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Here’s why we must look at drug addiction with the lens of mental health

Published on:10 October 2021, 07:00am IST
Drug addiction is a menace that impacts mental health. On World Mental Health Day, an expert weighs in on the link between the two.
Grace Bains
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drug addiction
Drug addiction is a mental health issue. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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The recent drug bust in Mumbai has shed light on the fact that drug addiction is far more common than we think. At the same time, it is important for us to understand why an individual would take drugs and what leads to addiction. When it comes to finding the answer to such questions, we must take mental health into account.

To better understand the link between mental health and drug addiction, we spoke to Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

drug addiction
Drug addiction has much to do with mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Is drug addiction linked with mental health issues?

Dr Parikh clarified that drug addiction is a form of mental health issue in itself. He said that addiction disorders are a class of mental illness, wherein all types of substance and addictive behaviour disorders fall, such as drinking and gambling.

Impact of drug addiction

Addiction disorders are a mental health ailment and it impacts in the following ways, said Dr Parikh:

Dependency: When you take a substance over a period of time, tolerance towards it increases. This thrusts one to consume more drugs which causes adverse impact on health and societal functionality.

Withdrawal: If you stop consuming the same quantities of the drug, then you could start experiencing physiological and psychological reactions that compels one to start using drugs again, and in more quantities than usual. Eventually, this becomes a pattern that impairs personal, social, and professional life. A drug user gets engulfed in this pattern and their whole life starts revolving around substance abuse only.

drug addiction
We must look at drug addiction as a mental health concern. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Associated risks: People with drug addiction disorders are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression disorders. This can also lead to dropping out from school or college, lack of focus at work, road accidents, financial issues, and suicide.

Drug addiction disorder needs to be given the right amount of attention as it is a mental health ailment. The expert has also recommended using these preventive techniques to battle this menace.

  • Educate young people in schools and colleges about the negative impact of drug addiction.
  • Counselling sessions for young people should be organised to prevent them from falling within the ditch of drug use and abuse.
  • In case young people start using drugs, then it is important to extend a helping hand to them at the earliest.

So, drug addiction is a mental health ailment and can be prevented and mitigated through proactive measures and intervention.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.