Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
We've all been reading about oxy addiction and how rampant drugs like Vicadin and hydrocodone get overused and abuse. Yet, doctors keep prescribing, people keep using and, often very innocently, one pill at a time, the best people in pain become addicted. It can happen to anyone. Sure, there's intense pain which requires some control and maybe the medicine allows the patient to function in life, socialize, eat, sleep, work, etc. When the useage becomes problematic is when withdrawal results in moodiness, more awareness of even pain which would have been tolerated before and time between doses lessens. Faced with the problem, people can become very defensive, even afraid.
The same process happens with smoking, even when the frequency is constant, rather then increasing. It is during the withdrawal period, whether it's an hour or a day, that people become antsy and must escape from smoke-free environments for a fix.
Then, there's alcohol. Many a drinker won't admit their dependence. Even a binge drinker, rather than a habit alcoholic or daily drinker, will have episodes of withdrawal. Then, the person senses a "need" for partying, as if her identity depended on it. Escape can be habit-forming.
But, what about sugar, fattening foods, overexercise, caffeinated drinks, and other more commonplace potentially habit-forming, if not addictive substances or activities, at least to some people? Do people go through withdrawal of sorts? I do think they can psychologically more than physically, feeling that an essential feeling is missing. Again, the withdrawal appears as moodiness or an inner sense of ennui.
Lastly, there are extremely important parts of life, like love, affection, sex and friendship, which aren't habits or addictive but fulfill needs so deep that a painful withdrawal occurs after they've been missing for awhile. That withdrawal feels more like a depressive void or can be masked by irritation or anger. The solution, then, should be constructive relationship but could be filled unfortunately by destructive relationships or habits,too, when people are nondiscriminating, needy and clueless.
My thought is that we should sensitize ourselves to signs of physical and emotional withdrawal in ourselves and others. Then, we could search for the missing substance or activity and figure out whether detox and rehab (not necessarily institutionalized, but self-propelled), gradual weaning or just a bit of vigilance and another form of self-comfort are appropriate or not.