GUNTUR: The de-addiction centre set up at the Government General Hospital (GGH) in the city has proved a boon to addicts. It has so far provided counselling to 886 people with alcohol and drug dependency with a success rate of 30 per cent. The centre started on May 30, 2020 with 15 beds, also offers free medication apart from counselling to addicts. At present, addicts are being treated as outpatients only as the GGH has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.
Only one counsellor is available at the centre now against the sanctioned strength of three, which needs to be looked into. Dr Lokeshwar Reddy, nodal officer of the de-addiction centre, said, “Treating patients who are not willing to change is a bit difficult than willing patients. Every individual requires unique care based on a number of factors, including what substances he is addicted to, how long he has been addicted, level of dependency, whether or not he has any co-occurring disorders and personal preferences.’’
The de-addiction centre gets patients in the age group of 14 to 65 years from Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna, East and West Godavari districts. “Usually, each and every case is treated in a different way, but 20-30 per cent of cases are tricky and complicated. People above 50 years and youngsters below 20 are easy to deal with as they can be influenced easily. In case of patients above 20, it takes time though the duration of their addiction is less as they need more persuasion,” Dr Reddy said.
After detoxification, we give individual and family counselling along with medication, music, food and art therapies to help them overcome the withdrawal syndrome effects, including aggression, violent behaviour towards their family members, etc. “First of all, they should not be called as alcoholics or drug addicts, instead they should be referred as a patient, who is suffering from alcohol and drug dependency syndrome. The family support throughout the process plays a vital role in curing addiction,’’ he observed.
Dr Srividya, Medical Officer of the centre, said, “Youth are more prone to drug addiction now. Recently, a 14-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital as he was suffering from fits. His parents and the doctors did not even know the reason for his convulsions. But later they came to know that he was addicted to opium. When he was brought to the de-addiction centre, we gave him counselling and after two months he had become normal.” The counsellors and the nursing staff follow up the cases regularly. If the patients miss any appointment, we call them and enquire about their condition, she added.
Speaking to TNIE, the mother of a 22-year-old patient, who did not want to reveal their identity, said that her son had been addicted to alcohol for the last three years. “One day, he became sick and we took him to a private hospital. We did not have any idea that he was consuming alcohol all these years until the doctors told us that his condition was due to his addiction to alcohol. As per their suggestion, we brought him to the de-addiction centre last year. Since then, he has been taking medication and attending counselling sessions every month. Now, we can see a lot of change in him,’’ she said.
Madya Vimochana Prachara Committee State president V Lakshmana Reddy said they are planning to sensitise DWCRA women on this issue and educate others about the de-addiction centres as part of our campaign against liquor consumption. “We want to involve volunteers to identify the people suffering from alcohol addiction and encourage them to take medical help to shun liquor,’’ he added.