Our Nation’s Addiction Epidemic: Tending to Your Loved Ones

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According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, more than 3,600 drug-related deaths occurred in 2015 alone, which explains the record-breaking rise in the death rate stemming from drug misuse: over 43 deaths per million people. Heroin overdoses have doubled since 2012; cocaine poisonings have been steadily increasing since 2011; and amphetamine-related deaths have nearly tripled over the past half decade. Even before these figures were released by the ONS, the UK’s drug-related mortality rate was already approximately three times higher than the documented European average.

The Issue of Dependence

Contrary to popular belief, individuals who are caught in the grips of addiction are actually suffering from a diagnosable disorder. After all, the medical definition of the word addiction is “a chronic disease that affects the brain’s internal reward, motivation, and memory functions”.

As such, it’s important to note that addicts experience a unique neurotransmitter reaction when ingesting their substance of choice. The forceful release of dopamine and serotonin causes the mind’s internal reward system to become flummoxed, which explains an addict’s ceaseless pursuit of higher highs regardless of the detrimental consequences. Whereas many people chase job promotions or material possessions to appease their moods, a drug addict’s happiness is almost entirely derived from his or her substance abuse. Because of this complex chemical reaction within the brain, addiction needs to be treated as both a serious medical affliction and a mental health issue.

Finding a Helping Hand

As you might imagine, this is a nuanced epidemic due to the unsubstantiated marginalisation of our society’s drug addicts. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the government to stop dragging its feet on the topic because a host of dedicated chemical dependency centres have been on the frontlines fighting the war against drugs for years now. This is evidenced by the fact that these addiction centres specialise in treating a multitude of conditions above and beyond the aforementioned hard drug dependencies.

  • Alcohol Addiction: As the most accessible legal substance in this day and age, alcohol is a huge source of stress and strife for countless families across the country. Thus, an alcoholism condition must be treated with a holistic approach to ensure the prevention of relapses and depression, not to mention liver damage, anaemia, and cardiomyopathy, all of which are exacerbated by over-indulging on ethanol (the chief intoxicating agent in alcoholic beverages).
  • Cannabis Addiction: Contrary to popular belief, marijuana addiction is not a laughing matter. A cannabis dependence occurs when the brain acclimates itself to large quantities of THC by decreasing the production of its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Renowned chemical dependency centres all over the world have begun implementing cannabis addiction treatment protocols to address this deceptive substance.
  • Gambling Addiction: This type of dependency is much more difficult to pinpoint but its manifestation is very similar to any other type of addiction. The dopamine and serotonin release that gambling addicts experience when taking huge fiscal risks represents their unique outlet. This means that a gambling addiction needs to be treated on a neurochemical level, which is why gambling dependence programmes are becoming increasingly prevalent by the day.

Finding the Right Facility

When it comes to making a personal decision as important as choosing the right chemical dependency centre, you want to ensure that you’re making the right choice, especially if you’re tending to an ailing family member or dear friend. With this in mind, you should check all accreditations, past client reviews, and facility descriptions as you start compiling a shortlist of the best local clinics. Apart from gathering this objective information, you should also schedule a few in-person consultations as well, which will allow you to get a better feel for the on-site professionals.

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