Name: Annaleise Dunbar
From: Orlando, Florida
Grade: College Freshman
School: Valencia College
Votes: 1 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign - Addiction

Addiction


Addiction

Addiction
is the compulsive, chronic, psychological and physical inability to
stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity or substance, even though
it is causing psychological and physical harm. When a person
experiences addiction, they cannot control how they use a substance
or partake in an activity and they become dependent on it to cope
with daily life. Every year, addiction to alcohol, tobacco, illicit
drugs and prescription opioids cost the United States’ economy an
upward in seven hundred and forty billion dollars in treatment costs,
lost work and the effects of crime. There is a common misconception
between misuse and addiction. Substance misuse does not always lead
to addiction, while addiction involves regular misuse of substances
or engagement in harmful behavior.

Most
addiction cases usually arise from the inability to cope with stress
and negative thinking. Other cases include underlying anxiety or
depression, peer pressure and mistreatment from friends or family in
the form of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. As a result, the
individual may turn to drugs because it provides some form of escape
from reality. However, overtime this practice may lead to unfortunate
circumstances as it applies to the individual’s health and
behavior.

An
individual displays many indications of addiction but not everyone is
able to detect this, especially during the early stages. Indicators
of addiction typically begins with the individual engaging in harmful
levels of habit-forming behavior such as taking higher dosage than
prescribed on medications by a professional. This may occur as the
medication does not seem to be working or the effect received is
enjoyable to the individual. Further indicators include neglecting or
losing interests in activities and developing difficulties forming
relationships. Extreme indicators include hiding substances or
exercising secrecy by refusing to explain injuries that occurred
while under the influence, profound changes in appearance and
increased risk-taking, both to access the substance or activity and
while under its influence.

Once
addiction has been established in an individual, the effects are
robust and conspicuous. Long-term substance abuse impacts on health
include a weakened immune system, seizures, strokes, development of
heart and lung diseases, nausea, abdominal pain, increased strain on
the liver, difficulty with memory, attention and decision making.
Effects also impact the individual’s behavior causing them to
become aggressive, experience paranoia, hallucinations and express
impulsive outburst.

Addiction
not only has an impact on the individual and those close to them. It
also affects society. A large amount of crime can be attributed to
substance addiction. This is because many addicts are trying to
obtain money to purchase their substances of choice. When a purchase
goes wrong they may need more money and violence normally occurs.
Public health systems are extremely overworked as many patients
admitted to hospitals have a substance addiction and money has to be
spent by Medicare on inpatient treatment. Unless private, all public
welfare programs to re-integrate substance users placed on probation
and parole is covered by society. Several accidents occur as a result
of the driver being under the influence at the time of the incident.
This not only causes injuries and fatalities but also large damage
costs.

Substance
abuse also impacts the environment. This is mainly the result of
outdoor marijuana cultivation and meth production. The chemicals that
are used to produce meth are hazardous and flammable. These chemicals
are often stored improperly, causing fire and explosions. The process
used to create meth creates between five to seven pounds of waste per
pound of meth. This waste is typically discarded into streams,
forests and sewers. This water is then unknowingly used by farmers on
crops which lead to toxicity in food produced and when consumed by an
individual causes poisoning.

Medical
advances and progress in diagnosing has aided the medical community
in developing various ways to manage and resolve addiction. When an
addict stops taking the substance or engaging in the behavior
abruptly, they experience symptoms such as anxiety, irritability,
nausea, fatigue, appetite loss and tremors. To efficiently help an
addict to overcome their addiction, they should attend behavioral
therapy and counseling. There they would receive medication and
drug-based treatment to reduce the risk of a relapse, and
psychological evaluations. Medical devices to treat withdrawal are
also used. Addiction treatment can be difficult but it is effective
once the addict cooperates and adheres to their regime.

Addiction
prevention cannot be stressed enough. One way that addiction and
substance abuse can be prevented is through early screening and
intervention. Schools and community-based addiction prevention
programs can help children, teenagers, adolescents and adults resist
social pressure to engage in substance use, manage stress and
anxiety, strengthen self-esteem, improve decision-making and
communication skills. Government officials may also aid in the
prevention of substance abuse by reducing the availability of excess
prescription medications, increasing taxes on tobacco and alcohol
products, restricting advertising and marketing of addictive
substances.

Ultimately,
anyone can succumb to addiction but with proper education, a strong
support system and self-control, it is possible to both overcome and
avoid.


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