Name: Alissa Brown Otero
From: Albuquerque, NM
I believe there are numerous reasons why we as a nation are dealing with an addiction crisis, but one of the biggest is that addicts have underlying struggles and issues that have not been addressed. Issues that an addict could have been subjected to are fallen relationships with family/friends/significant others; loss of a loved one; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse as a child; neglect, rejection, bullying, anxiety, or depression. From personal experience, with parents who have battled drug addiction, I’ve noticed their urge to blame life’s circumstances for it. This has further helped me better understand that they sought every tangible thing in the world to numb or mask that pain, but drugs seemed like the only answer. As a person who was indirectly affected by addiction, I experienced the sorrows and deep hurts of watching a drug consume the ones that I love. Not only was I emotionally affected, but I also grew insecure in provisions for finances and shelter.
As a nation, I believe we are “quick fixers”, meaning we would rather prescribe a person medication or even tell them to “just get over it,” before really digging deep to the root of their problem through counseling or rehabilitation. I feel that this decreases an addict’s ability to reach out because they feel they are a burden, they are incapable of fixing themselves, or that no one really wants to listen to them.
There are physical, mental, and emotional consequences of addiction for any individual. Physical consequences include short-term effects such as change in appetite, awareness, heart rate, blood pressure, psychosis, and even overdose; additionally, long term effects include heart/lung disease, mental illness, cancer, HIV/AIDS, changes and interferences in brain circuits (NIDA, 2017). Mental consequences include mental health issues and disorders such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, or hallucinations (NIDA, 2017). Emotional consequences include the feelings of guilt, fear, helplessness, depression, anger, disparity and resignation (“The emotional impact”, 2020). Once an individual is addicted, they are willing to do whatever it takes to cure the cravings; moreover, they will lie, steal, cheat, manipulate, and put their loved ones in dangerous situations. This brings me to the consequences that society must deal with, which comprises things like tripling the death rate of drug overdoses since 1990, costing the U.S. economy over $600 billion dollars each year, and providing treatment to only 10% of the 21 million Americans that have an addiction (Yerby, 2020). I believe these consequences will only multiply and increase, because addiction is never satisfied, it will keep taking until there is no more life to give.
Whatever the substance, whether it be drugs/alcohol, gambling, pornography, or shopping; our remedy is putting our pride aside and finding the origin of the problem through intensive and genuine counseling. This is the only way addicts can truly face addiction and begin the healing process before it’s too late. As I said above, it is never satisfied, meaning that there is only one thing that can satisfy, and that is God. I believe Jesus is THE source for all healing and He can help any addict be an overcomer, simply by realizing their brokenness without Him, as He was the perfect being to triumph death right in the face. He accomplished this victory by dying for our sins and raising from the dead three days later! If addiction has the same fate as everything else, death; then we should be looking for answers in the One who gives life.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Health consequences of drug misuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/health-consequences-drug-misuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017). Mental health effects. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/health-consequences-drug-misuse/mental-health-effects
The emotional impact of drug addiction. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.altamirarecovery.com/drug-addiction/the-emotional-impact-of-drug-addiction/
Yerby, N. (2020). Addiction statistics – Facts on drug and alcohol use. Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/