The Addictive Nature of American Culture

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The vast addiction crisis across America ranks amongst some of the greatest epidemics today. Millions have fallen victim to drug and painkiller abuse, eating disorders, alcoholism, gaming addiction, apart from a host of other forms of addiction that are constantly on the rise. In the 21st century, the realm of addiction has spurred an alarming rise in deaths and families breaking up, triggered by the rising prevalence of injurious and toxic addictions.

With addiction becoming a defining element of the American culture, it’s given birth to burgeoning businesses that are involved in fields researching plausible options for medical support, and many others working on providing rehabilitation to the victims. While drug abuse victims seek the help of therapists, those charged with drink-driving resort to employing a drink driving lawyer in an attempt to understand the repercussions of their actions.

The complexity that’s tied to addiction is often misunderstood. It’s a devastating condition that constantly works on changing the functioning of the brain. Oftentimes fatal, it works against the self-control of a first-time user to seek more of the addictive substance until it gradually becomes, and frighteningly so, involuntary.

Drug abuse disrupts the normal functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain, a vital chemical used by the brain to regulate the body’s breathing, its heartbeat and digestion. It also works on the brain’s natural production of dopamine by inducing lesser production than required. With constant usage, the drug user’s increased tolerance gives way to drugs containing higher doses of toxic substances. Over a longer period of time, the drug impacts the user’s memory, critical thinking and self-control. Marijuana addiction can trigger insomnia and psychological disorders, however most people aren’t convinced that the addiction exists.

Although the abuse of illegal drugs made headlines over the past couple of decades, an increasing number of people are inclining towards prescription drugs lately, researchers remarked. These drugs are most often those that are prescribed for pain, sleep, anxiety and other ailments. Despite the drugs being legalized, there is still room for it to be abused. Overdose of prescription drugs can intoxicate the user, and even lead to death.

The highest number of addicts were found to be those that relied on alcohol, with reports pitching nearly one in eight Americans an alcohol addict. Studies found that alcoholism rose by over 49 percent over the early 2000’s. Researchers note that the serious public health crisis can give rise to a series of fatal disorders that includes liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases and various forms of cancer. The United States’ public health protection agency estimates that over 88,000 people die every year due to alcohol consumption.

A worrying trend observed by regulators is the shocking rise of drunk driving. Statistics highlight that alcohol impaired driving kills almost 29 people every day in the United States. Drunk driving contributes to about one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to data published by government agencies. Researchers observed that the rising usage of alcohol could be largely attributed to stress and despair, and users consume alcohol to cope with their issues.

At an economic level, the researchers highlighted that if the national agencies did not act with more austere measures to curtail these problems, it could haunt the country with much bigger problems – be it higher emergency requirements, years of healthcare for impaired children or higher costs across prisons.

With rising concerns about health, Americans are also battling eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. With many of these disorders classified as an abnormal attitude towards consuming food, it can be disastrous for the victim and their family. Oftentimes, people suffering from bulimia experienced a shift in their moods, increased anxiety and disturbed sleep. Studies revealed that people with bulimia experienced symptoms similar to that of drug or alcohol addiction, including dopamine abnormalities. Anorexics have an inclination to under-eat or stay unhealthily thin, which can hamper their growth and lead to long-term consequences which includes fragile skeletal systems, shrinking of the brain and heart failure.

The disorder can have a cascading effect on the victim’s relationships, especially with their close family. People close to the victim might perceive it to be unfathomable to want to self-destruct through food, or even embrace an unhealthy lifestyle.

Among the many addictions that’s prevalent in today’s society, gaming addiction is a worrying trend that’s taking a toll on teenagers. With many relying on socialising over the internet, the virtual space has overtaken reality. It can eventually lead to a negative lifestyle, which can result in them neglecting personal hygiene and other basic responsibilities.

The above forms of addiction only provide a gist of what addiction has become today. In a world constantly plagued by social media, access to drugs and alcohol, many find it incredibly hard to abstain from their addictions. Professional therapy and medical support can juggle a variety of options to overcome the addictions. People may also consider seeking counselling, alternative therapies and cognitive behaviour support.


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