Case Study about an Individual Struggling with Substance Abuse
Case Study about an Individual Struggling with Substance Abuse
Linda is a 32-year-old married woman. She is addicted to heroine for the past 4 years, soon after she got married to John. Her husband is a 40-year-old employee of a multinational company dealing in consumer durables. This is John’s second marriage.
Six months back Linda was fired from her job in a garments company for poor attendance and bad performance. The company fired after finding no improvement in her performance and attendance despite repeated disciplinary penalties. Even after Linda pleaded that she would mend her ways and that her condition was due to her substance abuse, the company did not give her another chance. In fact the higher officials of her company got angrier with Linda as she had suppressed that she was a substance abuser. They said that had she told the truth earlier, they would have helped her in her treatment and rehabilitation. They said none of the fired employees in the past have been reinstated so there was no scope of Linda to get this opportunity.
Linda’s woes do not end here. She is trapped in an unhappy marriage. Perhaps this is the reason why she turned to heroine. Her
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His abuses had increased more after Linda got fired. After news of her pregnancy his alcoholism has increased too and he is home just to sleep and get ready for office.
Linda’s father was a heavy drinker too. He had left her mother with Linda and her three younger sisters when she was just 12 years old. Since then, she started drinking along with her neighbor’s sons when her mother was off to work. Earlier her drinking habit was confined to 2 to 3 times a week but it gradually started increasing. She was involved in a couple of love affairs that came to an end due to some reason or the other. It was in as bar that she met John. She was single and lonely. He was depressed due to his wife’s death in an accident. Their loneliness brought them closer. The first year of their marriage was nice. Linda’s drinking was under control, limited to drinks only in parties. But gradually John started drifting to other women. Their marriage became hell. Linda got introduced to heroine by one of John’s friends. Now she just cannot keep herself off of it.
When she was working she used to take ¼ -1/2 gram of heroine. Now that she is all alone at home and depressed, her intake has increased to 1 gram per day. She has again started taking alcohol as before. The days, on which she cannot take heroine, she depends on Valium.
She does not want to interact with anyone. She has lost touch with her friends. Her mother had died before her marriage. One of her sisters lives in Manhattan itself. But her house is far away from Linda’s. She is busy with her job and family. So she is not in regular touch with Linda. Though Linda has enough time she does not want to meet even her sister. Her sister is not aware of Linda’s deteriorating condition. She thinks that like her Linda is busy too with her job and family. For Linda everything has become secondary to her drug addiction. She deliberately keeps a distance from her sister and friends because she does not want them to find out her real condition.
She lacks motivation and has no interest in finding a new job. At night when John is home she becomes all the more vulnerable. Whenever he abuses her, instead of defending herself, she keeps on crying until she falls asleep. She has become so forgetful that she sometimes wonders whether she had taken the bath or not. Her food intake is dangerously low. She does not cook at all. Most of the time she is on fruits, biscuits and bread. There are days when she does not comb her hair at all. She looks so dishevelled, dirty and intoxicated that even when John is not drunk, he hardly pays attention to her. They sleep in different bedrooms. Instead of talking, John shouts and Linda weeps. John is thinking of getting rid of her at the earliest by divorcing her.
Linda is suffering from acute depression. She feels she is good for nothing. Earlier she used to feel suicidal. But her pregnancy has given some ray of hope. She wants to be a mother but at the same time fears that her child would not be born as a normal child due to her excessive alcohol and substance dependence.
She has got hold of a pregnancy magazine in which one article is based on alcoholic and substance abusers women who are expecting. Through that article Linda has come to know that if one is regularly taking drugs then instead of stopping it altogether, one should continue taking it for the benefit of the baby in the womb. This is because a person takes alcohol or drugs to relax one’s muscle tensions and to reduce anxiety. If one stops these altogether then severe life threatening conditions like cardiac arrest, tachycardia or grand mal seizures can erupt. All these would of course be harmful for the baby.
In one-way Linda is relieved by reading this article. She is happy that she will not have to stop her drug and alcohol intake immediately. Neither will she have to feel guilty for taking them. She feels that more than quenching her desire for drugs, now heroine and alcohol is important for the well being of her child. On the other hand she is a lot more worried about her deteriorating health condition. She wants to see a doctor to take her out of this mental and physical distress. She wants to be healthy and fit for the sake of her baby. But she knows it would be very difficult to live without her addictions as much as it seems difficult to lead a life without her baby, which is still unborn.
Linda should see a doctor as soon as possible. She should not be secretive about anything in front of the doctor or otherwise complete treatment, recovery, complications-free delivery and birth of a healthy child would become impossible. She should be aware of the fact that though sudden withdrawal of drug and alcohol may not be good for the baby but without gradual withdrawal the pregnancy would become difficult. It would be extremely dangerous for the baby too. He might be born with certain dangerous syndromes.
In addition to a doctor, she should also see a counselor. Both the counselor and the doctor should be aware of the child protection and child abuse reporting laws prevailing in Manhattan. They should be skilled enough to handle this case sensibly. They would have play the role of rehabilitators without being harsh on Linda. Otherwise there are strong chances that Linda would not return to them after the first session. The condition in which Linda has landed herself would make any counsellor and doctor angry. But they will have to suppress all this for the sake of the patient and an unborn child.
The doctor would have to first conduct tests to confirm that the foetus is normal. Otherwise it is better to abort than to give birth to an abnormal child. The counselor would have to be there for Linda in all circumstances. If Linda is seeing the counselor before the doctor then the counselor should prepare Linda to be truthful to the doctor without fearing his judgments. The counselor should not only encourage her to act according to the doctor’s diagnosis but also to be courageous enough to make her relationship better with her husband.
On the other hand Linda should be well prepared for both the situations. She would also have to be prepared for the admonishing of the experts. She would have to take everything in her stride for the betterment of her condition. With he help of the counselor she should help herself to regain her lost self-confidence and motivation. If the doctor advises her to go ahead with the delivery then she should take all measures to keep her substance addiction and alcoholism at bay. She should try to fight her depression and be happy. If the doctor advises to terminate her pregnancy then she should try to begin her life all over again, meet with friends, look for a job and groom herself so that she looks beautiful and confident. If she takes all these measures in addition to the measures prescribed to her by the doctor and counselor to fight her drug abuse, she can lead a healthy and happy life.