This session was under the theme: Prevention of Addiction in You. The session started with a dramatic story, This is a story of a young woman of 23 years old called Ann. Ann is an addict who injects, sniffs and smokes drugs, as well as drinks alcohol. Above all, because of the addiction, she became a prostitute and a thief. Ann thought that, that was the end of life.
The participants watched her recorded video in order to supplement this story. This was a true addiction case in the U.S.A, her case was an eye opener to the discussion session. This was to give a picture of how dangerous addiction can be in human life, and therefore it is very important for us to prevent becoming like Ann.
Everyone was bewildered by this story: we ask ourselves and imagined if we have Ann among the participants today, how are we going to help her?
After rigorous discussion by the participants, ideas to help Ann have been suggested and reached at though this consensus:
The first thing is for us to identify the place where Ann lives, In that way, we would make a background research on the person; we would establish the family Ann comes from, what does she do for a living, is she married or not? We also need to know her parents and their feeling and reaction about her addiction problem, and the siblings and how she was brought up. There is need to be conscious about asking questions related to her problems. Example, one should not go straight asking questions like , are you an addict? You have to first build a good relationship, know the person and become friends.
It is very important that you don’t point fingers and make the addict feel that you have been impassive and judgmental. It is important to get the person’s attention and build in trust. Creating a true relationship is very important, this is already a source of help to the addict. Every other addict must be treated as a patient. You do not force a patient to get well neither do we blame them for getting sick. There is need to be calm and professional in understanding an addict in order to help him/her well.
After an addict has opened up to be helped, there is crucial need to have an appropriate approach in treating that addiction. It is very important to know what caused that addiction. It was said that, addiction comes about due to lack of love. Many people, who are addicts, are missing something in their life that need to be filled. When this space in their life is empty, they then find a way to fill them and that is where the addiction comes in. Sometimes, before one becomes an addict, they had a failure of purpose: They are disappointed, collapse of a business, death, broken relationship among other reasons.
Many people become victims of addiction because of depression, people get depressed and then end up feeding that depression with a bad habit resulting into deep rooted frustration, hopelessness and unproductive life.
In most cases, the family plays an important role in causing addiction: broken home, family without communication and poor relationship create room for family members to get involved in drug abuse, excessive alcohol consumption as if it can become solution to that problem, then one ends up into addiction.
The participants also discussed about the needed treatments for victims of addiction. This include detoxification whereby, the addict, in a situation of an overdose and extreme conditions is given a medication to help the body calm down and to give it some cleansing and recovery. After which some help can be given to the victim. It is at this stage that counseling is necessary.
Helping an addict to rediscover his/her ability to change his/her focus and attention to a creative and productive life is very crucial. In this way, the addict becomes part of the solution to his/her problem.
To those whose education has been interrupted because of addiction problem, it is pertinent to encourage them to continue or go to school (suitable education including vocational/mentorship).
Treating an addict maybe be very difficult within a limited time frame but there is need for consistency and persistency on the procedures to be followed by the victim and the Occupational Therapist in order to ensure success that guarantees a patient to have an addiction free living life, and he/she participates in personal and national development.
Finally, the Occupational Therapist encouraged the participants to be present in the forth coming Beauty of Free and Freed Session. The message everyone carried with him/her was, Addiction Free Generation is possible and it starts with You. No one should damage his/her life due to shortcomings in life, the Youth need to have deep faith and hope in life because short comings are part of life but through a better response it should be managed.