The one word this generation is most familiar with is- Addiction. Whether it be addiction to our phone/technology, to a particular celebrity or person, addiction to drinks or more canonically addiction to a few or many dangerous substances.
Though in most cases, for instance reprimands from the parents’ accusations of addiction might be a bit exaggerated, we cannot deny that addiction is a common sight around us, and the signs are always present quite near the surface if one bothers to look.
Usually those who are considered as addicts are looked down upon as a general rule. Society thinks of them as dangerous, out of control maniacs who need to be locked up so they don’t cause any harm. In general, they are outcasts.
What most of these people don’t realize is that addiction, that is substance abuse, is scarcely the problem in itself. It is more of an effect, or rather a response to some underlying problem that has been bothering the person. The root cause is never just the addiction, and so it is impossible to treat the addiction while ignoring the issue from which it stems.
The thing about substance abuse is- people who are addicted know that what they are doing is harmful to them. They know and feel the effects of their addiction on their health and their relationships and yet they are not able to give it up.
What makes it so difficult for them to do so? Because they need a relief from their pain, and all these drugs- cocaine, meth, heroin- act as painkillers. These painkillers help them in escaping from themselves.
This emptiness, this desire to run away from yourself is what causes addiction. You look for distractions to feel better about yourself. This distraction can be found in shopping or food or music anything. It can similarly be in drugs.
Addiction is any behavior which gives you a momentary relief (like sugar rush), and even though you know it is bad for you in the long run- you keep doing it.
For addicts, the pain is not biological entirely. The pain stems from the life they have lived. Most of them have some history of abuse or the other. They were beaten, traumatized, raped, abandoned or neglected as a child. This generates the feeling of emptiness that makes them seek help elsewhere.
They lack dopamine occurring naturally in their body, dopamine, which is necessary for feeling motivated. The environment you are exposed to as a child, shapes your brain. If you were neglected as a child, your brain circuits don’t develop enough to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers and also make attachment between us possible.
These drugs act on our endorphin system. They are not addictive in themselves, just as eating or watching TV is not addictive in itself. It is just that some people are more susceptible to its consumption.
This pain and suffering passes on from us to our children in a never ending cycle. You never know when it gets bad enough to turn into drug addiction. Instead of berating someone for their drug abuse, try finding out about the emptiness they are trying to fill