I once knew a man who brushed his mouth with bottles of beer in the morning and it was always the last thing he took most night. We knew this because he often boasted with it.
This man was an artisan for my late mom and would often stagger in to do his work. This continued over the years I knew him until he could no longer manage to “stagger” to work for his customers. As skilled and talented as he was at what he did, he lost it out with alcoholic addiction. He went into oblivion. We no longer knew him. We lost him.
The case above is a common experience and almost all of us know one person at least who’s being tormented with the consequences of addiction to alcohol, drugs, work etc. There are cases of domestic violence as a result of addictions.
With every corners of our streets becoming a beer parlour joints now in Lagos, something have to be done about strict adherence to age restrictions for alcoholic purchases as against current indiscriminate purchase by anyone; especially for the future of our youths’ sake. The sales of alcoholic drinks is not as regulated in our country as it is in the more advanced countries. It’s a common thing to send a child to go buy beers in shops regardless of the stipulated age limits on the bottles.
Why do we get addicted to stuff? If it makes us do what we would naturally not be caught doing in the first place? Then why do we still go back to that very thing that makes us addicted? Why do some people get addicted and others do not?
We will deal with all of these issues as we move on with this topic in the next few weeks.
Ever since my short course on Addictions and mental health, I have never ceased to be amazed at what addiction of any kind can make of anyone, whether small or mighty, poor or rich; addiction cuts across every populace in a typical society (study shows an Approximately 10% in any population). It turns men into puppets and kings to clowns. It can be very demeaning, can be emotional at times for the people involved especially when they feel that lost of control over their lives.
What does Addiction Mean?
It is a compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. In simple terms, addiction is the persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful.
Over the next couple of days, I will bring to our awareness much of the study on addiction by DR STEVEN M MELEMIS PH.D, M.D. The aim of this is not to make anyone that may be addicted feel bad but to make you aware of what goes on in your brain that has made it difficult to break free from addiction and how you can overcome that.
Below is some excepts from his publications.
An addiction must meet at least 3 of the following criteria. This is based on the criteria of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) and World Health Organization (ICD-10).
1. Tolerance. Do you use more alcohol or drugs over time?
2. Withdrawal. Have you experienced physical or emotional withdrawal when you have stopped using? Have you experienced anxiety, irritability, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting? Emotional withdrawal is just as significant as physical withdrawal.
3. Limited control. Do you sometimes drink or use drugs more than you would like? Do you sometimes drink to get drunk? Does one drink lead to more drinks sometimes? Do you ever regret how much you used the day before?
4. Negative consequences. Have you continued to use even though there have been negative consequences to your mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family?
5. Neglected or postponed activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of your use?
6. Significant time or energy spent. Have you spent a significant amount of time obtaining, using, concealing, planning, or recovering from your use? Have you spend a lot of time thinking about using? Have you ever concealed or minimized your use? Have you ever thought of schemes to avoid getting caught?
7. Desire to cut down. Have you sometimes thought about cutting down or controlling your use? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use?
Do you think you, or someone you know may fit into this criteria? If yes, it’s best to seek help from addiction rehabs and speciliast.
I am aware of many people who really want to let go of their addictions but have found it difficult because they did not have access to the information needed before it got that bad. I’m of the opinion that having knowledge of what addiction is about could save people who are yet to be addicted, and help them manage going beyond their intake limits.
You cannot maximize your authentic self being addicted to substances. You are too great a soul to be controlled by things.
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