KUWAIT: The Kuwait Lawyers Association held a seminar titled 'We Have an Addict in our House' on Tuesday, presented by addiction treatment consultants Mona Al-Yatama and Ghanima Karam. The session was moderated by lawyer Dana Al-Rasheed.

Karam spoke about how to spot drug addiction signs and symptoms. "Due to the fact that most individuals will not freely admit that they have a drug addiction problem, it falls upon family and friends to help that person get the professional drug rehab treatment they need to turn their lives around. But in order to do this, loved ones must be able to ascertain whether or not the person in question even has a drug addiction at all," she said.

Although every drug addiction is different, there are a number of classic signs and symptoms that occur across almost all different types of substance abuse and dependency, including a sudden loss of interest in family and friends, loss of interest in hobbies and activities once found fulfilling, bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils, irritability and sudden mood swings.

Karam said according to unofficial 2016 statistics, there are 7,750 addicts in Kuwait and the number is increasing. "The addicts may have liver damage or AIDS. Family members are often well placed to help people make safer choices about drugs and to contact support services for further help," she said.

Yatama noted that it is important that the people around a person who uses drugs share their knowledge about the situation so that a consistent approach can be adopted. Consensus is vital - its absence can enable the person using drugs to take advantage of the people around them. She spoke about the common mistakes in drug treatment. "There are many mistakes families do when they discover that their children are addicted," she said.

"There are some families who hold their children against their will in the house for days to make them quit, which is wrong, since they need clinical addiction treatment," Yatama said. She pointed out that families sometimes force addicts to abuse drugs or drink alcohol inside the house rather than outside. "There are parents who give their children anti-drugs pills, which reduce the effects of the drugs, but they will create a bigger problem. The addict may overdose, and he is now addicted to the drugs as well as the pills," she said.

By Faten Omar