Addiction and Teenagers - An Abstract


Dr. Samir Chaukkar

Any drug substance especially a psychoactive substance used for non medicinal purposes such as intoxication or recreation leads to addiction and is detrimental not only to one’s own health but to the family and the society as well. Adolescents are the most vulnerable group of the society. First they start taking drugs out of curiosity to experiment with, later on as pleasure seeking, then as stress reliever which leads to habit formation and finally addiction with strong physiological and psychological/emotional dependence on the drug.

Failure, frustration, affluence, poverty, family/matrimonial disharmony, peer group pressure are some of the factors which make a person vulnerable to drug abuse.

Teenagers may be involved with legal or illegal drugs in various ways. Experimentation with drugs during adolescence is common. Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow. They also have a tendency to feel indestructible and immune to the problems that others experience.

Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age increases the risk of using other drugs later. Some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others.

Adolescence is a time for trying new things. Teens use drugs for many reasons, including curiosity, because it feels good, to reduce stress, to feel grown up or to fit in. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems.

Who is At Risk?
Teenagers at risk for developing serious alcohol and drug problems include those:
• with a family history of substance abuse
• who are depressed
• who have low self-esteem
• who feel like they don’t fit in or are out of the mainstream

Warning Signs of Teen Substance Abuse
• fatigue
• repeated health complaints
• red and glazed eyes
• lasting cough
• personality change
• sudden mood changes
• irritability
• irresponsible behavior
• low self-esteem
• poor judgment
• depression
• general lack of interest
• starting arguments
• negative attitude
• breaking rules
• withdrawing from family
• secretiveness
• decreased interest
• negative attitude
• drop in grades
• many absences
• truancy
• discipline problems
Social problems
• new friends who make poor decisions and are not interested in school or family activities
• problems with the law
• changes to less conventional styles in dress and music

Some of the warning signs listed above can also be signs of other problems. Parents may recognize signs of trouble but should not be expected to make the diagnosis.
Consulting a physician to rule out physical causes of the warning signs is a good first step. This should often be followed or accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation by a psychiatrist or mental health professional.

Substance Abuse Treatment
Parents can help through early education about drugs, open communication, good role modeling, and early recognition if problems are developing. If there is any suspicion that there is a problem, parents must find the most appropriate intervention for their child.
The decision to get treatment for a child or adolescent is serious. Parents are encouraged to seek consultation from a mental health professional when making decisions about substance abuse treatment for children or adolescents.
Counseling (individual and/or group) and other behavioral therapies are critical components of effective treatment.
Strong motivation can facilitate the treatment process. Sanctions or enticements in the family, school setting, or juvenile justice system can increase significantly both treatment entry and retention rates and the success of drug treatment interventions.
Recovery from addiction can be a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of treatment.

Role of Homoeopathy in Addictions
Homeopathy is a non-toxic system of medicine that uses highly-diluted remedies to treat illness and relieve discomfort in a wide variety of health conditions. It is thought that homeopathic remedies are able to stimulate a person’s bodily systems to deal with stress and illness more efficiently. Research is currently being undertaken to understand how and why these remedies work on the mental and physical level.

Specific homeopathic remedies may be helpful during the period of withdrawal from alcohol or drugs.
Holistic approaches to addiction and alcoholism can be of great assistance throughout the stages of recovery. From detoxification to reducing stress and improving mental and physical well being, holistic approaches play a vital role in regaining personal balance.
For the recovering addict, holistic approaches should be accompanied by a professional treatment plan but can be effective well beyond the initial recovery phase.
Recent scientific studies have demonstrated dramatically improved success rates with the addition of holistic treatment approaches.

Some Homoeopathic Drugs used for Alcoholism

Nux Vomica, Avena Sativa, Ars Alb, Sulphur, Bryonia, Sulphuric acid, Opium, Rhus tox, Kali Phos, Sterculia, Quercus spiritius gland etc.

Dr. Samir Chaukkar
M.D. P.G.Diploma-Addictions treatment and prevention (Canada)

Professor- dept of HMM and Pediatrics

Y.M.T.Hom medical College, Navi Mumbai

Author of the book on Comparative materia medica
Consulting Homoeopath and Addictions Counsellor

09892166616, 022-65118823, 022-65125616