Drug abuse in South Africa is on the increase, this can be reasoned by a number of things; poverty, lack of education, disregard for ones life, heredity, trying to fit in with “the cool crowd,” psychiatric problems and maybe even boredom. Regardless of the reason, a person who abuses drugs is usually lost in a process that is difficult to break under their own violation and frequently needs a hand to seek treatment and to overcome their addiction.
Typically “drug addiction” is a term coined to describe a person who relies on their consumption of drugs. In medical and treatment circles the term “substance use disorder” better describes a person who relies on substances to manage their day to day lives. Hardened drug addiction is a very serious condition as the consumption of illicit substances is not only illegal in South Africa but can be severely detrimental to the persons long term physical and mental health.
One of the more common definitions of drug addiction in South Africa is the persistent use of substance in-spite of the associated negative consequences.
A person who abuses drugs to the point of being defined as an addict often has very little, regard for the people in his/her life or for any other people for that matter. Drug abuse and the use of drugs allows the users to escape the so called “real world,”. The side effects of abusing drugs can be severe and they may vary from person to person and from drug to drug. The alternative of the “high” which is a “low” is an not a desired result of an abusing drug addict.
A drug addicts day to day ambition and drive shifts to focus on getting their next “fix” and would do anything to make sure that he/she acquires this escape; this involves anything from stealing, lying and manipulating people.
A person with a substance use disorder frequently becomes compulsive, a person who begins to live life in extreme situations and doing things that they would not do usually under normal circumstances. For the substance user, attempting to live a life not characterised by compulsive behaviour becomes difficult as this compulsive behaviour becomes a practiced norm in their day to day life.
In addiction terminology these are “out of control” scenarios that which families and friends of addicts endure while their love one is “caught up in their addiction”. The unfortunate truth to this is that as the addiction progresses the likelihood of death, arrest and detention, alienating family, permanent injury, psychological trauma, mental health disorders and financial ruin become the stark reality of the situation, which is why dealing with any drug addiction as early on as possible. One of the most effective routes to stop this cycle includes early intervention where the family confronts the user in an aided and supported environment to enable them to enter an active treatment and recovery environment.