Many drugs can make you ill if you stop taking them. This is because your body has become dependent on them and does not work properly without them. This is called ‘withdrawal’.
Most famous are probably the effects of withdrawal from heroin, as this is one of the more severely chemically addictive drugs.
Withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Nausea – feeling sick;
- Physical pain – aching muscles and bones;
- Blurry vision and hallucination (seeing things);
- Inability to go to the toilet properly or control your bladder.
These effects can go on for a long time, even weeks or months, until the body learns to work properly without the drug.
Organisations to Help Addicts
Because coming off drugs can be so difficult there are a great many institutions designed to help people do this. There are plenty of private clinics, most famously ‘The Priory’.
For people with less money there are charities and Government run programmes, such as:
“Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions
Alcoholics Anonymous involves regular meetings to help support people who are addicts. They are each given a ‘sponsor’, that is another member they can call at any time if they are tempted to drink and who will try to help them.
Very similar to AA, but dealing with a wide variety of (mainly illegal) drugs. They work in much the same way, with meetings and sponsors who will help you to avoid the drug to which you are addicted. There are even ‘on-line meetings’ that use Skype to meet up!
An addict is never cured?
Addiction is often something that people live with for the rest of their lives. Because the body has become reliant on a substance it will always find it easier to have that substance. People who have been addicted to heroin or any other drug will find it hard all their lives to exist without it.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are usually joined for life. Once you feel you have ‘overcome’ your addiction you may be able to become a sponsor for someone else trying to give up but you will probably always need support yourself.
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