Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences

Name: Destiny Mills
From: Tempe, Arizona
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences

Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences

Running head: WE ALL SUFFER 1





Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences

Destiny Mills

Arizona State University







Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences

Being the daughter of two parents who were and are addicted to drugs and alcohol, I know all too well the effects that addiction can have on an individual, as well as their families, and friends. I’ll admit that I may have resented my parents for the choices that they have made and how those choices affected me because after all, having addict parents doesn’t come with a handbook. However, over the years, I have come to realize that addiction is a disorder, and it is not necessarily something that people would want for themselves. It is easy for people shame individuals who are using by calling them “junkies” or “crackheads”, but it is important to note and realize that these individuals are sick. I have seen my father continuously get sober and relapse a few months later, and while this cycle was frustrating to be apart of, I realized that my father was the one struggling the most. He had co-occurring disorders, likely due to the many consecutive years of drug use. Less than a year ago, my father was abusing drugs and alcohol while living on the streets. About a month later, in March, he was found at the bottom of a river with large of amounts of illegal substances in his system. I may have had a rocky relationship with my father from the age of eight, but his passing really affected me and those closest to him. Addiction doesn’t only affect the person using, those closest to them and us – as a society – all suffer the consequences.

There are numerous reasons as to why addiction has become so prevalent throughout our nation, mental illnesses/disorders being one of them. More and more people are becoming depressed and/or severely stressed than in previous years, with nearly one-third of the population of Americans showing symptoms. Emotional and mental struggles make it likely that an individual will seek out drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Drugs and alcohol substances are often easily accessible with marijuana being legalized, hard liquor being sold in grocery stores, and doctors prescribing opioids. Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of preventable death within our country and yet me make it fairly easy for teenagers to get ahold of. Peer pressure and media influences are another contributing factor to the widespread of addiction. There are plenty of instances when movies, shows, books, and celebrities tend to glorify drugs and alcohol. These types of negative influences can unfortunately persuade young people to experiment with some of these substances mentioned above. Addiction can be in one’s genetic makeup, therefore, people need to be immensely careful when consuming legal substances and when considering using illegal substances. The more people who abuse drugs and alcohol make it more likely that addiction will continue in the future if not dealt with appropriately.

Becoming addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs provides many risks and consequences for the user and society. These substances can have detrimental effects on one’s health – whether it be mental, emotional, physical, or otherwise. Addiction can cause people to possess mental disorders – like my father – and can be the potential cause of one’s death or reduced health. However, addiction doesn’t only affect the individual who is using, but society as well. For instance, criminal activity and substance abuse often are connect. The more people using makes it more likely for others to be harmed by someone who is not in a clear state of mind. Moreover, the prison systems are already dealing with excessive numbers of individuals being detained and the numbers will continue to rise as addiction does. Another thing to note is that the families, friends, and likely anyone associated with someone who is suffering from addiction are going to have to deal with the consequences of his or her actions. As I have mentioned above, I can relate to the effects that this can have on a person. With that being said, addiction provides no long-term benefits, yet it can cause long-term effects on anyone and everyone.

Rather than putting most of our efforts on helping those already suffering from addiction, I think more preventive actions need to be taken in order to remedy this existing crisis. While I believe that a certain amount of emphasis needs to be placed on rehabilitation, I think that this individualistic and societal problem needs to be solved – or at least reduced – from the root of the problem. One way to do this would be to find ways to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and disorders because as I have mentioned, this poses a risk for self-medicating. We can do this by educating individuals from a young age about both mental health and addiction, while teaching them alternative ways of seeking assistance for an issue they may be facing. In society today, it isn’t deemed appropriate for someone to discuss their mental state and when they do, it is often viewed in a negative light. Humans are exceptionally focused on being “perfect” that any little flaw will likely cause discrimination, lowered self-esteem, pity, and/or isolation. Therefore, improvements need to be made on how we view ourselves and others. We need to modify how mental illnesses, addictions, and humans are perceive throughout media because it contributes to the ways in which we – as a society – think and behave.

Addiction poses a risk for every single individual within a nation, whether they are directly affected or not. There are a multitude of reasons why addiction has become a prevalent crisis and they need to be improved for the sake of everyone. We need to begin solving addiction by preventing it from occurring in the first place. If we can do this, we can lessen the amount of suffering that some may end up facing. I feel strongly about addiction awareness due to my own personal experiences. I didn’t have the best childhood growing up, and later in life I suffered from depression and anxiety from the difficulties that I was forced to be apart of. I am majoring in psychology so that one day I can help those who have endured or are going through what I have. I hope that the number of people who suffer from addiction reduces and that preventive measures are taken more often in the future.

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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 - Addiction: We All Suffer the Consequences
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