Name: David Edward Evans
From: Converse, TX
The Modern American Plague: Addiction Nation
The Modern American Plague:
I have like many of you reading this paper seen addiction firsthand grab a hold of someone close to me and drastically change the trajectory of their life. Growing up I had a very close friend who got addicted to opioids and eventually methamphetamine. Now I should mention this friend and I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood his parents both worked full-time jobs and they were religious by nature. I know that none of the things I have listed matter much in his addictive behavior. In the end his addiction got the best of him and he overdosed one night in the early part of summer. Throughout the rest of this essay I will reference back to this friend when answering the assigned questions.
As a nation I feel as though there are two main reasons, we are dealing with a addiction crisis, first we live in a high-stress, fast paced environment centered on instant gratification and a win at all cost mentality. Unfortunately for most this drives people to have an outlet to step outside of their normal lives, their own reality to decompress at times. I would say for the majority that would be something like exercising, walking, fishing, playing a sport, however for others their problems seem to compound, and they look for more extreme measures. In reference to my friend who was mentioned before he was under a significant amount of stress previously to him starting to use illicit narcotics. The stress he was under was related to pressure from his place of employment to falsify documentation and stress from his in-laws who were wealthy to provide a more “comfortable” life as they put it for their daughter to whom he was married. So, his outlet to escape his reality was to turn to addictive substances to turn his mind off so to speak from his problems, a very sad and fatal choice indeed. The second reason I feel we are dealing with an addiction problem is an extreme discontent from boredom. For most people it may be okay waking up and going to the same job every day and living in the same routine or pattern for most of their life, however for others that sounds like a prison sentence. The unhappiness and resulting boredom of adult life can prove to be too much for many, so they turn to addictive behaviors whether that be substance abuse, pornography addiction or something else and it gives them a feeling of adventure and abstractness, until the crash comes and they need their next fix.
The consequences of this addiction for an individual can simply stated be losing out on their loved ones, losing their career, and most importantly if they don’t get the addiction under control, they could lose their life. The societal impact is far more reaching, as a whole society spends several millions of dollars each year in tax-payer money for crimes linked to addictive behavior for mental health awareness and treatment as well as the countless families impacted by this negative behavior. As a society we are facing a tremendously challenging time in our history of not only how to lessen the addictive behavior but also how counter act that behavior with something better and more meaningful to the individual. For example, addictive behavior can be seen in children, with modern technology such as ipads and other devices children our being groomed for on demand entertainment. Have you ever tried to pry an Ipad out of a five-year old’s hand during the middle of a show they are watching? If you haven’t buckle in for a wild and tumultuous ride, and when you finally do take it away be prepared for the fallout that comes next and the constant questioning of when they can have it back, simple stated: addiction. My friend paid the ultimate price with his life that was the consequence to him as the individual but also to his friends and family.
In order to remedy this crisis, I feel like it will take a multifaceted approach. First, on an individual level we will need to have clear guidelines and parameters for rehabilitative therapy for addictive behavior such as behavioral modification. I feel like we need to really tailor it to the individual and dig down into the root cause and address those issue with the help of highly skilled mental health professionals and family members who are willing to participate to help adjust the behaviors. As a society, I would say we need to start by placing health boundaries for our children when it comes to electronic devices and media as well as with their recreation and association. It is good for a child to express themselves and have a health outlet for their energy however all to often in this day and age we often rely on devices to “distract” or “occupy” our children so we can take care of whatever it is that we are doing. We must change this perception and standard and re-think our connections with each other and our children. It is time for the “human” touch to be reintroduced into our lives. Please don’t get me wrong I love technology, but it has its proper place as a tool, and it should be viewed in that light. If we are able to implement these changes soon rather than later maybe we will beat this addiction crisis, and maybe more people like my friend mentioned before won’t be a casualty of this ongoing addiction war that is plaguing our nation!