ADDICTION: ENTERING THE RIGHT DOOR, WITH THE WRONG KEY
One of the most disturbing facts of our times is the alarming number
of young persons who abuse a substance, alcohol, or gadgets. There are an
estimated 70 million drug abusers in India. This problem is likely to get out
of hand unless the government, NGOs, and the general public work together
wholeheartedly to address and reverse the destructive trend.
Psychological and environmental factors play a major role alongside genetic predisposition and a range of other factors. However, some researchers observe that addiction is not a pathology in the sense that the mainstream promotes; rather, it is more of a misguided search for wholeness and belonging. In other words, ‘addicts are trying to open the right door, they are simply using the wrong key’.
There are many de-addiction and rehab centres with programmes and processes specific to each one. Generally, they follow a regimen with four phases:
- The intake during which the substance/alcohol abuse history and other background info are collected and a treatment plan suited to the client needs is ready.
- Detox is the stage when the toxins are flushed out from your system under medical supervision.
- Rehab begins after detoxification and the focus at this stage is on physical and mental healing. Individual and family counselling and therapies used as needed.
- Recovery is a lifelong process and at the rehab stage, one is prepared to take up this long and arduous journey.
One important dimension in any treatment modality is the ‘meaning world’ of the client. Addicts have to be relieved of feelings of meaninglessness, help them transcend the suffering self, to lose acute self-doubt leading to self-awareness, and to get a sense of connection to others and something outside of themselves that matters.
A programme that doesn’t address this existential vacuum may not successfully take away the cause of chronic addiction. As Positive Psychology suggests, addiction recovery should involve more than taking away what is “bad”. It should focus on building something potent and positive to satisfy the unmet needs that caused the drug/alcohol abuse in the first place.
Some steps in this direction are:
- Promoting positive effect;
- Building hope;
- Supporting autonomy;
- Creating meaningful experiences;
- Reducing suffering (mental and physical);
- Reducing acute self-awareness; and,
- Facilitating to be part of something bigger than themselves.
The following 13 key principles to be followed in addiction treatment proposed by National Institute on Drug Abuse are worth considering: