Name: Jessica Peters
From: Kent, Washington
How Can We Prevent Addiction?
When it comes to addiction and alleviating this issue, I personally think we must look at how addiction starts in the first place. Though addiction comes from various forms, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, self-harm, overeating/starving, or shopping, I believe that these outlets and others all have something in common. That is, forming in a place of misunderstanding or the lack of it. Having knowledge about addiction allows us to make knowledgeable decisions when we experience a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure from a certain activity. Although the release of certain hormones, such as dopamine, and the urge to do the activity more may be out of our control, how we react to this sensation is in our control. With proper knowledge of types of addiction and addiction itself, we can counter the risk of making poor choices that may lead into resistant habits, thus preventing addiction at a large scale.
One contributor to the rise of addiction is dissatisfaction. Though we may not feel content with our lives for reasons such as financial or relationship struggles, these issues are quite personal, so an individual’s solution won’t likely improve everyone’s situation. For instance, in my experience, I’ve battled with body image addiction and starvation. Most people would’ve recommended me to see a dietitian and psychologist to better understand and adjust my eating and thinking habits. In fact, I would also recommend this to anyone who is struggling with the same addiction. However, I’ve never seen a dietitian or psychologist in my life and my “remedy” started by watching YouTube videos about food, health, and sustainability. If I ask myself, “What would’ve needed to be done to prevent this addition?” I’d answer, “Maybe if social media didn’t exist or being informed of where food comes from and its impact on our health and the planet”, the latter of being something I think we can educate many people of and the first being quite unlikely. Using this example, I think it’s key to know that my lack of understanding food and health led me to fall into an addiction involving, naturally, food and health. Furthermore, I think this idea can be applied to other addictions as well. Being plentifully informed of various forms of addiction can significantly help us make healthier decisions and prevent us from falling into bad habits whether we are content with our lives or not.
There is no “right” way to educate others, but there are certainly methods that can do more harm than good. The goal is to simply inform people about what’s real about addiction and different forms of it, leaving out bias and stigma. To add on, it’s vital for younger people to start learning as they tend to be more likely to process information from a fair point of view. We can positively impact countless people by informing students beginning in elementary school and incorporating more complex forms of addition as they mature each year, as part of the curriculum or not. As knowledge is learned both in and outside the classroom, we must also spread meaningful messages about addiction through parents, public figures, and media to further learning about this issue that demands our attention. Though we don’t know how to stop addiction, we can prevent it by informing people about what we do know.