The dependency syndrome

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Speak to any recovering addict about how they battled and overcame substance addiction, you will hear the same story – Life events led to bad choices and then a low point, followed by conviction and commitment to changing their life because if they didn’t, they’d be ruined.

The life event could be anything – a death in the family, or a breakup or a financial loss – an event beyond ones control that they need an escape from. They promise themselves “its just this one time”. Before you know, the dependency syndrome kicks in and they cant live without it.

Pakistan’s addiction with poor governance and international dole-outs needs to end. And it seems the addict that has finally committed to change. Imran Khan’s statement about the “dependency syndrome” at the Peace Institute in Washington suggest that he has checked Pakistan into rehab.

Breaking away from this dependency will be a difficult task and requires the right environment and proper monitoring. This is why to kick an addiction, the addict should be checked into a rehabilitation center where doctors, therapists, psychiatrists and nutritionists can closely monitor changes.

The question to ask ourselves then, is not when the painful withdrawal period will end. End it will when it must. The questions to ask are, once it does, do we have the right professionals and support system in place to coach us back on to the path of prosperity? And once the new normal kicks in, who is our sponsor, keeping an eye on us to ensure we don’t veer off path.

The first few days of giving up the drug can lead to withdrawals symptoms such as convulsions, cold sweats and insomnia, and can make the addict feel they will never make it. But with professional support of medical staff and emotional support of those near and dear, the difficult days are over come and the addict can get a new lease on life.

But the nation needs to be reminded that when kicking an addiction like poor governance and dependency on foreign aid, there will be short term economic withdrawal symptoms. Like the ones currently experienced by the nation in the form of rising exchange rates, interest rates, commodity prices and changes in the entire tax apparatus of the country. All of this will indeed lead to a slow down and will definitely be painful. Rather than trying to fight the pain, we should brace ourselves and let the country get through it – we will need to experience the withdrawal symptoms before we can be dependency free.

There are all too many examples of the addict after months of rehabilitation leaving the rehab center only to relapse just a few days after. As citizens we must make sure we don’t let that happen to Pakistan.