Addiction is a fatal disease with the most destructive consequences for a person's personal, social, emotional, occupational and spiritual life and is an epidemic across the globe. There is humongous suffering attached to the illness but the help seeking behavior is significantly lacking in patients and their families. It is important to understand what discourages the help seeking behavior of sufferers because it has long term implications for the disease progression, prognosis, health hazards, treatment outcomes etc.
It is found that multiple factors are responsible for the poor help seeking behavior some of these important factors are:
The general perception that addiction is not an illness but a character problem. The most prevelant belief is that addiction is a bad habit and the diseased is a bad person. Another associated belief is that only the person can help himself by quitting the bad habits and doesn't require any professional help or treatment as there's no illness. Another common belief that there's no treatment available for addiction also discourages one from seeking help. Mental hospitals and psychiatric set ups are labeled as the "Mad House" of the society. This stigma stops many from seeking help from a mental health set up and they suffer the most difficult times in darkness and silence. Another major issue lies with the unwillingness of the patient to seek help because many times patients lack insight into their illness. Addiction is a mental illness that alters the thought process, emotions, behaviors of an individual and leads to maladjustment in the society. Meaning that the way they view themselves and their surroundings becomes flawed and they can not make sound judgement about their mental state. This too is a major reason why patients don't reach out to seek help for their problems.
In psychiatry Addiction is understood as a mental and behavioral disorder occuring due to substance use and the diagnosis of addiction warrants immidiate professional attention, medication as directed by the psychiatrist, and psychotherapy from a clinical psychologist. In some cases rehabilitation in a safe and structured environment may also be required for long term stable relief and relapse prevention. It is not a big habit and the sufferer is not a bad person he/ she is better understood as a patient who needs psychiatric help and hoslistic treatment involving medications, counseling, rehabilitation and family support. Early intervention is of utmost importance and thus the earlier one seeks help the better ate the chances of recovery. Mental Health problems are like any other medical problems which require treatment and if unattended become severe and the prognosis becomes poorer. Mental hospitals are same as other hospitals devoted to minimize distress, manage symptoms, enhance the sense of well being and quality of life.
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