Jinja: Substance abuse has become the major cause of mental health problems among the youth.
According to a report by World Health Organization, about 70 percent people have ever used or are still using drugs or alcohol substances. Harmful use of alcohol leads to 3.3 million deaths each year.
The report also states that on average everyone in the world aged 15 years or older drinks 6.2 liters of alcohol per year. At least 15.3 million persons have drug use disorders.
“Different individuals use or abuse drugs for different reasons for example some university students take so that they focus and read while others want to feel high or pleasure, family history where by these individuals draw their addictive behaviors from their family members like grandfathers and uncles who abuse drugs,” said Prince Minjo Peter, addiction counselor, Jinja recovery center.
He further enumerated possible reasons for easy access to include easy access, neglect especially by absent and busy parents, massive advertisements, need to boast their sexual performances, chaotic living environments like the ghetto.
Substance addiction is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. People can develop addictions to inhalants such as paint thinners and glue, opioid pain killers, such as heroin, sedatives, marijuana, tobacco and nicotine.
There are a number of signs and symptoms of substance use disorder which can include increase in usage of substance than normal, being an able to stop using the substance, experiencing relationship, continuing to use the substance despite the negative health effects.
Mr Minjo noted that addictions can lead to a number of issues including gender-based violence in families, suicide, chronic diseases like lung cancer, kidney failure, family instabilities and school dropouts among children.
“We can treat these patients through hospitalization for withdraw management, therapeutic communities or drug free environments, addiction counseling, family support, creating awareness in the communities and rehabilitation.
“The patients can be taken to either private or government facilities for effective treatment and rehabilitation for a certain period of time,” he said.
Anne Wakudumira, a counseling psychologist at LWAP counseling consultancy says that in cases where patients become aggressive, it’s important for the therapist to calm them down by talking to them or involving the medical team or security.
“Relapses are normal and that therapists should ensure that the patients continue to receive support, and all triggers should be taken away and provide treatment and counseling to the patients,” she said.