Addiction is an inability of a user to stop using a substance or non-substance or engaging in a behavior even though it is causing physical and psychological harm. It does not only refer to dependence on substances such as weed as it may also involve an inability to stop participating in activities such as gambling, eating, sex or working. In Kenya, the prevalence of addiction costs our economy hundreds of millions every year.
Addiction can take over and reduce self-control of many people, but not all, after engaging for the first time in the use of a drug or activity voluntarily.
Drug misuse and drug addiction are different in that misuse of a substance at high doses or in inappropriate situations could lead to health and social problems while addiction is the condition or fact of being addicted to a particular activity, substance or thing. Non substance addiction may include internet, sex, gaming, cell phone to name a few while substance addiction include drugs like weed, alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine etc.
Anyone with addiction will always continue to misuse the activity or substance in spitefulness of the harmful effects it has on them either in the short term or long term. This can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts as evident in the rising cases of domestic violence and murders experienced in Kenya since Covid-19 was first reported in the Country.
Indications of addiction vary but here are just a few which include poor performance at work, relationship difficulties, a conspicuous lack of drive in daily activities, thoughtful changes in physical appearance and appearing self-justifying when asked about substance use or its effects.
Everyone using substances or non-substances, even socially or for fun, should discuss them with a professional doctor or close relatives to ensure safe use while monitoring for signs or symptoms of addiction before it’s too late to correct a mistake that would have been avoided. However the negative impacts addiction causes to a user on their health and wellness, they may not be ready or willing to seek professional medical help if asked upon.
The options of seeking medical assistance include therapy, rehab, detox, and medication using either of the following techniques :- medical devices to treat withdrawal, medication-based treatment, behavioral therapy and counseling, , treating related psychological factors and ongoing care to reduce the risk of relapse in the case of an emergency.
Addiction treatment often requires the support of the individual’s family or immediate relatives and is highly personalized.
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