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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 176-178

Perceptual ineptness in relation to drug addiction

Department of Psychology, Government Degree College Ganderbal, The University of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Date of Submission19-Mar-2022
Date of Decision01-Jun-2022
Date of Acceptance08-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nuzhat Firdous
Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iopn.iopn_28_22

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Addiction of any kind is indeed detrimental, leading to psychological, financial, and social disorders. However, drug addiction is seen as one of the major concerns worldwide, having the most distressing consequences. This may be attributed to a number of psychosocial factors which put a person at a greater risk to develop such behavior. For some, drugs provide a kind of relief in times of distress, and for others, it increases the confidence level and improves the performance on a given task. Several studies have been carried out so far highlighting various precipitating/perpetuating factors (parental neglect, discord, peer pressure, lack of coping and resilience, and social incompetence) in maintaining such behaviors, as well as the preventive ones (authoritative parenting, extended family system, and enhanced psychological capital) to overcome this menace. What makes it more challenging is holding a fallacious belief of baking (roasting) the weed (Charas) as a skill and smoking as a means of lifting one's morale and a matter of prestige. This may be attributed to the germination of a thought of exhibiting the power of masculinity before the same or the opposite sex and thus eventually sidelines the efforts made by the stakeholders to restrict the ill effects of drug addiction on youth and on society as a whole. There is thus a pressing need to educate young minds and restructure their belief system at a very early stage of development. In that direction, all the institutions (family, school, and place of worship) must go hand in hand to ensure that youth is aware about the ill effects of such illicit behaviors, well in advance.

Keywords: Drug addiction, honor, perceptual ineptness, skill, smoking

How to cite this article:
Firdous N. Perceptual ineptness in relation to drug addiction. Indian J Psy Nsg 2022;19:176-8

How to cite this URL:
Firdous N. Perceptual ineptness in relation to drug addiction. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jun 1];19:176-8. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2022/19/2/176/365465

  Introduction Top

Pride (sometimes called bluster) not only motivates youth to consume drugs and fall prey to other addictions but is also seen as a massive stumbling block to recovery which proves detrimental, as the addicts often refuse to acknowledge their involvement in such deadly as well as socially unacceptable behavior (American Addiction Centers, 2020).[1] Hence, an inflated sense of ego not only substantiates to be one of the potential reasons for developing addiction but also makes addiction recovery a difficult task since the person into addiction perceives things irrationally, disregards and devalues others' opinions, and be trapped in a web of a disorganized world with a clouded mind. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020), teenagers use drugs because they want to fit in with their peer group, fearing that they may not be accepted in the group otherwise.[2] Moreover, they feel euphoric and therefore less stressed and depressed in response to various social and academic pressures.

A number of environmental stressors have been seen to have an association with both smoking and alcohol use.[3],[4] It goes without saying that violent victimization, low socioeconomic status, substance availability, and school-based stressors increase the likelihood of substance[5] and may undermine the youth's ability to cope with adversities, as well as induce both psychological and physiological emotional dysregulation.[6],[7] Thus, adolescents may turn to smoking and/or drinking in an attempt to temporarily dull the experience of stress, increase well-being, and regain homeostasis.[8]

Needless to mention that adolescence is a period of chaos and confusion, during which, adolescents go through several favorable/unfavorable experiences, including those which they perceive as thrilling and daring and which eventually leave a profound influence on their tender minds. Cigarette smoking is one such experience teenagers often go through and which eventually may lead to drug addiction. A significant correlation has been seen between smoking and alcohol consumption.[9] A large body of research indicates that early exposure to nicotine influences the development of stimulant addiction as well.[10],[11],[12]

  Case Report Top

Here is a case of a 20-year-old boy who was taken to one of the drug de-addiction centers of Kashmir by his mother and brother with the chief complaints of sputum, irritated mood, restlessness, heart congestion, insomnia, poor concentration, and above all aggressiveness. The withdrawal of the weed and peer pressure are the precipitating (causal) factors whereas the harsh attitude of parents was found to be the perpetuating (maintaining) factor.

Patient narrative

“I have the problem of sputum because of charas (cannabis). It is a bad feeling; they treat me as a mad person. Do you think I am mad?” These were the remarks made by a 20-year-old boy who had turned to drugs among various psychosocial pressures as revealed by him and the significant others.

Among the psychosocial pressures, social relationship with parents is seen as one of the potential predictors of maladaptive behaviors such as substance abuse by adolescents.[13],[14] It goes without saying that parents play a pivotal role in the personality development of a child. Their role becomes even more important when the child enters his/her teens and gradually gets separated from the parent's influence. They start developing their own understanding, although less, about relationships with others and the consequences of their behaviors.

As he goes on to say,

“My parents were frequently shifting our residence from one place to another. The frequent shifting was making me feel disturbed since I was losing my friends whom I wanted to have besides me in all odds and share my secrets with. It became even more distressing when I was admitted to a boarding school in my 6th standard. After spending 2 years in the boarding school, I forced my parents to take me back or I will commit suicide. My parents took a serious note of it and got me admitted to a school nearby my residence where I got exposed to newer experiences.”

Peer pressure has often been seen as a potential factor which puts adolescents at greater risk to develop such behaviors,[15] they consistently struggle for social acceptance and are more willing to engage in behaviors against their better judgment to be accepted by the group they are associated with. In addition to this, low self-esteem has also been seen to have an association with drug addiction.[16],[17],[18]

“In that school, I saw students smoking (cigarettes) and feeling proud of it. I too developed this notion that smoking adds to one's personality and makes one feel honored. I also started smoking and a time came when I smoke two packets of cigarette in a few hours. Two years later, I developed relationship with a girl, a student of 11th standard. It was a great experience, however, I used to feel nervous upon her phone call and therefore I used to smoke in order to “boost my confidence” before responding to her call.”

“One day I found some boys baking and inhaling Charas (Cannabis). I too learned the “Skill of Baking” and became a “Proud Baker.” I stopped going to school, started wandering here and there and preferred to sit alone than with other family members. One day my mother took me to a Pir (faith healer) where suddenly I lost my mental equilibrium and I grabbed his collar and dragged him down from his house. On seeing this, my brother tied my hands and took me to one of the drug de-addiction centers.”

Despite struggling with various complexes and aggressive tendencies, the patient was morally grounded, concerned about the dignity of his father who was a cleric by profession. However, on quitting, he was feeling frustrated resulting in frequent outbursts of anger and road rage. After having a primary evaluation in the drug de-addiction center, the patient was referred to the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Srinagar, for further evaluation and treatment.

  Discussion Top

Although there is a paucity of literature available on such a belief system wherein a person into drug addiction believes that he would gain appreciation for his baking skills by his peers and thus would be accepted and welcomed by other group members. Teens conceive this notion that smoking adds to their personality and they are more liked by the opposite sex, ignoring the fact that it has dire consequences on their physical as well as mental health. As smokers are more likely to use drugs,[19],[20] which ultimately paves the way for other criminal tendencies,[21] leaving the person at a potential risk to commit various types of crimes and sabotage his future prospects. Moreover, the uncontrollable aggressive behavior of the person into addiction oftentimes jeopardizes the welfare of the fellow members of the society in general and of a family in particular.

Undoubtedly, it becomes more challenging for the stakeholders to curb the menace, particularly, when such irrational beliefs are attached to it. However, a collective effort from parents, teachers, religious scholars, and other law enforcement agencies is required to make children aware about the pros and cons of their behaviors and educate them to overcome such perceptual flaws. Moreover, observation plays a potential role in developing certain behaviors and it is seen that youth get more attracted to the glamor world and often imitate the behaviors of their favorite actors. Frequent exposure to music containing messages of substance use has been seen to have a significant influence on young minds.[22] The catchy numbers like “Dham Maaro Dham, Hookah Mar, Sheeshay ke dhuwein se challa bana-dhuwein mai saare gham de uda” potentially influence and provoke young minds to experience smoking and drugs. It is therefore the responsibility of the filmmakers and actors to not plot movies which advocate smoking or like behaviors.

Last but not the least, youth need to learn to take the responsibility of their actions, given the importance of their physical and mental well-being to be the contributing agents to the welfare of the family and society too.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

American Addiction Centers. The Dangers of Pride in Recovery; 2020. Available from: https://alcoholrehab.com/addiction-recovery/the-dangers-of-pride-in-recovery. [Last accessed on 2021 Oct 12].  Back to cited text no. 1
Kalichman SC, Simbayi LC, Kagee A, Toefy Y, Jooste S, Cain D, et al. Associations of poverty, substance use, and HIV transmission risk behaviors in three South African communities. Soc Sci Med 2006;62:1641-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Lambert SF, Brown TL, Philips CM, Ialongo NS. The relationship between perceptions of neighborhood characteristics and substance use among urban African American Dolescents. Am J Community Psychol 2004;34:205-18.  Back to cited text no. 4
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McEwan BS. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. Eur J Pharmacol 2008;583:174-85.  Back to cited text no. 6
Murali R, Chen E. Exposure to violence and cardiovascular and neuroendocrine measures in adolescents. Ann Behav Med 2005;30:155-63.  Back to cited text no. 7
Dawes MA, Antelman SM, Vanyukov MM, Giancola P, Tarter RE, Susman EJ, et al. Developmental sources of variation in liability to adolescent substance use disorders. Drug Alcohol Depend 2000;61:3-14.  Back to cited text no. 8
NIDA. Cigarette Smoking Increases the Likelihood of Drug Use Relapse; 2020. Available from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2018/05/cigarette-smoking- increases-likelihood-drug-use-relapse. [Last accessed on 2021 Oct 18].  Back to cited text no. 9
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Cigarette Smoking Gateway to Illegal Drug Use; 2000. Available from: https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2000/smoking-. [Last accessed on 2021 Oct 12].  Back to cited text no. 10
Weinberger AH, Sofuoglu M. The impact of cigarette smoking on stimulant addiction. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2009;35:12-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
Kalman D, Morrisette SB, George TP. Co-morbidity of smoking with psychiatric and substance use disorders. Am J Addict 2005;14:106-23.  Back to cited text no. 12
Brook DW, Rubenstone E, Zhang C, Morojele NK, Brook JS. Environmental stressors, low well-being, smoking, and alcohol use among South African adolescents. Soc Sci Med 2011;72:1447-53.  Back to cited text no. 13
Olumide AO, Robinson AC, Levy PA, Mashimbye L, Brahmbhatt H, Lian Q, et al. Predictors of substance use among vulnerable adolescents in five cities: Findings from the well-being of adolescents in vulnerable environments study. J Adolesc Health 2014;55:S39-47.  Back to cited text no. 14
Stafström M. Influence of parental alcohol-related attitudes, behavior and parenting styles on alcohol use in late and very late adolescence. Eur Addict Res 2014;20:233-40.  Back to cited text no. 15
Kounenou K. Exploration of the relationship among drug use & alcohol drinking, entertainment activities and self-esteem in Greek University students. Proc Soc Behav Sci 2010;2:1906.  Back to cited text no. 16
Emery EM, McDermott RJ, Holcomb DR, Marty PJ. The relationship between youth substance use and area-specific self-esteem. Sch Health 1993;63:2248.  Back to cited text no. 17
Khosravi A, Mohammadpoorasl A, Holakouie-Naieni K, Mahmoodi M, Pouyan AA, Mansournia MA. Causal effect of self-esteem on cigarette smoking stages in adolescents: Coarsened exact matching in a longitudinal study. Osong Public Health Res Perspect 2016;7:341-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
Alavi HR. The role of self-esteem in tendency towards drugs, theft and prostitution. Addict Health 2011;3:119-24.  Back to cited text no. 19
Khajehdaluee M, Zavar A, Alidoust M, Pourandi R. The relation of self-esteem and illegal drug usage in high school students. Iran Red Crescent Med J 2013;15:e7682.  Back to cited text no. 20
Banyan Treatment Centers. Drug addiction and Crime. Available at: https://www.banyantreatmentcenter.com/2021/01/15/drug-addiction-and-crime-chicago/. [Last accessed on 2022 Jun 23].  Back to cited text no. 21
Chen MJ, Miller BA, Grube JW, Waiters ED. Music, substance use, and aggression. J Stud Alcohol 2006;67:373-81.  Back to cited text no. 22


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