Drug addicts need help to quit, says Onifade

Understanding drug addicts is maybe easier said than done. Unless we are in their position, we would never know how it truly feels. Sometimes, we underestimate them for not being able to quit or tried to quit only to end up in a relapse. What we do not understand is that, some things are just so hard that we cannot do them on our own. Instead, we need help- may it be from friends, family members or some organizations.

This is also the reason why there are drug addiction treatment centers that are available. It’s because some people may not say it out loud that they need help, but they just need a place to go to where they will feel accepted and be given another chance and help to start over again. In fact, many drug addicts do not seek help from people around them, they just go to these centers because in there, they know that they wont be judged.

Drug addicts

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DRUG addicts are not in position to quit the habit on their own except they receive help from those around them.

Head of Drug Addiction Treatment, Education and Research Unit at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro in Ogun State, Dr Peter Onifade who disclosed this, said even though the choice to  abuse drugs is personal, stopping is not unilateral.

Speaking at the 2018 Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Lagos State Annual General Meeting, he said: “When people who abuse drugs tell you that they want to stop but can’t help themselves from going back into it, they are saying the truth. It is their choice to start, but by the time the drug starts to use them, it is not their decision alone to stop. “Whether they will stop or not is a serious battle between the impulsive part of the brain and reflective part of the brain.  Irrespective of the psychoactive substance someone is taken, on the final analysis, this substance has significant and lasting changes in the brain especially in the part of the brain that as to do with thinking, feeling and judgment. “By the time drug starts to affect the brain, it empowers part of the brain called the impulsive, which dominates reflective part of the brain, such that the person is willing but cannot go by his own decision because there is part of the brain that is compelling him to work against his decision. “He or she will be the one to decide not to indulge in drug and still be the one to go back into drug.

He or she will tell you, I don’t want to go back to drug but I find myself going back. At that moment, impulsive part of the brain has put pressure on reflective part of the brain. Onifade who is a Consultant Psychiatrist said that such individuals need people support to address the issue, “at that point they need collaboration with people who can offer help and there are certain things they can do as self help. “On how to stop substance use completely, decide a target date to stop using the drug and stop that date.

Declare publicly your intention to stop, this will help to mobilize others and you towards maintaining abstinence. Stay away as much as possible from the cues and triggers which remind you of drug use. You may face withdrawal effects after stopping use. Seek support from your health care provider of the withdrawal effects…

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