Drug abuse dates as far back as the Biblical era, so it is not a new phenomenon. “The emotional and social damage and the devastation linked to drugs and their use is immeasurable.” The ripple of subversive and detrimental consequences from alcoholism, drug addictions, and addictive behavior is appalling. Among the long list of effects is lost productivity, anxiety, depression, increased crime rate, probable incarceration, frequent illness, and premature death. The limitless consequences include the destruction to personal development, relationships, and families (Henderson 1-2). “Understandably, Americans consider drug abuse to be one of the most serious problems” in the fabric of society. And although “addiction is the result of voluntary drug use, addiction is no longer voluntary behavior, it’s uncontrollable behavior,” says Alan Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Torr 12-13).
Addiction is a term that has traditionally been used to refer to psychiatric syndrome that is caused by illicit drug use. Actually, addition is the only psychiatric condition whose symptoms are regarded as an illegal activity. In most cases, this term is described on the basis of drug use, which is the main focus of many research and treatment programs. Generally, drug addiction has significant negative effects on individuals using the drug and those around them such as family and friends. Family and friends are usually forced to watch their loved ones wilt away in illicit drug use. While addiction has traditionally been regarded as a psychiatric condition, there are numerous debates that have emerged on whether it’s a disease or merely an immoral act by a selfish individual. My standpoint is that addiction is actually a disease because of the observations I have made on how illicit drug use takes control of the addict. I have watched my brother battle prescription drug addiction and eventually passed away from an overdose at the age of thirty-two years. As a result, I believe that addiction is a disease because it changes the functioning of the addict’s brain. In essence, studies have demonstrated the effects of chemical substances on the brain and how addiction affects feelings, thoughts, and actions.
Addiction is a complex psychiatric disorder that consists of social and psychological factors, but at its most basic level it is a biological process. Addiction may come in many forms, but its primary choice of substance is drugs. In particular, prescription medications in the form of pills have become a major health problem, not only to those addicted but the clinicians who prescribe them. In order to fully understand this disorder, considering what brain mechanisms and functions are involved with addiction, the next area to look into is the factors that make the prescription drugs so addictive, along with long term effects, and to discover any new treatment options out in practice today, whether it be through medicine and/or counseling.
Drug addiction is a disease of the brain. The initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, however once that decision is made, the decision to become an addict in involuntary. “Addiction affects the brain circuits involved in reward, motivation, memory and inhibitory control. When these circuits are disrupted, so is a person’s capacity to freely choose not to use drugs.” (Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care) Drug addiction and/or abuse is a huge problem in our country today. In order to effectively combat this issue it is important to understand drug addiction; what it is, how it effects people and what our federal government says about it.
Drugs cause an overall disturbance in a subjects’ physiological, psychological and emotional health. “At the individual level, drug abuse creates health hazards for the user, affecting the educational and general development of youths in particular” (“Fresh Challenge”). In youth specifically, drug abuse can be triggered by factors such as: a parent’s abusive behavior, poor social skills, family history of alcoholism or substance abuse, the divorce of parents or guardians, poverty, the death of a loved one, or even because they are being bullied at school (“Drugs, brains, and behavior”) .
The consequences that follow the use of any drug are unfavorable. Although many individuals may see drug addiction as a mere lifestyle choice, it is a problem that many individuals suffer from and inevitably a growing issue that leaves major social and economic impacts.
Introduction Substance abuse and addiction have become a social problem that afflicts millions of individuals and disrupts the lives of their families and friends. Just one example reveals the extent of the problem: in the United States each year, more women and men die of smoking related lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined (Kola & Kruszynski, 2010). In addition to the personal impact of so much illness and early death, there are dire social costs: huge expenses for medical and social services; millions of hours lost in the workplace; elevated rates of crime associated with illicit drugs; and scores of children who are damaged by their parents’ substance abuse behavior (Lee, 2010). This paper will look at the different theories used in understanding drug abuse and addiction as well as how it can be prevented and treated. Theories (models) in understanding substance abuse and addiction: older versus newer
The world of addiction is a highly misunderstood realm. The word “addiction” itself is extremely stigmatizing. Many people first think of personal failure and weakness, which is a result of the moral model commonly associated with addictions. However, substance dependence is not a personal weakness. It is a chronic disease suffered by many people across the world. Classifying drug and alcohol addiction as a disease is an exceedingly controversial topic (Murphy, Lynch, Oslin, McKay, & TenHave, 2007). If society is to believe and agree with this classification, they must admit that substance dependence is an illness, a disease, and not a human failing or weakness. Those with substance use disorders in particular need more understanding from the public and more advocates to speak on their behalf without judgment.
Drug abuse and addiction not only has negative effects in the lives of the people involved, but also in the lives of their close relatives, friends and immediate society. It leads to disintegration, failure in school, loss of employment and violence. Although intake of drugs is a voluntary and conscious decision initially, continuous intake of drugs changes the brain and challenges the self-control of the “addicted person” and inhibits the ability to resist extreme desire for drug intake.
Smith, Melinda. “ Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse:Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Alcoholism.” Helpguide Helps You Help Yourself and Others. N.P, Aug. 2013. Web. 31, Mar. 2014.