Student response down below:
There are many reasons for a person having an addiction. For decades, the medical community and scientists have tried to find a textbook reasoning for addiction; however, although there are many similar patterns for those who have addictions, not every addict shares the same story and/or situation. Not every addict comes from a troubled childhood, and not every addict has been exposed to trauma. Genetics do play an important role in addiction, those who are born from a person who had an addiction, are sometimes more likely to have an addiction and those who are raised in an environment and exposed to addiction, are sometimes more likely to have an addiction.
However, these two scenarios do not mean there will be addiction. Often times, addiction stems from curiosity, peer pressure, boredom, rebellion, just to name a few. When we do something that brings a pleasurable feeling or sensation, the human brain will tell us to do it again, over and over, to continually seek and retrieve that pleasurable feeling. Can an addict mature and grow out of an addiction? Sure, this is possible, but more rare than common. Most times, once a person has reached the point of addiction, it’s extremely hard to stop the addiction, without professional help. Growing out of an addiction is not like growing out of a pair of jeans because they don’t fit anymore. Most times, once the addiction is there, the person can seek help and recover, but there will always be a part of their brain that reminds them to be careful as they have a higher risk of becoming an addict.
Is addiction a disease? Yes, scientifically speaking it is. Once a person has become addicted to a drug or alcohol, their brain starts to function differently than before. The drugs and alcohol will change the chemicals and cells in the brain. Chemical imbalance within the brain is a disease, a disorder. If you’ve ever tried having a serious conversation with someone while their high on meth, you can clearly see they have a serious chemical imbalance due to the effects of the drug on their brain. Their responses are heightened, their anxious, they have a hard time sitting still, they talk fast, and their thought process does not process as it would, if they were not under the influence of a drug; however, addiction can be cured. When a person recovers from an addiction, they must be careful in the future, knowing they are more susceptible to becoming addicted. A recovering alcoholic will always be a recovering alcoholic and they know to avoid certain situations and triggers so that they are not tempted again.
One current situation that relates to my discussion, is my oldest brother. He’s 53, an alcoholic and homeless. He chose this lifestyle at age 17. He is adopted but we were raised in such a loving home, with such loving and supportive parents; however, we did discover years later, his biological father was a raging alcoholic, genetics played a role in his situation. He can be cured, I took him into my home for nearly a year and he was clean; however, when he went back to a shelter, he got kicked out for fighting and returned to the streets and began drinking heavily and back to his old ways of panhandling and sleeping under the via duct. After two years of trying to take him to various community rehabilitation centers, faith-based programs and other half-way houses, he made it clear he did not want that kind of help. He prefers living on the streets where he can do what he wants and not have any rules to follow. His alcoholism is a disease. He has a choice to recover and be clean but at this point, it will take an inpatient facility setting to do this and if he rejects all offers for this, then there is nothing more we can do. He has been this way for so long, we have accepted that it is what it is.
His addiction is based on genetics as he was not raised with alcohol or any other addictive behaviors and he had a wonderful childhood; this was in his genetics to be like this and although he was warned to stay away from addictive substances, he refused and did them anyway. He has a history of drug use and has been in and out of the jail and prison systems. Since he is 53, he is set in his ways and the longer they are addicted, the harder it is to cure them.
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