Substance Abuse / Addiction

Nothing can prepare a family for the devastating effects of dealing with a loved one who is trapped in the vicious cycle of self-destruction that is Addiction. Whatever the method - be it alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex - the outcome is often the same: the slow and painful erosion of trust and mutual respect; the inevitable build-up of anger and frustration on both sides; and the ultimate breakdown of the family unit.

The dangers of substance and behavioural addictions are varied and many, ranging from the extremes to which someone will go to obtain their fix, to the destructive nature of the fix itself. For too many people, the addiction ends in tragedy, devastating surrounding loved ones.

Addiction or abuse is officially diagnosed when someone’s relationship with the specific substance or bahaviour (alcohol, drugs, gambling or even sex) becomes the primary relationship in his or her life, overtaking all other relationships with family, friends, loved ones, work or studies. As his or her life begins to revolve more and more around this relationship, and less around family, friends and other communities, so he or she becomes more isolated. As this relationship becomes all consuming, so they begin to lie, steal or even engage in criminal activities in order to support their addiction.

The consequences over time generally include frequent absences from work or school, poor job performance leading to potential job loss, loss of friends, cessation of normal activities and changes in mood, appearance and behaviour.

Families and friends of are profoundly affected. Their attempts to help are met with denial and aggression; the abuse often comes at a huge and increasing financial cost; the stigma of addiction often results in denial or attempted cover ups; and the strain of not being able to help often results in anxiety and depression.

While substance abuse and addiction are classified as psychiatric diseases in and of themselves, international research has revealed that 80% of abuse patients suffer from other psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, as well as unresolved issues from the past and current social circumstances.

If you and your family are trapped in this desperate cycle, rest assured that there is a way out. No matter how isolated and alone you feel, there are many other people walking this same path, and many more who are dedicated to helping you change the direction of your life.

Akeso Clinic’s Dual Diagnosis Unit has been established specifically to help those suffering from psychiatric conditions, including substance and behavioural addictions, as well as support their loved ones through the process of healing the family unit. The programme is based on an integrated bio-psycho-social treatment model which aims to build skills for sustained behaviour change. Each person is assisted by a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals including psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and counsellors in active recovery themselves.

Most importantly, Akeso Clinic’s Dual Diagnosis Unit is committed to care that promotes dignity, self-respect and non-judgement.

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