Mind Matters


By Paonam Thoibi

Q1. I don’t know whether my question is going to be too general. I have been thinking about this for quite some time, and I feel I can ask this one since we have observed International day against drug abuse and the like recently. My question is, is there a viable explanation from a psychologist’s point of view on why our state, particularly the youngsters are prone to drug abuse? Meena, Naoremthong, Imphal

Ans: Dear Meena, you are asking one of the most relevant questions about one of the issues our people are facing- i.e., drug use and abuse. It is true that many people, especially our youngsters are prone to getting into substance use habit. As a psychologist, I lay much emphasis on co-existing factors like mental stress, anxiety and depression as one of the many reasons. People resort to taking drugs- an unhealthy coping mechanism, to take a break from nagging thoughts, beliefs and disturbing memories. Getting ‘high’ is one of the ways to escape from realities which is not tolerant to them. Teenagers are susceptible as they are faced with many conflicting situations at their age both at home and outside. It is also the time of ‘experimentation’ about the new things they have come across in the media. The environment which exposes them to ill treatment, abuse and neglect by others, especially parents or dysfunctional relationships in the family also lead to drug use behaviors. Peer pressure and the need to ‘belong’ to groups and communities which uses drugs for pastime and recreation is another factor. Research studies also pointed out evidences of genetic factor in drug use. A drug use parent leaves their children susceptible to high risk of substance use.

The observance of international events like the ones you have mentioned is one of the many ways to sensitise people on the issues of drug dependency. Various other factors causing drug dependency- which includes accessibility, availability, social systems and dysfunctions like conflict situation, political systems, cultural practices, etc., in isolation or in combination, should be understood and policy and framework mechanisms to fight against it and how to stay at bay from drugs should be implemented.

Q2. I have heard about something called ‘habitual liar’, what is it? I have a friend, who narrates so many made up stories about himself, about his family. I mean, some of us as his common friend know that he is lying. But we pretend to believe him. How do we correct him without hurting him? We study in the same college. Binny, Poana Bazar.

Ans: Dear Binny, there has been debates going on whether to categorize habitual lying as a distinct mental condition or just a common symptom of several other mental conditions and illness. It is difficult to recognise if one is showing the characteristics of pathological lying- wherein they feel no guilt or remorse and lie without control regardless of how it affects them or others; or lying for several other reasons like out of fear, to conceal something etc.

I feel rather than concluding that your friend is habitually lying, a more understanding approach and confrontation will be more beneficial for your friend and also your friendship. If need be, your friend can be encouraged to meet a counselor so that he can also open up to other underlying issues or problems he may be facing due to which he distorts facts quite a lot of time.

Q3. Madam, this is about a question which you answered it so beautifully regarding about the choice of subject for the young students who have just passed 12 standards. I agree, there has been too many pressure from the parents, or rather expectation from their children. I agree with you madam, we should give ample freedom to our children while making a career choice. My kids are still in viii and ix standards, and we have decided not to force them into what we want.The problem is we cannot educate all the parents on this matter. I wish, you could write more on this, say as an article on this paper, you can still continue with the same column also, Bijaya, Palace Compound, Imphal

Ans: Dear Bijaya, it’s quite motivating to be encouraged to write on more on the issues of children and their freedom of making choice. I am also happy to know how you have decided not to force on your children in their decision of career. Here, I believe you also understood that it’s not totally leaving the children alone in their choice of career when they have reached the stage and the age to take up or pursue a career. Parenting involves making helping the children at an early age to shape up their opinions and encourage them to their sense of decision.

I hope I’ll be able to write more on this very soon as it is impossible right now while responding on the overwhelming number of queries each week. Thank you for the interest.

Readers are requested to send in their queries at mindmifp@gmail.com


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