Sep 04, 2007 at 10:20pm IST

Drug addiction becoming fashionable, say docs

New Delhi:Thirty two-year-old former model Gitanjali Nagpal's story is a stark one - from walking the ramp to being cut-off from her family and finally begging on the streets of Delhi, after years of being addicted to drugs.

But is this a case of the system failing her, with no drug rehab programs at hand? Or as some experts seem to find, is there a dangerous trend among young adults like Gitanjali to take addiction very lightly.

"It’s becoming a fashion. They mistake de-addiction to be de-toxication and that is a trend now especially with rich or financially independent children However, de- addiction is not that simple,” says Psychiatrist, Dr Jitendra Nagpal.

And family support structures aren't always enough. A lack of communication, an increased tendency to lie, and cover up a drug problem, and increased acts of delinquency to source money for drugs puts a lot of strain on that relationship and parents can't always force children into getting help. At times medical intervention is needed.

"Children come to us at times after wasting a lot of time making it that much difficult for the children to change,” says Psychiatrist, Dr Sanjay Chugh.

But some experts feel that de-addiction is not just de-toxification but a holistic intervention that includes counselling.

With medical intervention, an alcoholic can kick the bottle within eight to 12 weeks, those addicted to cocaine, heroine and morphine need 16 - 24 weeks to clean up their act. And these individuals require two years of rehab including counselling to get back into the mainstream.

But what is disturbing is the number of relapse cases. According to experts 30 to 40 per cent of those who walk out of de-addiction centres get back to their old habits and friends. This is the reason why a support structure even after a rehab program is crucial.

So going to a de-addiction centre is just the first step. It's the months after that doctors say are crucial, and in most cases, counselling can also help.

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