Addiction

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Drug abuse is a complex problem thought to result from a combination of hereditary, psychological, and environmental factors. It affects people from the neonatal stage to old age. Infants of abusers may suffer from neglect or the effects of parental drug use. As they grow into childhood, they may demonstrate antisocial behavior, and signs of malnutrition, poor self-esteem, depression, or attention deficit disorder. This may lead an adolescent to use drugs, have unwanted pregnancies, and drop out of school. Identification of drug abuse is a difficult first step on the road to recovery because of the methods many abuses use to hide their addiction, the inability of family members to recognize or accept the problem, and the relatives' enabling behavior. Oral health care professionals, have an ethical responsibility to inform patients of how drug abuse can damage their health. With increased knowledge of chemical dependency, one may be able to identify and encourage a patient, co-worker, or family member to seek the support needed to change substance abuse habits. The self-assessment checklist and list of resource may provide insight and information helpful to someone who must take that difficult first step to recovery.  

A!! Self-Assessment Questions
Following are some self-assessment questions aimed at helping you decide where you are in relation to an addiction. Answer these as honestly as you can. You may wish to discuss the results with a professional experienced in dealing with addiction, an addict in a recovery program, or someone else you trust. 1. What are the substance(s) or behavior(s) that you are concerned about possibly being addicted to? When did you start these, and how long have you been involved with them? How much, and how often, do you use the substance(s) or participate in the behavior? 2. What is your usual pattern of engaging in this behavior (for example: every day, several times each week, several times...
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