Friday, January 20, 2017

Understanding Drug Use & Addiction

For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don't, My name is Ashley and I am a Personal Support Worker as well as a Mental Health & Addictions Counsellor. 

I don't blog often but I am definitely going to start. Everyday I go on Facebook and see people struggling with Mental Health & Addiction issues. Everyday I sit and wonder what it is that I can offer to help these people. The answer I keep coming up with is "My Time & My Knowledge on the subjects". 

I studied for a couple of years to get my credentials, but I can tell you that you definitely do not learn everything about these subjects by always reading books and listening to lectures. People learn in many ways; such as; having an addiction and/or mental health issue themselves, someone who is a family member and/or an acquaintance to someone they know who has these issues, and or becoming someone like me and many like me that do the deep down research it takes to understand. Don't get me wrong....even in all of these situations, no one can fully understand these issues. No two people are the same, information changes constantly, and theory is not everything. 

So that being said, anything I post is just in my professional and personal opinion. Lets agree to disagree, shall we say lol.(For reference.....when i say drug(s)-I do include Alcohol to be a drug as well.)

When it comes to drug use and addiction, people have a stigma on these illnesses because they do not understand why or how other people become addicted in the first place. People believe that "the addict should just go get help and quit already!" Well for some people, they can.......for most..... they can't.

Addiction is a very complex disease. It is considered a "relapsing" disease. Yes, most start off voluntarily to take the drug, but some do not. People most often intake drugs for the "euphoric" feeling that they get from them. They forget all of their troubles, their problems for that time being. As the feeling starts to fade, their body/mind is calling out for "more". That is usually when the addiction occurs. For some they can pick it up and put it down when they need to. Some are called "functioning addicts" due to the fact that they can function as needed in society even when under the influence. Others cannot put it down once they've lost that "euphoric" feeling they rely on to cope with their everyday lives. 

In most cases of addiction, people often have mental health issues that play apart of their addiction. They start out or end up with depression, anxiety, phobias, etc. then they hide behind the drug that makes them stronger, and/or happier with their life. All of their worries disappear for a short time. And again, in most cases that is what turns them into an addict. 

Now for all the people that think that, "oh well, why can't they just quit like the rest of us", or "they are sick, they need to be put in jail or a hospital", that is where the stigma lies...... Yes, these people are very sick, yes these people need help, but do you really think that judging them is going to help them get the help they need, or do you think it is going to make them worse off then they were to begin with. I personally have lost a few acquaintances in my life to drug addiction by suicide because they felt alone and judged, and felt as if there was no way out except taking their lives. These people did not know where to turn or how to get help, because the people they did turn to for help......turned them away. 

Now, that being said I also do know quite a few people who are recovering addicts!! All because people who cared, showed them guidance and the support they needed to get back onto their feet!! Being in recovery is not easy. You have temptations around you all of the time, whether it be drugs, bars, social gatherings, etc...... they are EVERYWHERE!! But if you have the support of meetings, family/friends, groups, etc. you can make it. Take one day at a time, one minute at a time if you need to, to get through your day. If you relapse...... that's okay..... it just means that you need more, or different treatment options. It does not mean that you have failed, it means that you had a trigger that you hadn't quite figured out yet, but now you know it and you can work to deal with it.

Not everyone is perfect, and in my opinion.....people who think they are.....are delusional lol.  People criticize and judge because they do not have the understanding of the lets help people better understand by guiding and teaching them in a way we have learned about and experienced these situations.

To everyone who reads these blogs I would appreciate comments and suggestions for future blogs as well. I will be doing more on this subject, going deeper into the subject as well as giving some guidance to help those who are out there struggling....any of us in this group are always here to help where we can :D.

Have a splendid day y'all!!

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