Updated: Nov 27, 2020
I think the shame and stigma that surrounds addiction and getting help are the most frustrating and inaccurate factors that should be changed. Many people believe that addiction is a choice, and struggle with empathy to help the individuals suffering. Addiction is not a choice, but an affliction, and people suffering from it need only positive support, not negativity and stigmatization. This only hurts people.
Why do we get addicted?
The correct way to understand and approach addiction starts with understanding the current state of our world. Instances of mental illness (particularly depression and anxiety) are at unprecedented highs. When people struggle with mental illness, many turn to alcohol, drugs, food, and more, just to deal with the circumstances that come with their day-to-day lives. We live in a world where people have never been more susceptible to substance abuse, in an age of separation, social media, comparison, and mental illness. We can change this through familial support, therapy, personal connection, and self-reflection.
People also need to be educated about the dangers of addiction, and warning signs—in both themselves and others. We need to learn to be empathetic toward struggling people rather than stigmatizing. We need to care about our neighbors, friends, and family.
Another important part about the world we live in: substance abuse is romanticized, especially in young people. A common phrase I’ve heard is: “It’s not called alcoholism until you graduate college.” Binge-drinking and doing drugs is celebrated on social media, TV shows, in college, and even in high school. The peer pressure to drink and/or do drugs in college/high school is so strong, and can be the catalyst for addiction at a young age. It’s not fair to our current and future generations to continue this unhealthy romanticization.
With that, substance abuse is particularly stigmatized in older people (anyone old enough to have a career/a spouse/kids, or to seem like they should have a career/a spouse/kids). This is another thing people need to realize—no one is safe from the pressures and dangers of addiction. Addiction can affect anyone—in college, in high school, in your 40s, in your 70s.
The secrecy and hush-hush nature of Alcoholics Anonymous is another thing I think should change. I think anonymity tends to go hand in hand with shame. Making the decision to get help is so brave. Why does it need to be anonymous? Why can’t people celebrate their progress and strides toward self-improvement if they want to?
Empathy and acceptance of addiction
I think the world needs to be more open, and accepting. We need to face the realities that addiction exists, and can affect anyone and everyone—including our loved ones, and including us. If we can open ourselves up, share our struggles, and be empathetic toward one another, the world can be a better place. We can help fix, understand, and change each other with the right frame of mind.
Some examples of addiction with mobile apps, one of the greatest pandemic in this century. There is a few excellent show “dopamine” sharing some insights about app additions: Most of these apps flatter your Ego, center of all addiction from an emotional, physiological perspective, you brain will obey to these stimulation without your consent.
One great help to stay away from addiction is meditation.
And you, what are you struggling with as addict?