Indian PM Mr. Narendra Modiji in his Mann Ki Baat program expressed concern about growing drug menace in India. He has recently requested public feedback about stopping this menace and promised to discuss the remedies in his next episode of Mann Ki Baat.
To understand the issue of drug abuse or addiction problem first we need to understand the reasons behind addiction. If we can understand the reason and curb the same we will be able to tackle the problem of drug abuse effectively.
There are several theories that describe addiction, the most popular theory being the Bio-Psych-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) model of addiction. Given below are some of the theories and models that describe the causes of addiction –
Biological Model of Addiction
According to a biological model of addiction, each person’s unique physiology and genetics causes addiction. People differ in degree of which they like or dislike a particular addictive substance or behavior. These theorists state that the temper impulsive desires with rational thought is a brain function that varies in different people.
Treatment for these patients includes education about their genetic vulnerability and emphasizing on complete abstinence. Once the craving for a particular substance or behaviour is explained to the patient it becomes easy for the patient to effectively abstain from the behaviour.
Disease Model of Addiction
A similar theory called the disease model of addiction exists and these theorists say that addiction is a brain disease. It is characterized by altered brain structure and functioning.
To cure these patients the only method is abstinence. Abstinence arrests the disease and makes the habit dormant. With the help of constant peer support, this can be kept dormant for good.
Evolutionary Model of Addiction
According to the scientists who believe in Evolutionary Model – normal but compelling desires cause people to repeat pleasurable experiences. In the modern world, these pleasurable substances can kill us and can override our
Recovery consists of increasing and expanding the rewards associated with relationships and productive activities. Healthier ‘Short Term’ satisfactions can strengthen the ability to eliminate rewards of harmful addictive substances. That is why we see many people get addicted to alcohol or drug when their relationships break. A good remedy is to engage in healthier activities that will help them to keep a safe distance from harmful addiction.
Psychological Causes of Addiction
Different psychopathological models suggest that drug abuse is caused by mental disorders. The disorders include cognitive disorders, mood swings, and other mental illnesses. (Miller, Forchimes & Zweben, 2011)
Psychologists say that certain personality characteristics are the underlying factors in all addictive disorders. These include denial of obvious problems, problems with emotional regulations, and problems with impulse regulations.
Thus to cure the problem of drug abuse and to prohibit anyone from getting into drug abuse it is important to identify and resolve underlying psychological disorders. To do that psychologists restructure the person’s personality and improve a person’s cognitive and emotional functioning.
Learning theory of addiction
According to the Learning Theory of addiction – addiction is a learned behaviour. This learning can be through 1. Classical conditioning or learning by paired association, 2. Operant conditioning or learning from the consequences of a behavioral choice and 3. Social Learning or learning by observing others.
Classical conditioning occurs when we get habituated with one drug in the combination of another activity. For example, smoking a cigarette whenever we have something complicated or creative to do or drinking alcohol whenever we have a long days work.
This kind of behavior can be tackled effectively by developing a different habit in association with the work. For instance, drink fruit juice after a long days work instead of alcohol. This kind of learning a different positive addiction can help us unlearn negative addiction.
Operant Conditioning is formed by a system of reward and punishment. When our first experience is rewarding one we are most likely to return to it and slowly we get addicted.
Psychologists say our family and loved ones play important role in curing this kind of addiction. Since this addiction work on reward and punishment mechanism the loved ones need to stop shielding a person from bad consequences of the addiction. Similarly, healthy habits may be encouraged to boost their morale and this behaviour by our near and dear ones help us recover from addiction.
Social learning is most likely to occur through following celebrities or other icons having a habit. For example when we see our favourite filmstars smoking in their movies to woo the heroine or to portray his macho image we are most likely to fall into the habit.
The bad habits of social learning can also be unlearned by taking cues from other good habits by others around us. For this, we may get associated with people without those bad habits.
Cognitive Theory of Drug Abuse
According to cognitive or expectancy theory of addiction – addicted people think that their addictive behaviour outweighs the benefits of a healthy behaviour one will become addictive. These people can think that the pain of not getting the drugs is far more compared to the future pain of the bad consequences of their addictive behaviour, they may choose to continue this behaviour.
To cure, people need to develop more accurate expectations of addiction and craving. Correct estimation of all pros and cons is encouraged.
Educational Model of Addiction
According to the educational model of addiction, people get into addictive behaviour because of their lack of knowledge about the dangers of addictive substances. This model believes that cure can happen by imparting knowledge.
Developmental Model of Addiction
According to the developmental model, immaturity or developmental arrest causes addiction. This model shows that immature people can not see the big picture of addiction and hence they fall for the same.
There are other models like spiritual and moral models of addiction but those are not so prominent.
Indian context of Drug Abuse
Now let’s consider each reason described above and consider that in present socio-economic conditions of India to understand how the drug abuse problem can be tackled in India.
If we consider the above factors that cause addiction, we will understand that other than the biological factor all other factors are socially controlled and can be restricted prevented by using the social restructuring.
With increased stress in life, breaking of our personal relationships and with the additional burden of social expectations, addiction is sure to increase in Indian society. As we see in most of the reasons behind addiction that a strong social bonding with others, a strong family system can help us fight addiction. Our near and dear ones can stop us from getting addicted or even to stay away from addiction.
However, today in India a system against the erstwhile family system is created in the name of women empowerment. Complicated marriage laws that are heavily loaded in favour of women are making the life of every couple miserable. Today, divorces happen over minor differences and since one gender gets all the benefit they look at the shorter perspective and do not hesitate to break their relationships. As a result, not only approximately 40% of our first marriages are breaking around 70% of our second marriages also end up in divorce.
Our normal relationships are going for a toss with heavy use of different criminal cases being filed for frivolous reasons. Most of the rape cases filed in India are by the estranged female partners and as a result, we find 75% rape cases end up in acquittal. But the parties undergo tremendous stress and social turmoil during this period.
Men have to suffer greater pain as all these heavily loaded laws ruin their life for good. So we find men turning to alcoholism and drug abuse more than women. Women get a false sense of empowerment until their own son undergo the same treatment and commit suicide.
When women use these laws indiscriminately without any discretion and when our legal system fails to punish them appropriately other women to lose their trustworthiness as these laws are made based on gender and not based on crime. Any woman can use or misuse these laws at their free will and thus all of them lose their value. This kind of gender divide created constantly in our society by our laws and by the govt. and popular media separates men and women and thus makes everyone lonely.
Since women are given a false sense of empowerment in extortion of some men they don’t realize this but men who immediately undergo tremendous social backlash, suffer in silence. Also in India, since there is no National Commission for Men or Ministry for Men’s Welfare there is no one who is bothered about their suffering. As a society even at a personal level a suffering man is looked down upon and as a failure in his life. Indian men are taught from the start of their life of being a provider and protector for women around them and when they fail to protect themselves from the same women they have protected simply based on her whims, he fails as a human being.
Indian men thus choose not to seek help from anyone in the fear of being a butt of the joke and thus suffer more in silence. A recent survey conducted by International Centre for Research on Women (ICRAW) found out that only 11% Indian men seek out help compared to 93% women.
This explains why in India we have a very high rate of male suicide. Some of these men get addicted to drugs before committing suicide, some who cannot commit suicide continue their drug abuse until their death. Since there is no support system for these men in India, this suffering goes unnoticed by the society and as a result, the overall drug abuse is continuing to rise.
If our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modiji really wants to stop the menace of drug abuse in India, he needs to immediately work towards scrapping all gender biased laws and make them crime based so that justice is prevailed based on the merits of each case. Also, he needs to set up a commission for men and a welfare ministry for men so that men’s issues can be effectively addressed.
If he is not willing to do any of these and just appearing on shows and promising working towards stopping drug abuse in India, he is only wasting his time and our time as well.
- ICRAW study on International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), 2011