WHEN there are mysterious problems that just won’t resolve no matter what, consider substance abuse.
When a person is using drugs or drinking excessively, it is not unusual for him to hide his habits. A teenage boy may escape at night to smoke weed or drink with his friends — or worse. He and his friends may raid family medicine chests and pool their prescription drugs. An alcoholic wife may drink while her husband is at work and do her best to hide the evidence. The drive to abuse these drugs is so strong that addicts learn how to keep others from interfering with their habits.
But substance abuse routinely leads to problems in life, such as:
– Illnesses and financial problem
– Arrests for driving under the influence, possession of drugs or crimes committed to get the money for drugs
– Domestic or child abuse or neglect.
– Loss of jobs
– Missing possessions that were sold for drugs
A family who is trying to help a loved one through problems like these may wonder why all their efforts seem ineffective. Every time they lend him money or help him find a job or get out of jail, more problems come up. In this situation, a family should consider that the root of all these problems could be substance abuse.
How to do it wrong
A married couple is facing severe financial problems and is preparing to file for bankruptcy. The wife can’t get the husband to contribute any help toward resolving the financial problem despite repeated attempts. Right in the middle of this problem, he walks out on his job and starts disappearing for days at time.
He starts having mysterious physical problems and losing weight. The wife can’t understand the change in his behaviour from earlier days when he was reliable. She never considers that he might be abusing drugs when he is away from home.
How to do it right
When her husband’s behaviour becomes erratic and completely different from his earlier pattern, the wife realises that something serious is interfering with his abilities. She brings in his family for help and together, they manage to track him down and find him abusing methamphetamine during those times he disappears. His addiction to this drug explains the current financial disaster and his health problems. With the correct reason for the problems, the family can seek the correct solution.
Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist, addictions counsellor, adolescent counsellor. For more information and help call or WhatsApp +263772399734 or email [email protected] and join the Rechabites in creating a drug-free healthy and productive society.