On Public Critical Perception & Awareness
Understanding Addicts - An Answer To The Fundamental Questions Of Addiction.
When a person becomes addicted, he/she does not do it through choice. Whether it's alcohol, opiates, amphetamines, benzo's or even cigarettes, no one sets out to become an addict. All of these drugs have been, are currently and will in most likeliness, always be used for recreational purposes, it is only when the use turns to abuse that problems occur, this is most often caused by a need for escapism which, in turn, can have many root causes. Trauma, whether mental or physical is the most common cause.
To give an example we can all relate to, I'm sure that if not you, then someone in your family would know someone that has been directly affected by alcoholism via a third party due, in part, from bereavement. That is to say, I'm sure someone you know knows of someone who hit the bottle because of the death of a spouse, child, friend etc.
What many don't realise is that when a person becomes dependent, they are not only looking to escape the trauma, but are also simply trying to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that become inevitable whenever your body and mind have become dependent on a certain drug. The type of withdrawal varies from drug to drug, with serious alcoholism and opiate dependency usually being referred to as the benchmarks for withdrawal symptoms, this is primarily because they are the only two where people have actually died where the withdrawal has been so bad.
Just try to imagine, every day, trying to scrape together the cash to buy something that won't make you feel euphoric or even particularly good, it will merely stop you from becoming ill. This is the reality for millions of people the world over. They are ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances, not some faceless criminal scourge.
I personally became dependent on opiates not through recreational use, although I did use them recreationally to a point, but through simply being prescribed a painkiller that I was not aware would cause dependency and had no choice but to use. That is just one example and I will go into my personal story later, but for now, I'll leave it at that.
The final thing which is important to understand, is that, contrary to what you may believe, getting help for any kind of help is extremely hard. When you enter Substance Abuse System (SAS) you find yourself spun into a huge web of bureaucracy. I personally have been sent from my doctors office to KCA (Kents Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Service), to mental health, substance abuse, the pain clinic and back to my doctor. On numerous occasions I found they had little understanding of the problem, passing the problem (ie me) from one service to another, notes from various appointments would inevitably include misleading and sometimes downright false information and no attempt by anyone except my doctor was made to actually solve the issue. As such, it has taken me nearly 6 months to get a place in a detox clinic, merely to be weaned off of a drug the NHS put me on. Now imagine how it would be if you were a person with mental health issues, no family or friends to help you through and no-one there to bear witness when you're told that you said something you didn't, or visa versa. I will not go into the myriad of problems that I and my family encountered in this hub, I just want you to understand that it really is incredibly hard to navigate your way to the correct people and services required to rid you of your dependency.
Please, have a little understanding for those on the streets who are dependent, who have no-one, please understand that though they might do things which are looked down upon by society, they would not do it if they had free will. It is not until you see with your own eyes, the true experience of withdrawal, or (I sincerely hope this is not the case) have actually gone through it yourself, that you will understand quite how ill a person becomes.
I'll leave it at that for now, this is a basic draft and I will revise it at a later date but I decided it was too important an issue to leave laying dormant.
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