Drug use, including alcohol and nicotine, becomes a problem when it starts impacting on other areas of the person’s life, such as relationships, living arrangements, finances, hobbies, and health.
Mental illness and drug dependency often go hand in hand. Sometimes mental illness makes a person more prone to drug use, while other times drug use may trigger mental illness. If this is the case, it’s important that both the drug dependency and the underlying mental illness are treated.
Symptoms will vary according to the drug being used, but some general signs of drug use are:]
- Sudden changes in behaviour
- Mood swings
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Loss of interest in hobbies and other pleasurable activities
- Red or glassy eyes
- Runny nose
- Changed sleeping patterns
Drug and alcohol dependence usually requires a multi-pronged approach to treatment. Withdrawal programs are designed to help people addicted to substances detoxify in a safe way. Medication is often used to ease cravings and make the person more comfortable as they go through withdrawal.
Counselling can be helpful to change habits and create new, more positive thought processes. Sometimes there will be an underlying reason the person began using drugs in the first place, and this can be addressed through counselling.
Some people find self-help groups useful, while other times controlled use, or helping a person to find a less damaging way of using drugs is recommended