Name: Areeba Amin
From: Morton Grove, Illinois
Where It Can All Go Wrong
Nowadays, we can widely see that people everywhere have a noticeable trend – we tend to be attached to something. When we become so attached to an object to the point that we no longer regard negative impacts, we are then considered addicted. Addiction is so prevalent to the level that we can observe it in our surroundings – from alcohol, painkillers, cigarettes, to some illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The recent advances in technology have only made this even more apparent – addiction to popular media consumption, social media, video games, and computers have been so normalized that people think that it is normal to develop that kind of addiction. This trend is observed in the USA and the rest of the world as a whole.
Traditional addiction may stem from exposure from a younger age and peer pressure, which I observed myself. Starting at a young age, we are exposed to multiple occasions and events that introduce us to the drugs and all the addiction-inducing substances: television, the music industry, parties where grown-ups drink alcohol. Children then grow up believing that alcohol or any other substances are an acceptable norm in society instead of a substance that we should limit – they can simply think, “why can’t we try it too when everyone is doing the same?”.
In addition, peer-pressure where usage of such substances also plays a part. I was introduced to the topic of drugs in fifth grade. My elementary school enrolled us on a program that asked students to sign a pledge stating we would not abuse substances – only to find out that one of my classmates bragged about using marijuana with his cousin the following year. In 7th and 8thgrade, many parties involved alcohol, and as I progressed to high school, there were even more people bragging about drugs such as Molly, Adderall, Percocet, alcohol, and vapes. The ideology of these substances became normalized to the point where everyone has to participate in order to be accepted – otherwise, they are looked at as outsiders.
In terms of modern addiction, an increasing need to stay connected and use the facilities may play a part. Many of our daily activities are intertwined with the internet and usage of gadgets. Moreover, video games addiction comes from the prevalence of its use in younger generations. Cumulatively, these phenomena do not come without cost – hence may bring us to a crisis.
Addiction has been associated with personal unhappiness for individuals – as they often feel unsatisfied if they do not have access to their addiction. For example, we can observe many smokers that feel the urge to have cigarettes at all costs. Simultaneously, we can also see a lot of clinical depression due to the very same attachment issue. On a macro scale, we can observe that such behaviours lead to high economic cost – stemming from unproductiveness and setting up healthcare facilities. There is undoubtedly a lot of loss in between – how can someone quantify suffering one faces with their addiction?
There are few steps in order to end addiction. First of all, we need to acknowledge that we have developed this kind of addiction – we must accept the harsh truth that we have something to solve inherently. Even though it is hard, it is something that we need to embrace. After that, we need to slowly reduce our exposure to the addiction triggering substances – so that consumption can be halted. At this point, it is very common to develop withdrawal syndrome, which is precisely why societal factors are crucial on top of inner individual motivation. With a sound support system such as a doctor, rehabilitation centre, family, and friends, one can learn how to adapt with withdrawal syndrome and cope with it. After the whole process passes, constant support must be ensured to prevent getting back to the same addiction –seeking help is especially important. At community level, we can embrace and support organizations that focus on mental health and addiction issues. In conclusion, cooperation between addicted individuals and its society is vital in coping with the addiction crisis as a whole.