Breaking the Chains: Navigating the Challenges of Substance Abuse and the Road to Recovery

Breaking the Chains: Navigating the Challenges of Substance Abuse and the Road to Recovery

What are drugs? By definition, they are natural, semi- or fully synthetic compounds that are consciously ingested to change experience and consciousness. Drugs include illegal intoxicants such as cocaine, cannabis, heroin and others, as well as legally purchasable products such as alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine. However, it is not only the pharmacological effect that makes a substance a drug, but only abuse.

Reasons for substance abuse: getting drunk instead of solving problems

The reasons for drug abuse are varied. Intoxicate with drugs; taking intoxicants gives pleasure, exhilaration and thrills. Distortions of perception or illusions can also be created, which influence mood and feelings – up to and including hallucinogenic effects.

People experiment with mind-altering substances when loneliness, frustration, inner emptiness and the loss of life perspectives prevail. Unresolved problems, unsatisfactory living conditions, or complex relationships with family, friends, and co-workers are other risk factors that can lead to the development of abusive behaviour.

Sometimes drugs are also medically indicated: Those suffering from depression or anxiety are prescribed painkillers, tranquillizers or antidepressants. Abuse or addiction is present when it is a matter of chronic ingestion of intoxicants, resulting in psychological or physical dependence.


Well, cheers! – The #1 drug is over the counter

Alcohol is considered the primary drug in Germany, with all professions, social classes and genders being affected by alcoholism. According to the Deutsche Leberhilfe eV, around 3.5 million Germans suffer from liver diseaseIn Germany, cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of death from an illness among 25 to 45-year-olds. Every year, 5,000 Germans die of liver cancer, and probably more than a million people in Germany suffer from alcohol-related fatty liver or chronic liver inflammation.

Smoking: role of the media

Despite warnings about the health risks, around one in four people over the age of 15 smokes regularly in Germany. Of particular concern is that so many young people smoke: 19.4% do so in the 15 to under 20 age group.

How smoking is dealt with in the media certainly has a significant influence on younger age groups: In many films and fashion, smoking is still portrayed as the epitome of freedom and lifestyle. The smoking actors never cough; on the contrary, they are exceptionally healthy and full of life.

Risks such as chronic bronchitis or lung cancer, on the other hand, are swept under the table. It is now well-established that smoking is the single most important cause of cancer. Tobacco smoke contains many carcinogenic substances that promote not only lung cancer but also lip, tongue, throat, larynx and oesophagus cancer. The probability of developing chronic bronchitis increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.


Trust is good; parental control is better.

Strict parents reduce drug consumption, according to a study by the Anti-Drug Center in New York. It turned out that specific rules and controls on the part of parents positively influence the behaviour of their growing children between the ages of 12 and 17.

The more the parents carried out educational measures such as monitoring school performance, controlling television and Internet habits and CD purchases, the lower the risk that their offspring would resort to alcohol, cigarettes or illegal drugs. Shared meals and plenty of time for family discussions also proved positive.

World Drug Day June 26

The United Nations has declared June 26 World Drug Day. The problem of drug consumption has been pointed out on this day for several years. The range of talks and information offered by the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) is aimed primarily at young people.

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