Drug Addiction often described as Substance Abuse Disorder, is a globally recognized issue that concerns India as well. A 2019 survey conducted by Magnitude of Substance Abuse reported that around 2.26 crore individuals of the country’s population consume opioids, which is present in a majority of licit and illicit drugs. Nationally, the most commonly used opioid is heroin. The Coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand, has helped in increasing this data. 

Although there is no absolute explanation for drug and alcohol addiction, experts have suggested a couple of factors responsible, such as genetics, race, sex, socioeconomics etc.

Common Symptoms of Addiction:

The most common symptoms that indicate addiction to drugs and alcohol include:

  • Frequent use of the drug or alcoholic substance
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Poor work performance
  • Difficulty in maintaining relationships
  • Difficulty in completing deadlines
  • Dependence on the drug or alcohol for day to day functioning
  • Changes in groups, staying with people who drink heavily
  • Avoiding contacts
  • Self negligence 
  • Symptoms of depression 
  • Self-destructive tendencies

Area of Concern:

The issue becomes a threat when it obstructs the growth of a country. High mortality rate due to substance abuse, use of the drug among the youth, large scale production of the drug within the country are all its indicators. 

6 Stages of Recovery:

Overcoming addiction is a long and difficult process. However, psychologists break it down into a six stage process. These stages are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination, also known as the Transtheoretical Model.

  • Pre-Contemplation: In this stage, the addict becomes aware of their condition but tries to avoid it. They try to analyse whether the need for the substance outweighs its negative effects. 
  • Contemplation: The drug user in this stage is now fully aware that he/she is suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder. From here on, it is their decision whether they want to seek professional help or not. 
  • Preparation: The preparation stage begins when the addict tries to make some changes in his/her life by seeking help. Help can be taken from a medical professional like a psychologist if the person has some other psychological disorder or a rehabilitation centre. Family and Friends are also considered to help the user in overcoming his/her addiction. 
  • Action: The addict is now making actual changes, not just planning them. They are now talking about their addiction to doctors and health professionals. They try to control their tendencies concerning the drug or alcohol. 
  • Maintenance: The person tries to stay on track with the routine prescribed by the doctor or health professional. A healthy diet, proper sleep and exercise are now a part of their daily routine. The need for the substance has now reduced gradually.
  • Termination: This stage marks the recovery of the addict. All they have to do now is focus more on factors such as their career, relationships, passion etc. which will demolish their need for the substance. 


The Indian government has launched its “Drugs De-addiction Programme” that aims at providing medical help to those with substance abuse disorder. 

The National helpline number for those seeking help is 1800-11-0031.

Individuals can also register themselves at


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