Addiction to Drugs, is it a Choice or a Disease?
The drug addicts’ mental states often seem irrational in that, they are powerless over their habits of drug dependency. The victims can only get hope through structured help services. Substance addiction is purely a disease as opposed to the common believe of the habit being a choice to the abusers. The upcoming science describes drug addiction as a brain disease. It exhibits similar genetic transmutability like most of the chronic illnesses around the world today. The brain, an organ mostly affected by this disorder in the human body, experiences an inhibition within its system, motivation and cognition, and all the cells that generate the aberrant, distasteful behaviors that are mostly connected with the addiction. My analysis discusses drug addiction as a disease as opposed to being a choice. For instance; the strong cravings for alcoholic drinks by the addicts is hardly uncontrollable similarly to the hardly uncontrolled cravings for food and water. This paper will examine and analyze drug addiction as a disease based on the addict’s: inability to abstain, behavioral control impairment, reduced ability to recognize effects, emotional response impairment and based on the various experiences from different sources.
To begin with, we ask ourselves, what leads individuals to drug addiction? Susanne, Stein and Myrvang’s study of 25 years that engaged 53 victims shows that curiosity and peer pressure motivated the victims into drugs. They also discovered that individual issues and psychosocial circumstances are the leading causes of addiction (Susanne, et al., 375). In Anne Sexton’s poem “Addict”, addiction is seen to create and promote death alongside sleep, making someone to experience an awkward feeling and lacking emotions of self-worth and appreciation. The addicts at first believe the situations are right for them as they feel that they are in a relaxed and comfortable condition. The aftermath results and conditions make the character in the story to feel suicidal. (Anne Sexton 133) presents this story of a young female addict, the character in the story wants to die by practicing it with little capability of stopping the vice. She has no choice because she is locked in a condition that she cannot have any more control over rather than sticking in and waiting for death. She develops depression; this is depicted when the writer says, she likes the drugs more than she likes herself. The character’s struggles are compared to a war whereby the subject plants a bomb inside (Salvio 144). This is a clear illustration of what addiction leads to, the feeling of unworthiness, depression, death and abnormal love for sleep and need for suicide. Clearly, these are characteristics of a disease because, any rational individual in his right mind would not choose to harm himself; humankind always seeks the best and good for himself. The addiction condition becomes like a cult; it offers the addicts with a strong feeling and desire for substance abuse as opposed to their consent choice.
In the book Heroine by Cheryl Strayed, the writer presents the story of her mother before she succumbed to death due to the disease of drug addiction. The condition not only depresses and stresses the addicts but also those living close to him or her such as relatives, siblings, and dependents. The writer has a bad feeling to the mention of the word heroine. Drug addiction implies a loss of survival hope in someone in that an individual dies fast but not that sudden. A person’s disease is a slow-burning flame of fire that eventually disappears into smoke and finally into the air (Strayed 3). There is usually loss of hope in someone abusing the drug like what happened to her mother, making her continue abusing the substances more with one reason of easing and taking away reality and pain that comes with her disastrous condition. A person using heroin usually experiences a brain response through the activation of the neurons that typically would remain in a dormant state. “She said it would take months for them to calm down” (Strayed 4). Some pains and mental torture come with this making the addict to take the drugs consistently so that he or she can drive out the unusual pain and remain in the “high” state.
In the poem “The Suicide Kid,” the writer narrates to us how horrifying the journey of addiction is. He likens it to a ceremony where he goes to the bars to find his death. He continues to liken it with the tennis ball in which the drugs are always in his mouth. Many addicts around the world believe they head to the bars to get the drug, but actually, they go there to kill themselves. Addictions that come because of drinking are suicidal since they give victims false feelings. Addicts believe addiction is a choice as everything in their enjoyment seems good to extents where the bar patrons end up loving them and cracking some jokes and stories with them. Addiction looks like a choice of enjoyment and luxury until when someone realizes that it is a disease. Enticements are usually there on this journey to the death for instance, free drinks are readily given, and friends help you to die a peaceful death. The author presents that death does not always come running in the instances when one calls it, not even if one calls it from the best bars or the worst ones on the earth. Such impertinence makes the known gods always to delay and hesitate (Bukowski). From the narration of the writer, it’s definite that addiction is a disease since, addicts undergo silent and delayed death by killing themselves slowly through going to bars and offering to each other substance killers out of their control and due to this disease, which captures their brain structure.
According to Susanne, the number of young drug users in Norway who were injecting themselves with drugs was increasing, which led to the emergence of health and social problems amongst them. For instance, there was transmission of viruses among the drug users. In addition, to this injecting of drugs, there were increased death rates. The major challenge also was finding the causes to what could be used in order to prevent the menace (Gjeruldsen et al. 375). According to Jonathan, in America, the politicians and historians mostly blame two events for the mass drug addiction in the country. First, they blame the use of hypodermic syringe, which allows effective and quick way of administering morphine .Secondly they blame the civil war which introduced the Americans into drugs. According to the research done, the syringe was used during the civil war in relieving pain thus led to addiction. Jonathan tries to explain how drugs were used in the war and how at that time the physicians understood addiction (Lewy 103). The government did not see the problem of addiction upcoming within the army since drugs like morphine were used to treat common illnesses such as headache and coughs. Military men and women got into addiction as they struggled with their harsh and frustrating experiences until they could not further work without the drugs. Some addicts confess of acquiring the habit while in civil war such as Horace B. (Lewy 118) yet they could hardly get out of it long after leaving the military.
In conclusion, drug addiction is never a choice but a disease that with the recent advancement in research it can be treated and corrected. It is time for people to stop viewing addiction as neither a disease nor a choice and begin helping those dependent on the drugs. However, the easiest way to fight drug addiction is by instilling motivation within the victims thus enabling them to participate in ending their addictions. Addicts suffer from things which they do not have control over as their brain is mostly interfered with, they are usually left with hope of constant and continual uptake of the drugs to ease the pain, but they eventually kill themselves through these acts.
Bukowski, Charles. “The Suicide Kid.” The suicide kid. N.P., 2017. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.
Gjeruldsen, Susanne, Bjørn Myrvang, and Stein Opjordsmoen. “Risk factors for drug addiction and its outcome. A follow-up study over 25 years.” Nordic journal of psychiatry 57.5 (2003): 373-376.
Salvio, Paula M. Anne Sexton: “The Addict.” SUNY Press, 2012.
Lewy, Jonathan. “The Army Disease: Drug Addiction and the Civil War.” War in History 21.1 (2014): 102-119.
Strayed, Cheryl.”-Cheryl Strayed”.Cherylstrayed.com.N.P. 2017. Web.12 Feb. 2017