Addiction is a very big subject in the world right now, and has become a popular topic on social media all over again following Demi Lovato’s recent overdose. I’ve seen addiction with my own eyes for, well, pretty much my whole life. It’s a subject I tend to be very passionate about because I know so many who have struggled with it.
Addiction doesn’t always make someone a “junkie”. Many people have addictive personalities and in reality, anyone can be addicted to anything. Most people automatically think of hard drugs like heroin and meth when they hear or see the word “addiction” and that’s a problem.
According to many sources, addiction is a disease. It’s a disease of the brain just like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. With drug addiction, there are certain properties that can basically rewire a person’s brain. It can take just one pain pill for someone to become an addict. Remember the commercials that said, “Not even once”?
Drug addicts are demonized and certainly shouldn’t be. People can be addicted to food, gambling, sex, TV, video games, social media, the list goes on and on. The only difference is that drug addicts have physical withdrawals that can make it nearly impossible to give up drugs. I’ve seen addicts who have desperately wanted to quit and had trouble because of the things they experienced while in withdrawal. Depending on the person and also the drug use, withdrawal can last longer than a week and can be extremely painful; it can also cause some people to see and hear things that aren’t really there.
I’m personally a caffeine and nicotine addict. I’ve successfully left nicotine alone for about a year despite my many cravings for it (yay!) and I’ve tried dropping caffeine many times and still can’t manage to because I get terrible migraines. People don’t typically look at me when I’m drinking coffee or soda or using tobacco and think “addict!” because those things, although they have addictive qualities, are perfectly legal. But if people are dependent on pain pills, they’re a “junkie”.
I keep seeing people argue that because addiction starts with a choice that it isn’t a disease. Several diseases are 100% preventable and people make decisions that lead to them getting them anyway. Lung, mouth, and throat cancer can all be caused by tobacco use, but when someone gets cancer from smoking cigarettes, we don’t tell them that their cancer isn’t a disease, because that wouldn’t make sense. It certainly still is. Type II Diabetes is usually developed because of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. But we don’t tell diabetics that it’s not a disease, because again, it most certainly still is. Alcohol can lead to many different liver diseases, which again, are all still classified as diseases despite the fact that drinking alcohol is a choice. STDs are easily spread through unprotected sex, which a LOT of people have. They’re sexually transmitted diseases. That is usually spread because of a choice that those people made. So, saying that addiction isn’t a disease because it started with a choice is actually illogical.
Babies are born addicted to drugs daily, as unfortunate as that is. There are some messed up people in the world that give their young children drugs. Elderly people and adolescents both are prescribed pain pills quite often. Think of how unfair it would be if your parents were to blame for your addiction but everyone put the blame all on you, not knowing your story at all (thankfully, a lot of kids are removed from these situations and helped before they’re left to deal with it all alone). Think of how unfair it would be to be judged for becoming addicted to a pain medication you really needed.
Yes, there are some people that choose to just go for the hard stuff, knowing the risks, and not caring, not trying to quit, stealing from their families and friends. I know one of these people. I’ve been stolen from. But I know even more people who are very good. People that don’t want to live their lives as an addict, people that just need love and support. Why are these two completely different types of people always grouped together? Why can we not just love and support one another and attempt to help others? Why must we continue to demonize all drug addicts? All that does is makes it easier for them to give up, harder for them to fight off something they really want to fight off. Drug addicts are people just like everyone else. They should be treated as such. Never let someone take advantage of you or make you uncomfortable, but also don’t hate all addicts because of what a select few do. Don’t talk down on all of them when you don’t even know their situations.
Love each other. Spread positivity. Support one another.
Stop fueling hate. Don’t put down on others. If you want to be hateful, keep to yourself.
It’s perfectly fine to have a different opinion, but you do not have to judge others so harshly. Weren’t we all taught to treat others as we’d like to be treated? Would you like someone to be hateful and rude to you during a tough spot in your life? Be nice!
Also, I would like to add, if you’ve ever touched an addictive substance if you’ve ever made choices that can cause a disease, keep your hypocritical opinions to yourself. Please. I love an addict that has successfully fought his addictions for quite some time now. He never would have done it without the love and support he was given.