Puducherry

‘Drug abuse harmful to mental health too’

PUDUCHERRY, 28/02/2017:  Dr. Susan Solomon, psychiatry professor from PIMS, addressing a day-long workshop on ‘Drugs- The Slippery Slopes’ hosted by the Union Territory of Puducherry Legal Services Authority (UTPLSA) in association with Legal Services Clinic for the Students of North Eastern Region, Pondicherry University. Photo: Special Arrangement

PUDUCHERRY, 28/02/2017: Dr. Susan Solomon, psychiatry professor from PIMS, addressing a day-long workshop on ‘Drugs- The Slippery Slopes’ hosted by the Union Territory of Puducherry Legal Services Authority (UTPLSA) in association with Legal Services Clinic for the Students of North Eastern Region, Pondicherry University. Photo: Special Arrangement

At least 50 per cent of regular drug abusers can develop problems of anti-social personality, suicide ideation and depression, said Susan Solomon, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences.

Addressing a recent day-long workshop on ‘Drugs- The Slippery Slopes’ hosted by the Union Territory of Puducherry Legal Services Authority (UTPLSA) in association with Legal Services Clinic for the Students of North Eastern Region, Pondicherry University, Dr. Solomon said though varying forms of intoxicants have been around, the use of drugs in newer forms and newer intake modes was leading to whole new set of problems.

While drugs of abuse such as alcohol, amphetamines, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens or nicotine can lead to health hazards and exact heavy personal, economic and social costs, the long-term consequences of abuse included psychotic disorder, mood swings, anxiety, sleep disorder and sexual dysfunction, she said.

In a presentation that depicted the arc from use to abuse and addiction, genetic factors and neuroadaptation, Dr. Solomon pointed out that the triggers for the habit ranged from experimentation for a high or a buzz (about 20 per cent), self-medication for anxiety, anger, boredom or pain to easy access, social acceptability and peer pressure.

The diagnosis of drug dependence was based on these factors — strong desire or sense of compulsion, difficulty controlling substance taking behaviour, physiological withdrawal state, tolerance, progressive neglect of alternative pleasures and persisting with use despite clear evidence of harmful consequences, Dr. Solomon explained.

Range of complications

The complications of dependence ranged from delirium, cancers, liver disease, neuropathy and pancreatitis (Alcohol), respiratory depression, overdose deaths (opioids/sedatives), HIV, Hepatitis B and C infection risks (intravenous use) and elevated BP, stroke heart attack (Amphetamines/cocaine) and cancers (nicotine).

Role of therapy

She also sensitised the audience on psychological management of drug addiction in various processes such as ‘Coping skills therapies, Cue identification and Family and marital therapy’ and how an addicted person can manage to get rid of the drug problems.

Detoxification and deaddiction are cornerstones of managing drug and alcohol dependence. Dr. Solomon also highlighted the FRAMES model of brief intervention with its six components of feedback (to the patient on the associated risks), responsibility (sensitising the patient on the onus of self), advice, menu (providing a variety of options for change), empathy and self-efficacy (offering motivation and boosting self belief that changing behaviour is possible).

George Kannathanam, founder of Project Vision, conveyed to the audience, predominantly youth, that one could live a healthy life without resorting to harmful drugs.

Anisa Basheer Khan, Vice Chancellor-in-charge, Pondicherry University delivered the presidential address. Sofana Devi, District Judge-member Secretary, UTPLSA, Lakhimai Mili, Assistant Professor, Department of English and Chairperson of the Legal Service Clinic, Pondicherry University, and G. Sendil Kumar, Secretary to Government (Law Department) also participated.

Students of the English Department at the University staged a short skit titled, ‘Choice’ that highlighted the problems of drug addiction among students in colleges and universities and how they can make better choices in life instead of drugs.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 4:35:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/drug-abuse-harmful-to-mental-health-too/article17388961.ece