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Treating addictions

Addictions are the bane of society today, most of us know people who might benefit from getting rid of that nasty habit. This is a short outline as to what de-addiction involves. The principles are the same irrespective of what one is addicted to (alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, cocaine etc.)

ENHANCE MOTIVATION

The first step in breaking free from a nasty habit is to develop the motivation to quit. Adequate motivation makes everything else much simpler. Thus for any de-addiction programme to be successful, adequate time must be spent in working on and reinforcing one's motivation to quit. Chronic users are gradually made to contemplate the advantages and disadvantages of drug use and are slowly guided toward taking action.

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DETOXIFY

Most drugs of abuse ranging from alcohol to opiods produce withdrawal symptoms ( like tremors and sleep disturbances in mild cases and even seizures in severe cases.) During detoxification, medications are prescribed to counteract the effects caused by cessation of drugs of abuse.. Further, any complications arising from chronic substance use would be identified and corrected during detoxification..

REHAB

Post detoxification, the chronic user has to now mould himself into a world wherin drug abuse isnt an option anymore. Rehabilitation ideally restructures one's social and occupational life to make it least likely for drug related problems to surface again.The user is ideally trained to cope with cues, deal with social situations and politely decline any invitations to restart substance use. Emphasis is also placed on ways to prevent relapse either via medication/via support groups or regualr followups.

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Unfortunately most people fail to realize that substance use disorders result from abberant circuits in the brain, a chronic user usually has NO control over substance taking behaviour irrespective of what he/she may beleive. Addictions are diseases that need treatment, not habits that can be forgotten. Dont give up on those suffering from substance use problems, stand with them, fight with them. There is always a way ! 



Psychiatry is a medical speciality, like surgery, general medicine and paediatrics. It involves the study, diagnosis and management of mental illnesses and distressing conditons, pertaining to both the mind and body. Misconceptions about psychiatric illness and treatment have some how prevented help seeking behaviour in those who need it the most. This Wall has to go, wherin visiting a psychiatrist should no longer be taboo, and people should be able to openly and freely discuss mental health issues. 


Dr Vikas Prabhav is a psychiatrist in chennai, he runs The Vivid Mind  mental wellness clinic in Anna Nagar. We aim at providing holistic, multimodal care for those suffering from mental illnesses and adjustment issues. We offer effective management strategies for depression, anxiety, unexplained physical symptoms, addictions, child/adolescent problems and other behavioural issues.The information provided in this website does not substitute for a medical consult.