Alcoholism and drug addiction doesn’t just affect the addict or alcoholic. It also affects those closest to them including their children, family, wife, husband and friends.

How do I know if I, or someone I love, has a problem with alcohol or drugs?

If a person is using alcohol or drugs the easiest way of determining if someone may have a problem is by assessing the negative impact that their “drinking” or “using” has on the six major areas of their lives namely vocational/educational, medical/psychiatric, legal, family, social and financial.

For example:

• Has he/she been to work or school drunk or high?
• Has he/she suffered an injury, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs requiring medical attention?
• Has he/she ever had legal encounters involving the police or court system while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
• Has a family member raised concerns regarding his/her “use” of alcohol or drugs?
• Has he/she stopped engaging in social activities such as church or sports?
• Has he/she ever used money that was intended for something else such as rent or food, and used it instead for alcohol or drugs?
If you have answered yes to two or more of these questions, you or your loved one may have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Please note that this is not a comprehensive assessment. For a full and complete assessment please contact Wedge Gardens.

What is the difference between recreational user, abuser and addict/alcoholic?

Recreational user: A person who occasionally consumes alcohol (this excludes drugs) is able to stay within the legal limits.

Abuser: Using alcohol or drugs outside of their intended purpose is considered abuse. Therefore, use of any controlled substance (i.e. illegal drugs) is considered drug abuse.

Addict/Alcoholic: A person who has become chemically and/or psychologically dependent on drugs or alcohol, or their effects thereof.

Is alcohol considered a drug?

Yes. It is a mind-altering substance that changes brain chemistry and that effects perception and judgment. In addition, people who consume alcohol and/or drugs use these substances to cope with day-to-day stresses and emotions.

What causes a drug addict or alcoholic?

There are many theories as to why people become addicted to alcohol and drugs which range from a Medical Model perspective where an individual may have a predisposition to addiction – in the same way that someone could have a predisposition to cancer or diabetes.
Other theories believe its one’s own environment, where they learn how to cope with stress, anger or disappointment through their role models and/or peers. Wedge Gardens believes all factors may apply to why someone becomes addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. This is why our treatment regime is a holistic approach where we work with all areas of a person’s life.

Is Dagga really a drug?

Yes. Dagga THC is a mind-altering substance that changes brain chemistry and affects perception and judgment. In addition, people who consume alcohol and/or drugs use these substances to cope with day-to-day stress and emotions.

What can I do if my love one refuses to get help?

Family sometimes believes that by avoiding discussions surrounding topics pertaining alcohol and drugs that an addict will magically get better.

Remember, there is no reason for people to change behaviour if there are no consequences for their actions.Thus, if a family member continues to enable behaviour by removing the consequences of that behaviour (for example buying back cell phones that have been sold to drug merchants, posting bail, giving money for illegal activities, or lying for the loved one in order for them to not get punished) they are doing more harm than good.

This is preventing the person who is abusing alcohol or drugs from “feeling” the consequences. If the person does not suffer the consequences of their behaviour, there is no reason from them to stop using alcohol or drugs.

Can taking drugs or alcohol cause HIV?

Among drug users, HIV transmission may occur by sharing needles and other injection paraphernalia such as cotton swabs, rinse water, crack pipes, open bottle necks and cookers.

Another way that people may contract HIV is simply by using drugs, regardless of whether a needle or syringe is used. Drugs and alcohol interferes with judgment and may lead to risky sexual behaviours that place people at serious risk for contracting or transmitting HIV.

What do I tell the other family members if I or a loved one goes into rehabilitation? 

This depends if you are letting the children or your in-laws knows! Everything has to do with age appropriateness.When it comes to young children you can tell them that daddy or mommy is sick and they are going to a place that will make them well.

It’s the same thing that you would tell them when a parent is in a hospital.As for older children, tell them the truth. Children usually already know something is “not right” at home. This is also true for other members of the family. Share as much information with family and friends as you feel comfortable doing.

When should I talk to my kids about drugs?

Unfortunately, kids are starting to use drugs or are being offered drugs from as early as 7-years-old.

The sooner you begin talking to children about drugs, the more educated they will become. All information must, however, be age appropriate.

What is a prescription drug addiction?

It is a person who takes more tablets or syrup than was originally prescribed by the doctor.

The same person will also manipulate a doctor or a pharmacist to gain access to their “needed” drug. This includes falsifying symptoms in order to get a “certain” prescription from the doctor.

Often the prescription drug addict will tell you, “… but the doctor gave it to me”, as a form of rationalising why it’s okay for them to take it.

Is one drug worse than another? 

No. Each person has what we call a “drug of choice”. This means, that out of all the drugs (including alcohol) that are available, this is the drug that they would choose.

Therefore, to categorise one drug as being worse than another just provides the “user” with the ability to minimise or justify “why” it’s okay to use that particular drug. Please note this also includes alcohol.

Both alcohol and drugs are psychologically and physically addictive.

If my loved one has a drug problem is it okay if he/she drinks? 

No. As stated above, if an individual’s “drug of choice” is not available, then the addict will source out a “second drug of choice”. This includes alcohol. Because drinking reduces inhibitions, the addict will eventually return to his/her “first drug of choice”.

Are there other addictions besides alcohol and drugs?

Yes. People can have other addictions that negatively impact on all or most areas of their lives. These include, but are not limited to sex addiction, gambling addiction, workaholics, food addiction and prescription drug addiction.

Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre is SANCA affiliatedwg-sancalogo