Addiction is a complex disease characterized by substance abuse or a certain behavior that is impulsive or difficult to control despite the negative consequences that come with it. It can involve the use of detrimental substances such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine, or behaviors such as gambling. Both substance disorders and gambling behaviors not only disrupts parts of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, and memory, but can also be accompanied by mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Not only does addiction cause serious health problems, but it also comes with social consequences that can damage a family, interfere with work ethics, and so on. Behavioral addictions follow the same pattern as substance-based addictions, and they result in problems in many areas of the individual’s life if not properly treated.
In the 17th century through the early 18th century, addiction was not known to be a disease, and those who were compelled to act out on bad habits such as uncontrollable drinking, were considered “Drunkards,” and viewed morally wrong. It wasn’t until the 1880s when scientists, Sigmund Freud and William Halsted, began experimenting the effects of cocaine, an addictive drug, by ingesting it themselves. Unaware of how powerful the addictive qualities of the drug’s were, they became test subjects in their own research and came to the conclusion that it helped relieve pains such as migraines, disregarding the dangerous effects of it. Doctors began prescribing not only cocaine, but opium and many other drugs, as a pain reliever. As it’s medicinal fame spread, the dangerous recreational effects did not go unnoticed. Their discovery began to influence scientists to do more research on addiction as a disease. In 1864, the New York State Inebriate Asylum was the first hospital to specifically treat alcoholism and drug abuse as a mental health condition, now considered to be both a mental and physical disease. As modern society’s addiction begins to grow with drug and alcohol use, the writer of the essay aims to bring attention to the importance of its negative impact on the body and brain. The most widespread drug popular amongst many younger crowds today are the use of nicotine and alcohol. As these substances beginning to become a normalization in modern society, the author of this critical thinking essay will identify the relationship between addiction and substance abuse and the detrimental effects of it.
Review of Literature
Alcoholism is one of the most widely known and diagnosed addiction disease. This addiction can cause social problems at home, work, or school. It can lead yourself in dangerous situations such as drunk driving, and health problems such as organ failure. Symptoms of alcoholism include constant urge or physical craving to drink, state of withdrawal, and little to no control to stop drinking once started. College students are prone to abusing alcohol, easily becoming dependent on it for social purposes. In the first article by Potter, Galbraith, Jensen, Morrison, Heimberg (2016), they convey that students associated with social anxiety are more likely to fall into unhealthy drinking patterns and post-event processing (PEP), which is when people with social anxiety tend to overthink and rate their performances and social interactions. Study shows that PEP after social interactions may increase related to insecure thoughts and low self-esteem 1. To test this theory, eighty-three undergraduates were invited to take part on an online research on “social interactions and urge to use substances.” Participants were required to take a Brief State Anxiety Measure (BSAM) which was a questionnaire. The form gave various statements and on a 4-point scale, participants were to choose a number depending on how well they were able to relate to it. An example of a statement that was given would be, “I feel anxious” and they will choose a number according to how they’re feeling (1= not at all, 4= very so much). After that, they were to complete a self-report on the level of alcohol consumption during the past month. After the all the questionnaires were filled, they moved on to the social interaction task where each participant had to interact with other individuals with a scenario to trigger PEP. The conversation would then pause every 5 minutes, and they would have to complete another BSAM. A data table was used to observe the results and effects of PEP.
As expected, those of higher social anxiety reported a stronger urge to drink after the interactions that manipulated their anxiety. The hypothesis was consistent to their social experiment showed that there is a distinct association between anxiety and substance abuse. In light of this experiment, it encourages us to decrease the risk of future alcoholism by incorporating PEP-oriented skills training into college drinking interventions that may help improve their efficacy 2. In future experiments, study should clarify if certain types of PEP are more damaging to students with higher anxiety. The discoveries were mostly consistent, with the hypothesis that manipulating PEP after a social interaction would enhance the connection between social anxiety and problematic drinking-related factors.
Review of Literature
The use of E-cigarettes is quickly becoming popular amongst young people. Devices such as Juuls are becoming a trend, increasing the likelihood of adolescents transitioning to cigarettes. The main purpose of an E-cigarette is to help chronic smokers quit, and is considered a more “healthy” alternative. In the second article by Barrington-Trimis, Berhane, Unger, Cruz, Urman, Chou, Howland, Wang, Pentz, Gilreath, Huh, Leventhal, Samet, McConnell (2016), report show that in the use of these devices has increased from 1.5% from 2011 to 13.4%, surpassing the use of cigarettes 3. The authors of this article show concern of risk of future nicotine addiction and possible increase in cigarette use in teens. To show the increase of tobacco use, questionnaires were distributed to 11th and 12th grade students then evaluated the association between the use of nicotine devices, family approval, and the possibility of transitioning to future use of cigarettes. In the present study, susceptibility to future cigarette use was assessed using validated measures. Participants were given four different types of response to the questions: (definitely not, probably not, probably yes, and definitely yes). These were the following questions that were asked:
(1) at any time in the next year do you think you will use these products?; (2) do you think in the future you will experiment with these products?; and (3) if one of your best friends were to offer you these products would you use them? For individual questions, adolescents were classified as having no susceptibility to future use if they answered “definitely not,” and were susceptible if they responded “probably not,” “probably yes,” or “definitely yes.” (Barrington-Trimis, J. L., Berhane, K., Unger, J. B., Cruz, T. B., Urman, R., Chou, C. P., . . . McConnell, R. (2016).
As a result of the surveys, 31.8% of past e-cigarette users and 34.6% of current e-cigarette users were found to be more prone to cigarette use, while only 21% of the adolescents who aren’t e-cigarette users are not suspected of future use of cigarettes 4. Family and friend’s approval were also taken into consideration. Individuals with a social environment in favor to e-cigarettes showed more likely to cigarette use. Use of nicotine devices among teens are quickly becoming a normalization, leading to possible unhealthy addictive habits. Because of the limitations of cross-sectional data, the article states that, “it is possible that adolescents who were more susceptible to cigarettes were more likely to use e-cigarettes, rather than that e-cigarette use increased susceptibility to cigarette use.” ( J.L. Barrington-Trimis (2016) 75-80). Future studies should include a study of participants when they reach the legal age of purchasing it 5.
Both these articles help us understand how modern day normalization with drugs and substance can affect our lives. In the first article by Potter, Galbraith, Jensen, Morrison, Heimberg (2016), the authors give us the association between alcoholism and mental health problems. Addiction to substance abuse identifies underlying mental health issues that may come with it, such as depression and anxiety. Someone who is battling these issues are more likely to fall under alcoholism and create an unhealthy environment for themselves both mentally and physically. In the second article by Barrington-Trimis, Berhane, Unger, Cruz, Urman, Chou, Howland, Wang, Pentz, Gilreath, Huh, Leventhal, Samet, McConnell (2016), the authors give us insight on how nicotine addiction is exponentially growing among adolescents. In today’s society, not only is it easy for teens to gain access to these nicotine devices, but also increases the risks of nicotine addiction. These addictions that may already be present in young teens today can eventually manifest into a lifelong detrimental addiction, that is likely to lead to an increase use of cigarettes and an ongoing disease of addiction.
Though there are many other substances and drugs being abused, alcoholism and nicotine addiction remain the most common. Despite the consequences that come with these addictions, people will ignore it in order to cope with stress, withdrawals, and depression. These consequences have a high likelihood to affect how you perform at work, school, social events, and also harm your body. Addictions to alcohol, nicotine, and many other drugs can increase your risk of having heart disease, liver and lung complications, and so on. It is crucial to seek help when going through something traumatic or disheartening to avoid reliance on addictive substances.