The Self-Distructive Path Of Drug Addiction
Drug Addiction in the US
Drug addiction in the US continues to rise without relief in sight. As of 2009, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 23.5 million individuals 12 or older sought out treatment for either illicit drugs or alcohol abuse. Despite the thought that those numbers describe a particular population, status or cultural group the outcome showed that all groups generally experience addiction. For example, of the 23.5 million people treated, 59.8 percent of those were Caucasian, 20.9 percent were African American, 13.7 Hispanic, 2.3 American Indian or Alaska Native, 1 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and 2.3 percent Other. Therefore, it is apparent that the current drug issue is widespread.
Is It My Problem
So many have heard it or possibly have been the one to blurt out, “It is my life and if I want to destroy it that is my choice”. Of course no one is going to argue that an adult cannot be in control of their own life, but when does addiction become the issue of others. Addiction has become a national problem and with the numbers described above most everyone has encountered addiction in some capacity.
As the media supports and reinforces the one time moralistic views of addiction, the problem continues to increase. As we stand on the ledge of legalizing marijuana and the rising epidemic of prescription drugs it is no wonder that our “war on drugs” have essentially failed.
Drugs continue to be readily available while the growing popularity of prescription drugs have blown our drug problem wide open, Even teaching our children in schools to “say NO to drugs” we are failing.
How can this end, and whose problem is it?
The Beginning of Addiction
Addiction is not easily created and quite simply sneaks up on the unknowing victim. Working with many addicts, their drug use in the beginning was no big deal but most of the times described as enjoyable. However, they lost track and frequently felt as if they woke up one day out of control. Well how did they get there? All of us can empathize in some way as everyone indulges in unhealthy behaviors – whether legal or not – though how do some become addicts and others do not. Well of course, that is a complicated answer and cannot be done in one article. Though studies have found that with some individuals there is a predisposition to future addiction. Like with alcohol, a genetic element has been identified. Other studies have identified individuals being susceptible to addiction through their environment and life experiences. What is known that over time individuals continue using substances to cope with negative emotions that are to painful to experience.
The Culture of Substances
Young people tend to experiment with substances as this behavior is perceived as adult like. Many times in adolescents parents begin reducing the amount of supervision which in turn may add to the teens curiosity and are more likely to experiment at this point. As a parent this frightens me. I teach my children about not using drugs, though what happens when my child has a friend that is curious. Peer pressure is real and the leading cause drug experimentation among teens. By opening that avenue of experimentation can easily turn into addiction. Drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and crack are highly addictive. Even though alcohol, tobacco and marijuana takes time to build tolerance the overwhelming and long-term health effects make these substances dangerous.
Loosing it All
A person may go months, years or a lifetime addicted to drugs without the desire to change or stop. Many times a person that seeks drug rehabilitation are commonly those that have experienced negative consequences in their lives. Whether it be a DUI, prison, losing your children to Children Protective Services or failing organs most people need some outside force to quite.
Chemically repairing emotional damage is certainly high on the priority list of users. I have heard time and time again that the pain was too much and they just wanted to escape the inescapable. Unable to live in their own skin, substances have helped them to feel normal. However, what happens when that method is no longer working and one day you realize that “I have lost everything.”
See Real Faces of Meth
Time to Seek Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is a personal choice and not for everyone. In my years of working with addicts I have encountered individuals who have been homeless, lost their children and contracted the Hepatitis-C virus and yet could not envision the negative consequences of their use. This is the hard part for most that are not addicts or have experience in addiction. Why would someone continue to use when things are bad. Well there is a simply complex answer to all of that. Addiction consists of the psychological attachment to the drug(s) where it helps to repress painful emotions and in some ways gives the person the reality that they could not imagine having without the substance. Then there is a dependency factor which speaks to the bodies connection to the drug. If you have heard of drug withdrawal then you know what I am referring to. This is the bodies need for the substance.
So very important, when trying to get a person to rehab, take into consideration their fear and apprehension due to the effects of addiction and dependence on their bodies and minds. This is not something easy for them as they will have to learn a new them.
Rehabilitation is a source to find comfort and to reestablish ones life. Though, with all things rehabilitation is not the answer and they are not perfect. What I mean by that, is the most prestigious and highly rated rehabilitation program will fail if the person is not ready. So do not blame the rehabilitation that does not work, blame the addict. As I would tell my clients hustle rehab like you hustled drugs; you did not give up on finding drugs and making them work for you so treat rehab as your new drug!!
Taking a Stand
Addiction will consume our nation if something is not done to reverse this road we are currently speeding on. Methamphetamine alone can become the next epidemic to destroy us in which California, Washington and Oregon have already noted a state of emergency. Methamphetamine, a highly addictive and popular drug, can be manufactured in anyone’s home. Though this substance is toxic to create and use.
It is apparent by observing the media that drugs are taking our nation down the sewer and are jeopardizing all of our lives since crime is rising and violence is becoming a new wave. Though how do we reclaim a world without such crime, violence and drug use everywhere you turn?
Have you or someone you know experienced addiction?
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