August 19, 2017

Substance Abuse

“What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. 
It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” Alice Miller.

I am reposting this again as it’s a burning issue currently in our city - Hyderabad. Every day the newspaper is carrying information on various aspects on how young school children are becoming victims of drug use, drug peddling in the city, police arresting and interrogations of those who are in possessions etc.

I have also come across cases where parents are struggling to deal with their teenagers, and in the community alcohol and violence has become a common factor for disrupting families.

I have always wanted to write a post on substance abuse; as  the most vulnerable are the youngsters who begin to experiment very early in their lives and gradually become addicted and dependent on the substance.

This is my response to those who are struggling with the issue of substance to let you know that there is a way out; and there are lot of individuals/Institutions and organizations that are with you in the recovery process.

So if you think you are alone in this world – read till the end of my post; I have given you details where you can find help.

Understanding Substance abuse

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Alcohol can include beer, wine, spirits (eg. Vodka, gin, whisky, brandy, rum, grappa etc.) Liquors and fortified wines (ex. Port, muscat) and pre mixed carbonated drinks.  Street terms include grog booze, piss and turps.

Tobacco includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless tobacco includes chewing tobacco and snus. A street term for tobacco includes rollys and fags. Tobacco is made from the dried leaves of the tobacco plant (generally Nicotiana tabacum) Nicotine is the drug in tobacco smoke that causes dependency and is strongly linked with the development of cancers. 

Cannabis includes outdoor (bush) or indoor (hydroponic) grown, hash and hashish oil.  Street terms include bhang, charas, ghanja marijuana, dope, weed, skunk, pot, hooch, mull, grass, puff and maryjane.

Alcohol, Nicotine & cannabis are very common and mostly used by all age groups, and also types of persons be it rich, middle class or even the poor.

Any substance when taken by a person modifies perception, mood, cognition, behaviour or motor functions. This definition includes legal and illegal substances that can lead to dependence.

“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. Believe me; it has nothing new to say” Unknown

Research has shown that people generally take drugs to either feel good (sensation seekers, or anyone wanting to experiment with feeling high or feeling different) or to feel better (self-medicators, or individuals who take drugs in an attempt to cope with difficult problems or situations, including stress, trauma, and symptoms of mental disorders).

What makes some people more vulnerable to substance abuse?  There are so many people who take variety of substance depending on their buying capacity. But only a few get dependent on the substance they use & abuse.

Studies have shown that no single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted. The risk is majorly influenced by person’s biology, social environment, and age and stage of development. People of all ages suffer the harmful consequences of substance use; and it affects all strata of society.

The impact of Addiction can be seen on overall health problems like Respiratory problems, cough, breathlessness, local abscess, weight loss, over dosage, death. The other issues are marital disharmony, separation, divorce, disowned by family, homelessness.

The youngsters have issues related to poor performance in academics, absenteeism at work, loss of pay, getting into debts, giving up hobbies, play and the only preoccupation, will be finding ways and means to obtain the substances.  

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” Carl Bard

Addiction also leads to involvement in illegal activities, arrests, imprisonment, driving under intoxication killing themselves and also causing road accidents. It is very common to find psychological issues related to guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders associated with addiction.

Our Response :

 Being non-judgmental, that is listening with love, understanding their problems, helping them to talk about their issues can be helpful (Avoid blaming, threatening, sarcasm, name calling and shouting)

Being Empathetic in dealing with them, i.e., putting yourself in their place, and being sensitive and caring, and assuring Confidentiality – building trust & relationship can motivate them to make a decision to change.

“Patience and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.”
Chinese Proverb

It is always better to refer to a counselor/ and consult experts to help them; as we may not be equipped to deal with withdrawal symptoms. 

Understanding withdrawal symptoms

What is withdrawal symptom?  It’s a Physical psychological symptom that occur with the discontinuance of addicting substances. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually begin about 5 – 10 hours following he last drink. 

They reach their peak between 48 and 72 hours and can persist for a few weeks into recovery. In most instances the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are mild, but there can be more severe symptoms known as Delirium Tremens which can be  fatal.

There are clinics and hospitals wherein treatment is provided for dependent users, following are the places in Hyderabad for treatment: The treatment is expensive in corporate hospitals; it is reasonable in clinics run by Non governmental organizations and it’s a free treatment in  Government hospitals.

Spec Clinic – Psycho-social Counseling and
Treatment for Addiction.
New Bowenpally X Road,
Beside Gulf Bakery,
Secunderabad 500 011.
 Cell: 9247571490.

Asha De-addiction Centre
Plot No. 451, Road No 86,
 Jubilee hills, Hyderabad.
Phone: 040-23540126

Hope Trust India
 471, Road No. 87, Jubilee Hills
Hyderabad 500 033
Toll free no. 18001231288

Institute of Mental Health, (IMH)
Government Hospital.8am-10am.
One has to register between the above mentioned timing.
Erragadda-Out Patient

For those who would like to be sober and do not want to return; there are groups that support and help in remaining committed to their decision. Narcotic Anonymous work with mainly nicotine addiction and other associated substances. Narcotics Anonymous group Meetings are conducted in the twin cities on a regular basis to help those who want to be away from Substance abuse.

·         Mondays - Mahabub College, Patny circle RP Road, Secunderabad. Contact no. 9293181524. 9985360968.  7.00 p.m to 8.15 p.m.

·         Wednesday –St Francis Girls High School, Near Secunderabad Railway station. Contact no. 9293181524, 9985360968. 7.00 p.m to 8.15 p.m.

·         Thursdays – Holy Family Girls High School, Lalbazaar, Secunderabad Cantt. Contact No.8125496392. 7.00 p.m to 8.15 p.m.

·         Fridays – YMCA, Narayanaguda, Hyderabad. Contact no. 9963527539. 9985360968 7.00 p.m to 8.15 p.m. at the following centres:

Similarly Alcoholic Anonymous groups (AA Groups) are also working in the twin city for those who would like to be away from alchohol and would like to remain sober.

Hyderabad A.A. Group.
Cont:  - 9849015203
Sun./Mon. / Thu. 7.00 p.m.
Dilsukh Group  
Shri Sai Degree & PG College
Opp. Brilliant Grammer School,
Hyderabad - 500 036
Cont: 09704750871 
Tue 7.00 pm.
Banjara Group
St. Alphonsus High School,
Road no 9, Banjara Hills
Cont: 09705982000
Sun. 11.00 a.m.
Stepping Stones Group
Lady of Health Church,
Khairatabad, Hyderabad
Wed 7.00 p.m.
Kukatpally Group
Monterssory High School,
Vijaynagar Colonty, Kukatpalli,
Hyderabad - 500 072
Cont: 097047 50871
Thurs 7.00 p.m.
Secunderabad Group.
St. Ann's School,
S.D. Road
Cont: 098490 25833
Sun. 11.00 a.m.
Wisdom Group
St. Francis Degree College, Uma Nagar,
Begampet, Secunderadad
 - 500 003.
Mon/Fri - 7.00 p.m.
Jubilee Group
Sweekar Upkar Rehabilitation Centre for Handicapped,near Jubilee Bus Stand,
 - 500 003.
 - 098666 90957
Mon./Wed - 7.00 p.m.
Jubilee Group
YMCA, Near Clock Tower
Secunderabad - 500 003
Cont: - 09985335920
Sun. 11.00 a.m.
Kripa Group
Keyes High School,
Secunderabad - 500 003
Cont: - 097047 50871
Fri. 7.00 p.m.
Mahaboob college Group
Mahboob College. Secunderabad
Cont:  - 089781 03289
Thu 7.00 p.m.
Secunderabad Group.
St. Francis School,
Near Manohar Talkies
Cont: 098490 25833
Tue / Sat - 7.00 p.m.
Swastatha Group.
Krishnaveni Talent School,
Sri Ramnagar Colony
Kothapet, Dilsukhnagar
Hyderabad - 500060
Cont: 09704750871
Sun. 10.15 a.m.
Madhapur Group
Meredian School,
Next to Tata motors, Hitech city
Kukatpally Road
Cont: 098667 74156
Sat 7.00 p.m.
Ikyatha Group
S V E S Shool,
Osmania University Road,
Hyderabad - 500044
Cont: 9000475577
Wed 7.00 pm

Tips to prevent  from getting into substance abuse :

·         Practice healthy diet, avoid junk foods and

·         Get plenty of sleep.

·         Establish a regular exercise routine – walking, yoga, gym or any games of your choice, which can be played every day consistently

·         Drink plenty of water and prefer other non-alcoholic drinks instead of alcoholic ones

·         Take up new hobbies or spend more time on old ones.

·         Keep yourself active and busy.

·         Make non alcoholic using friends.

·         Put the money you save into a special fund to save up for something you really need or want.

·         Find paid employment, or do volunteer work.

·         Set goals and keep adding, changing and re discovering new goals

·         Practice Gratitude

·         Listen to music or take up your some classes to learn music

·         Learn to play an instrument

·         Think positively and be optimistic

Source: WHO Manual (2010), ASSIST-linked brief intervention 
May you be blessed and Be happy !


  1. Any form of substance abuse is bad. More often than not, it starts with peer pressure. It's sad how this addiction to drugs, alcohol, tobacco ruins lives not only of theirs but those around them too. So many families suffer not only physically but emotionally and financially too in case they have a substance addict in their family! Thanks for sharing about an important issue, Genevive!

  2. Very true shilpa, peer pressure is one of reason for the youngsters to get into substance abuse, and now its a common sight to see youngsters smoking and drinking openly, with pub culture gaining popularity we see a lot of young girls too getting into substance abuse. The family members struggle to deal with this issue; and sometimes out of frustration, throw them out of houses too.. we have now initiated an awareness in the community and also a few institutions on this issue...nice connecting with you...

  3. Excellent article thank you Genevieve-it's tragic the harm it causes all round as in also the families of abusers. It's a chronic situation among the young here as well 😥

    1. Thanks Susan, its a serious situation in hyderabad now; the government has taken a serious stand to resolve; some of the institutions have come forward to campaign and spread awareness on the harm caused by substance abuse. I am glad from YWCA we are addressing this issue in the government run schools and the community.


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