Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Taking a Deeper Look at Addiction


Taking a Deeper Look at Addiction

Cheyenne Reardon

In my opinion need for momentary rewards that lack long term repercussions, both mentally and culturally, is the biggest culprit in the expansion in addiction within society today. I believe that there are deeper implications surrounding the culture of instantaneous rewards that have lead society to a structure that lends itself to gratifying oneself at the moment. Much of the research surrounding addiction in today’s society is often focused on heightened regularities of mental disorders and societal pressure which is often linked to the instant gratification status. To start in at the article “A Social Network Analysis Approach to Alcohol Use and Co-Occurring Addictive Behavior in Young Adults”, where the authors, Matthew K. Meisel, Allan D. Clifton, James Mackillop, Adam S. Goodie, conducted several surveys and controlled experiments to try and understand the overlap of high-risk drinkers and their connections to other potentially addictive substances. Next, looking at “Are Bored Minds More Likely to be Addicted? The Relationship Between Boredom Proneness and Problematic Mobile Phone Use” written by Xiu-Juan Yang, Qing-Qi Liu, Shuai-Lei Lian, Zong-Kui Zhou, in which the authors take an in-depth look at how depression influences the misuse of mobile phones. This article also introduces the medical condition called Alexthimania. This article concluded that people who have this disorder are more likely to overuse their mobile phones out of boredom and depression. Lastly, another article, “Is Alexithymia Related to Cannabis Use Disorder? Results From a Case-Control Study in Outpatient Adolescent Cannabis Abusers” written by Géraldine Dorada, Catherine Bungenera, Olivier Phanbcd, Yves Edele, Maurice Corcosf, Sylvie Berthozdf, in which these researchers also notice the overwhelming evidence of substance abuse in those who are more prone to depression. Overall these three articles all describe some of the reasons why people end up addicted to different substances. The first article explains that people who are in groups of people who are more likely to abuse one substance, they are more likely, themselves to abuse illicit substances as well through social mapping. The next two articles describe the deeper implications of the instantaneous lifestyle our society is living in today. Both of the articles explain the sensation of Alexithymia, which is clinically described as a mental disability in which a person is unable to communicate their emotions or identify their feelings. This sensation causes deep anxiety and depression in those who are suffering from this disorder. In the studies, the authors explain the correlation between Alexithymia and addiction in young people.

One of the biggest consequences of addiction on society is rooted in the individual. The way that addiction affects the individual also deeply affects the way that individual interacts with the other people creating a ripple effect out to society. Personally, I have seen addiction up close. My mother is a recovering alcoholic, and I look back on childhood to realize, my father also abused substances as well. Due to growing up around people who abused substances, I have developed a few personality traits that made living with that a little bit easier. Some of these traits are good and others have impacted me negatively. I believe that the shared characteristics of children in similar households typically are, anxiety, depression, and hypersensitivity creates a generational epidemic that needs to be treated in order to allow progression. I believe that this trait has put society more susceptible to addictive tendencies and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in many cases.

While in many cases addiction can be self-fulfilling it is important to understand the precautionary measures and the strategizing that can be used, before, during, and after a person is going through an addictive phase. Preventative measures such as education on potentially addictive substances and understanding emotions is a great place to start in stopping addiction in society. I believe that spending more time on educating children on how to be more emotionally aware, to try and prevent some of the mental components that can contribute to addiction in young people. Although, with all prevention measures, people could still end up addicted and that is when having strong support systems is a pivotal part in helping those who are struggling. The support of people close to those who are struggling through addiction is where change can also start to take for in addicted person’s life. Although, oftentimes as people begin to suffer through addiction also begin to self-isolate which makes it difficult for them to find support. Away to counteract this point in society is to circulate a message of acceptance for those who are struggling and regulate more messages on how they can find help.