client can learn of ways to overcome his troubles other than depending on the temporary relief that drugs can provide. Psychologists can also recommend techniques that can help patients become better individuals, not only for themselves but for their families and communities as well.