Rehabilitation from substance abuse in Johannesburg

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Rehabilitation from substance abuse in Johannesburg

22 January, 2021Articles, News

Substance abuse problems may be considered as a ‘pandemic’ amongst certain areas within South Africa. In Johannesburg, there is a large problem related to drug and alcohol abuse. As a result of political and social transformations in the country there has been a large increase in drug trafficking, consumption, and associated issues such as crime and abuse in relation to drug and alcohol addiction. Poverty and a lack of education can also be a huge factor contributing towards the substance abuse in and around Johannesburg. This has been a rising problem since the 1900’s. How do we tackle the challenge of rehabilitation from substance abuse ?

Various research studies have shown that there is not much written about the perceptions toward drug and alcohol abuse in communities. There is generally seen to be a stigma attached to those who abuse drugs and alcohol as this may lead to an increased crime rate as well as people living on the streets. The Parliamentary Monitoring group held a meeting on the 7th of November 2011 that was led by the Department of Social Development. The chairperson was Ms. Y. Botha from the ANC. The meeting stated “the aim of this study was to survey community members’ knowledge of substance use and abuse, identify the types of drugs used in communities, and establish awareness of substance abuse prevention and treatment services in their communities. One of the key findings of the study was that only 40% of those surveyed knew that there were services available to help with rehabilitation from substance abuse, meaning that 60% were unaware that there was help available. The Central Drug Authority provided a three-pronged solution to drug and alcohol use: demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction. This showed that South Africa was well above the average usage worldwide. It was stated the percentage of services that were offered were very small. South Africa had a variety of holidays, which people would use to overindulge. With Christmas coming up, these were particularly important issues to address. South African culture viewed drinking as a rite of passage to adulthood. What role was the CDA playing in changing these perceptions”. (Substance Abuse research & 2011 Summit Resolutions: briefing by Central Drug Authority

Another study conducted by a student at The University of Witwatersrand showed that “substance abuse ruins relationships not only within the family but also relationships beyond the family, such as neighbours’ and community members. Extended family members may experience feelings of abandonment, anxiety, fear, anger, concern, embarrassment, or guilt; they may wish to ignore or cut ties with the person abusing substances. The study has revealed that substance users, often tarnish their family’s image in the community through their antisocial activities.

I believe that there is still more scope to research substance abuse, as previous studies have been somewhat limited in terms of demographics. I also believe that there is a need for further education and awareness on this subject, as many people do not believe that addiction is a medical disease. There is also quite a stigma attached to those who abuse drugs and alcohol. Very often, community members perceive addicts as bad people, thinking that they have a choice to simply stop using. However, this is not the case. I have noticed that there is most definitely a gap in terms of education and awareness around substance abuse. I have seen many families bring their loved ones into treatment, while being filled with anger over the fact that their loved one could be capable of such things, as they lack an understanding of the nature of the disease. Many families also blame themselves, questioning where they went wrong to lead to the fact that their family member or child could be addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

Rehabilitation from substance abuse is defined as the action of restoring someone to health or a normal life through training and therapy after addiction. When searching for rehabilitation in Johannesburg, there are many options to choose from. There are many options including inpatient facilities where the abuser will spend an amount of time within a facility working on their addiction. Outpatient facilities and secondary care facilities are also readily available. These facilities can be government or private. Private facilities will also usually take medical aids. If rehabilitation is not affordable, one can look at support group meetings such as 12 step meetings like Alcoholics or Narcotics anonymous which are freely available. There are also support groups available for the families such as Alanon, Nar-anon, and tough love. The issue with attending an outpatient programme or a freely available support group is that it might not be exactly what the addict needs, and they will need to be admitted so as not to have any distractions from the outside world. Most rehab facilities will focus on cognitive behavioural therapy and work on getting to the cause of the problem while keeping the substance abuser contained and in a safe space.

Usually, a drug rehabilitation programme will only work if the person wants to get the help. Although, in some rare cases it has been known to work for some involuntary admissions. A drug rehabilitation programme usually consists of an inpatient programme where the substance abuser is admitted for a minimum period of 28 days. Once admitted, the person will undergo a medical assessment and be given a medical detox. Most programmes cater for personalised treatment programmes that may include welcome groups, didactic groups, powerlessness and recovery coaching, occupational therapy, AA meetings, NA meetings, topic groups, spirituality, resident house meetings, goal setting and farewell groups. Individual counselling is also available depending on the clients’ needs and this may include one-on-one therapy, addiction counselling, spiritual counselling, step work counselling, trauma therapy, family counselling and co-dependence counselling. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is relevant for addiction treatment because it is behaviourally based, and most substances abusers need a practical approach to dealing with their addiction by starting with changing their behaviour. Once the person has completed their programme, it may be extended, or they may then be referred to an outpatient programme or secondary care facility.

When choosing a centre for yourself or your loved one, always do your research. Ensure that they are a licenced facility. Ask if you can come for an assessment to view the facility and meet with the staff. Most facilities will allow this free of charge and may even offer to send you information brochures. If they have reviews or if you know anyone that has been there, that may also ease your decision into choosing the correct facility.

If you or a loved one are battling substance abuse and are in search of rehabilitation from substance abuse in Johannesburg, know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s just a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.

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Dominique Le Claire Rossouw

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