During my 40 years working in employee assistance and consulting with businesses I have had worked with many people who struggled with substance abuse problems. For the lay person, I would categorize this issue as follows:
- Use-Many substances can be problematic to deadly if taken alone or in combination. Certain experiences can be such that we see that it is just not for us. Personally, street or prescription drug use never has been a part of my life.
- Abuse-Any use that is excessive or does short- or long-term damage to you is abusive to your body and can have long term impact. LSD a popular hallucinogenic drug from the 60’s and 70’s did lead to bad trips and in some cases death. With the strong use of alcohol in American society, we have seen its impact in families, on the highways, and in the work place. As one of the most socially accepted rituals, “cocktails” are prevalent and in moderation not an issue. In any circumstance, abuse has impact.
- Addiction-When a person becomes addicted to any substance it has serious health and social implications. When a person is addicted to a substance, they cannot stop using it without some type of intervention and professional care.
Alcoholism, in particular has had tremendous negative impact on marriages, families, traffic fatalities, and life itself. One of the most consistent symptoms that is a serious symptom is, high tolerance. Being able to consume large amounts of alcohol is abusive to health and is tied to physical addiction. When a person is physically addicted, they require medical care to manage withdrawal safely.
Having handled many interventions with clients, and having had the chance to work in an addiction program, this disease remains an interest of mine professionally. Difficult to overcome, but worth the effort, sobriety or complete abstinence, offers hope for a healthy and happy life.
My final area of discussion is the view from addressing drug impact on young people, our children. It is important to educate them, hold them accountable through being engaged in their lives as a positive role model. Peer pressure and the party environment that begins early in schools can be a dangerous mix with driving, sex, crime, and violence being exacerbated through drug use.
As with drug use in adults there are no easy solutions, but paying attention to behavior, friendships, and other issues can help us support people we care about.
When we consider how our brain works, it would seem evident that when a human take in drugs of any kind, the thought process and all of our emotions would be deeply affected. Learning, loving, and living are affected by drugs of any type. Let the user beware.