A lot many teenagers and young people experiment with drugs as they grow up. Exploring recreational drugs is a cultural part of growing up in most countries and it can be difficult to keep tabs on such use. The drug awareness programs at present do not talk about drug use and its effects in the right way and place blame on the users.
There are definite signs of addiction that we need to pay attention to, if we are confused about where on the continuum does our use lie.
Firstly, the user controls his use if it is recreational, and does not need it to ‘function’ or be okay or think. So each time you need a smoke to use the washroom or to clear your head, although the smoke may do the job for you then, but it’s making you increasingly dependent. That is one of the first signs of the drug getting more and more important in the person’s life.
Secondly, addiction, dependence or abuse of a drug means you spend a lot more time and money on the drug than you need to or can afford to. It can also mean delays in work and school assignments, your health and social life being affected, and such other impacts felt in areas of life seemingly disconnected with drug use.
However, this begs the questions:
- What makes recreational users addicts?
- Why do some people consume more and others less?
- Is it just a matter of control?
Well, the literature on that is quite mixed, because certain people say that it’s more about brain chemicals and genetic vulnerability, while newer research indicates a mix of a lot many factors. One prime example is that when addicts were given a choice between a 5 dollar bill and cocaine in an experiment by Dr. Hart, they chose the money. This and many other experiments show that troubles in a person’s life, or emptiness, contribute largely in making the person an addict.
Therefore, an important take-away from this is to think about your own social and personal situations.
Are they unaddressed burdens and emotional baggage?
Is the drug an escape for that?
Constant escape surely means that the use is not recreational any more.
If you do find out that your use of drugs is in fact a way to deal with your troubles, what should you do?
Firstly, you have to accept that this is an issue and steps are needed to resolve it.
The first step in order to resolve is to talk to a student counselor or the closest mental health professional available. When you work on your emotional issues with constructive ways, you will not feel the need to rely on drugs any more. That will automatically ensure you of the control that you needed to have with the use of drugs. In fact, research shows that seeking the right help can help you stop the use of the drug altogether.