I received the following request for a guest post. I know nothing about the organization or facility and am posting as a matter of public information.
I am the founder of Whole Recovery addiction treatment center in Boquete, Panama. I’d like to post a guest blog on Chiriqui Chatter regarding alcohol and drug recovery and rehabilitation in Panama in general.
Vlad Kogan, CEO
Whole Recovery Center
And now for the guest post.
Challenges of an Expat: Developing an Addiction while Living Abroad
When people think about living abroad, especially in affordable, developing countries, they may envy those who can take advantage of such an opportunity. After all, many expats have the ability to live nicely, eat well and enjoy vast amounts of experiences and adventures which life abroad can offer. However, there is a dark side which often goes unnoticed. Addiction, more often to alcohol than drugs, is a big problem in the expat community not only in Panama, but also in Central America, as well as, many other parts of the world.
I should note that most expats can enjoy life and never develop an addiction; however, for some this is not the case. In this situation there are several reasons which are primary causes for an addiction, especially to alcohol; these include the following:
Living abroad will bring about challenges which typically do not occur back home. The expat lifestyle normally means you’ll be away from friends and family, have to face serious language barriers and experience a strange culture shock; even after several years of living in the country. All of these challenges can culminate feelings of confusion, stress, anxiety and even anger. Alcohol may be the ‘go-to’ item to relieve these feelings and put them aside for “another day. “
Inability to Fit In
As an expat, you will most likely never “fit it” or be 100% accepted in the local community; I admit there are exceptions. Feeling like an outsider, or being treated like one, can be incredibly difficult to accept and lead to reclusive behavior, depression, self worth and loneliness. This is a perfect recipe for a person to seek refuge in the comfort of alcohol, as well as, online gambling because it offers a strong worldwide community to engage with.
The Need to Make Friends
One of the first things any expat does once they move abroad is search for new friends. All too often, the lack of social interaction leads to perpetuated loneliness. Take any of the aforementioned feelings plus the inability to communicate or vent, and you’ll create a setting which encourages destructive behaviors. Throughout the world, bars and pubs are popular hot spots to meet other expats. One of the most obvious things to do at these places is to order a drink, then one and then another. This can become habitual through continual use; it’s very easy to develop an addiction to alcohol.
There is a Good Side to Living Abroad
It’s important to point out that living abroad can offer positive experiences which could not be had in developed countries. Going about it in a healthy manner, you can meet people from around the world and learn to appreciate life for everything it has to offer.
In Panama, the expat community is very large, which means there are places both online and offline, to socialize, explore and learn. Of course, the longer that you are in the country, the easier it will become.
Don’t forget that should you happen to be having a hard time, take a breath and look around you at all the beauty of the people, culture and surroundings which encompasses you; sometimes this can turn a bad day into a really great one.
OPTIONAL USER INTERACTION: If you are an expat and have experienced any kind of substance abuse, I am very interested in hearing your own story; please share it below.
About Holistic Light Rehab
Founded by Vladimir Kogan, Holistic Light is a luxury rehab which has recently opened a second facility in Panama. Geared towards helping expats in Panama and Central America, as well as, individuals from the USA and Europe, the rehab emphasizes the importance of healing underlying problems which have led to an addiction. Through a natural holistic approach, staff is able to treat the whole person- mind and body. You can find more about Holistic Light at their website: www.holisticlight.com