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Addicts lack awareness of those around them: Study

Valuing relationships and giving due respect to people are important for human beings. A strong relationship contributes to a healthy and happy life, and can be an ongoing source of support and wellbeing. But this may not hold true for adolescents who find themselves
staggering and faltering at every step under the influence of alcohol and other drug (AOD) disorders, thus, failing to get love and respect.

A recent study by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse in March 2016, revealed that adolescents suffering from AOD problems have less regard for other people, as indicated by increasing instances of driving under the influence (DUI) or getting involved in unprotected sex.

Young addicts show little interest in helping others

In the study, titled “Low Other-Regard and Adolescent Addiction,” the researchers examined 585 adolescents from Cuyahoga County high schools and the biggest residential treatment facility located in the Northeastern Ohio. They matched the data of each participant on the basis of age, gender, race and zip code of their residences.

To identify the relationship between the degree of dependence and respondents’ regard for others, the researchers assigned two respondents who had no or very low alcohol or drug abuse habit with one addict. According to Dr. Maria Pagano, PhD and a developmental psychologist, there are several behavioral patterns that can aid in understanding a person’s other-oriented awareness, such as DUI, engaging in unprotected sex despite being afflicted with a history of sexually-transmitted diseases, and standing up for a cause.

The researchers observed a direct association between the levels of severity of dependence among the participants and the increased likelihood of showing less regard for people around them. It was observed that the addicted respondents showed traits that were similar to the symptoms of autism. The researchers also found that the addicted adolescents exhibited little interest in helping others, as they had low awareness of how other people react to or impacted by their actions. However, helping others can go a long way in helping young addicts in their recovery process.

“The addict is like a tornado running through the lives of others. This is part of the illness,” said Pagano. He added that educating people to get rid of the behavior typical of self-centeredness and encouraging them to volunteer to help others is a part of the recovery process in the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) programs.

The study highlighted the importance of volunteerism in cutting down the risk of addiction. Previous studies had shown the impact of service to others in reducing the risk of relapse and that of arrest by half.

“People must understand that the illness has a low awareness of others component that must be addressed,” said Pagano. The fact that addiction can be cured by mere volunteerism is, indeed, an interesting and safe alternative measure that can be adopted while offering therapeutic intervention to addiction patients.

Path to recovery

Recovery from any kind of addiction is never easy. The journey to complete sobriety is different for different people as it entirely depends on their addiction levels and the type of substance they are addicted to. There are several factors that physicians consider before prescribing curative measures to the patients dependent on alcohol or drugs.

If you or your loved one is battling addiction and is looking for relevant information regarding the right kind of treatment facilities providing innovative and effective treatment programs, you may contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to know more about drug rehab centers. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online for further expert advice.

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