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National Toll free Deaddiction Helpline: 14446 View Dashboard

Dr Seema P Uthaman

Vice Principal.


Dr Krishan Sony

Associate Professor (Clinical Psychology), Dept. of Psychiatry.

PGIMER, Chandigarh

Ms Manasi Jain

Clinical psychologist, former scholar.


Sir/Madam Why do some people get addicted to substances easily and others dont?? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

The risk of Addictions lurks for everyone. Although some people have higher chances of getting addicted than others. It depends on multiple factors. Some of them are Genetics: If you have a family history of addictions you are more likely to get one Environmental: lack of parental involvement or abuse/neglect increase chances of addictions, Peer pressure can lead a person to try hazardous and more addictive substances, and availability of alcohol or drugs in your social circle also increase chances of addiction Psychological: People with ‘negative emotionality’ that is people who experience negative emotions like irritability, anger, sadness has greater risk of falling prey to addictions. Psychological stress can also lead a person to try substances to feel relieved temporarily Age: Earlier the use, greater the chance of addiction. Adolescents and young adults (18-24yrs) are more likely to getting addicted to substances Type of Drug used: drugs like cocaine and heroine have severely painful withdrawal symptoms and so are much more addictive than alcohol Method of use: Drugs that are smoked or injected into your body tend to be more addictive as they directly go to the bloodstream and brain than those that you swallow where passing through liver can lead to some filtration Mental Illness: A person who is mentally ill is more prone to addictions and a person who is addicted are more likely to develop a mental illness or experience worsening of already existing symptoms

What is meant by withdrawal symptom? Does every one get withdrawal symptom after discontinuing from substance use? ? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

Withdrawal symptoms are a combination of physical and mental side effects a person experiences while trying to either stop or reduce the use of the substance they have been using or are addicted to. These are usually unpleasant experiences which make it difficult to reduce or quit the substance. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms are nausea, vomiting, restlessness, tremors, disturbance in mood (irritability, depression, anxiety), lack of sleep, body pains, craving for the substance, running nose etc Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person. The intensity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms depends on many factors like the genetic/biological makeup of the person, the type and time of drug abused, the age and psychological characteristics of the person. With the right medical support, it becomes much easier to deal with the withdrawal symptoms and there is a high hope for success in quitting the substance.

Can someone addicted to multiple substances?? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

Can someone addicted to multiple substances? Yes, a person can be addicted to one or more substances. When a person is addicted to at least three different classes of substances (Alcohol, opiates, cannabis, amphetamines, hallucinogens, inhalants and benzodiazepines) without any specific preference it is called as Polysubstance Dependence. Adolescents and young adults have greater chances of using multiple substances. The treatment for multiple substance addictions is much more challenging and usually requires close monitoring through admission to a substance rehabilitation unit where both medical and psychological treatments are provided. People start using polysubstance to experience greater relaxation and more sedative effects. With each addition the negative side effects of each drug are also magnified. If you know of anyone addicted to multiple substances, encourage them to seek medical help to overcome the addiction.

Is addiction a mental illness? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

Yes, Addiction of any kind (Substance use or behavioural addictions) are classified as Mental Illness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is a United States federal government research institute supporting scientific research on drug use, classifies Addictions as Mental disorder/Illness.  Even the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which underlines criterions for all mental disorders, includes criterion for Drug Abuse and Drug Dependence. The fact that Addiction is a mental illness means that it is not a moral failing or lack of will power on the part of the person who is addicted. Substance abuse leads to changes in the brain structure and function in such a way that it leads to more craving for the drug and a person is not able to quit despite repeated efforts to quit using his/her Will power. The person’s ability to learn, remember, reason, and make decisions is compromised. Many times, addictions also co-exist with other mental illnesses like depression. That’s why, treatment of addictions follows a specific treatment protocol which includes medical, psychological, and social assistance. If you know of anyone who is addicted, try to not blame them for it rather help them access the right medical support to overcome it. 

How can a person control his craving? Please help? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

1.Try "one day at a time", that is, while getting up in the morning, decide not to use the substance for that particular day. It is easy to follow. Make sure to repeat this everyday. 2. Recognize triggers and avoid them 3. Avoid tempting situations 4. Distract yourself 5. Engage yourself in other pleasurable activities

1. How frequent is the consumption of drug termed as an addiction ? 2. Does time required for de-addciton of every drug is same or it might be different ? 3. How to deal with Withdrawal symptoms ?? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

1. Addiction is an inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. 2. The time required for de addiction of different substances can vary. 3. Withdrawal management is a large part of the medical detox process. It refers to the medical and psychological care of patients who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms as a result of stopping or significantly reducing use of the drug with which they developed a dependence. With many substances, medical detox provides the safest, most comfortable setting for withdrawal management. While in detox, patients can safely rid their bodies of the toxic influence of substances under the care of medical professionals, who can monitor vital signs, such as high body temperature or high blood pressure, and administer medications to prevent or manage severe symptoms.

What are the consequences of immediate stoppage of alcohol/drug use? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

Immediate stoppage of alcohol/ drug abuse can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Acute drug withdrawal is a physiological response to the sudden quitting or slowing of use of a substance to which the body has grown dependent on. The various types of drug withdrawal syndromes may involve different combinations of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms—some of which can prove dangerous if left unmanaged.

Can you please guide how to motivate someone who is addicted to drugs but refuses for seeking help.? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

First, you need to understand more about drug addiction, its impact on the physical, psychological, familial, social and financial aspects. Once you are aware, you can point out few areas and ask the person to think about the reasons for problems in these areas of functioning. Make sure not to blame the person. You can set some limits and tell the person about the consequences of crossing those limits. Provide him materials to read/ watch about drug addiction. Let him know that seeking help is a positive way of coping with a problem and offer your support.

In films i have seen that the patient seeking deaddiction treatment are put on some fluids. Is it some medicine? Is it or part of detoxification? What exactly is detoxification? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

Detoxification refers to either recovering from addiction or literally removing or neutralizing a poisonous substance. In alternative health, it has a much fuzzier meaning of removing unspecified "toxins" from the body. In deaddiction center or hospital majorly they concerns with two main objective 1. to control withdrawal symptoms 2. detoxification of the body through various drug/fluid/injectable

Which is better better option for an addict- to quit drug use immediately or to stop it slowly ? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

Thats depend on many factor like nature of substance which he is taking, motivation, medical condition, any withdrawal symptoms

Many says that consuming alcohol in a small quantity is good for health? Is that right?? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

in other way round lets say that drinking alcohol in moderation generally is not a cause for concern or small amount of alcoholic beverage is unlikely to harm your health, but it can lead to so many other issues like dependency, tolerance and sometime drinking in excess can have substantial negative effects on your body and well-being.

I have observed that people who are addicted to drugs wandering in streets talking to themselves, singing and dancing, abusing others etc? Why are they doing so? Are they suffering from some mental illness?? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

yes, due to chronic use of substance/drugs can lead to both short- and long-term changes in the brain, which can lead to mental illness like schizophrenia, affective disorder (depression or mania), aggression, suspiciousness, hallucinations,

How can i know if a person is addicted to drugs or using drugs? I suspect my son has started using. Please help? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

I really appreciate this question. There are few signs which can give you some hint related to physical, behavioural changes in somebody's which can be indicative that he may be taking some type of drugs: Behavioral problems and poor grades in school or problems in social relationship, Emotional distancing, isolation, depression, or fatigue, overly influenced by peers, irritability, Lying behaviour, decrease in interest in personal appearance, if you observe some physical changes, such as bloodshot eyes, runny nose, frequent sore throats, and rapid weight loss, sudden mood changes, eating, or sleeping patterns, Dizziness and memory problems, Unusual odor on breath (alcohol, inhalants, marijuana). Spending too much time in washroom, coming late , spending too much money or demanding These can be few signs from that you can make some infer

I am 19 year old graduate student and is using WEED for last two years. I am scared that my parents will come to know and i have tried to quit for couple of times. It has become impossible for me to get away from it. Do you think that i can come out of my? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

Dear Friend, thanks for your query. I appreciate that you recognise smoking weed is not good for you and have made attempts to quit it. To come out of any addiction you need family and professional support in addition to your own determination to quit. I surely think you can come out of it, if you make more consistent efforts and not get demotivated by your past experiences to quit. I would like to advise you to visit a psychiatrist nearby, de-addiction/rehabilitation centre or a medical professional to take this forward. You can also consider sharing your story with someone you trust in your family. I am hopeful they will be able to help you by getting access to the right emotional and medical support you need.

Sir/Madam Many of my college friends uses cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs in hostel. And my friends often compel me to take it. I am scared that i will start using it with their compulsion. How can i overcome my problem. ? Answered by:Ms Manasi Jain

Hi, I am glad that till now you have not given in to the peer pressure to use harmful substances. It is a sign of courage and wisdom to stand by your decision when everyone around is being different. At the same time, I totally understand it may not be so easy if they keep pressurizing you to take such substances. But remember it is absolutely right to say ‘NO’. What everyone seems to be doing is not correct. Stick to what you believe in and donot worry about what others think about you. You can also discuss with your friends that you want to stay away from such substances for specific reasons. Real friends, who think about your well-being, will not pressurize you. And if your peers continue to pressurise you, you may have to reconsider spending too much time with them. You can also take support from the hostel authorities in dealing with the situation if it goes out of control. It will help to be consistent and assertive when you say “NO’ Avoid meeting them when they use the substances like in a party, late night etc Reconsider having a different set of friends or group to socialise. Develop hobbies that will keep you busy. Enter these situations with other friends who don't use these substances, so that you have a support for your decision and are not handling the situation alone. It is possible that when you stand firm on your decision to not take the substances, few others may also get motivated to quit. You are on the right path.

How should I ask my friend who has started using drugs to stop this habit without them getting hurt or embarrassed? What could be helpful for them in overcoming this habit? ? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

Asking someone to stop using drugs without hurting depends mainly on how close your friendship is. A good friend will definitely understand your concern and will not get hurt. I would suggest that you help and support your friend to consult a trained mental health professional and overcome the habit through proper treatment.

Is using cannabis addictive? Does it affect the brain in any way? My friends say that it makes people creative? Answered by:Dr Seema P Uthaman

Yes, cannabis is an addictive substance. Like any other drugs of abuse, cannabis also affect the brain. Research shows that cannabis use during adolescence and young adulthood is associated with impaired functional connectivity in the brain and corresponding declines in intelligence. It is a misconception that cannabis use increases creativity. In fact the long term use of cannabis can lead to dependency, that is the loss of control over the use of the substance.

Sometimes while using marijuana, my friend feels strong heart palpitations and anxiety. Will this affect his overall health and give him heart disease? Is he addicted to marijuana?? Answered by:Dr Krishan Sony

Marijuana has mind-altering compounds that affect both brain and body. It can be addictive, and  may be harmful to some people’s health. It often can leave you anxious, afraid, or panicked. sometime complex effects  have on the cardiovascular system, including raising heart rate, palpitation etc. Research suggests that the risk of heart attack is several times higher. it may raise  chances for depression or worsen the symptoms of any mental disorders.  These effects are more common when a person takes too much, the marijuana has an unexpectedly high potency, or the person is inexperienced. People who takes large doses of marijuana may experience an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions.

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