A Response To “Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease"

A Response To “Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease"

I'm sorry but science is stacked up against your opinion here, Brianna
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Dear Brianna,

I recently read your article about drug addiction and basically stating how addicts are self-enabling individuals and how they are in no way suffering from a serious disease. I understand your point about “they decided to take that first hit” etc., you’re very much right, but from there on out, their decision to take following “hits” isn't their choice, it's their brain chemistry. I could compare it to cancer like you did but honestly those are two completely different diseases (yes diseases) that literally cannot be compared because of the vast differences of what the disease does to the body. I think the only things that is comparable between the two is that they can both kill you, and they are both diseases.

Let me explain a little more in depth as to what happens inside of an addict's body after they become addicted to a certain type of substance. Drugs affect the “reward circuit” in the brain, basically the brain is swamped with a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This overstimulation of the reward circuit makes the user feel a sense of “euphoria” which leads them to repeat over and over again to obtain this feeling. Once this “high” is stopped cold turkey, the brain and body physically crave it and go into withdrawals.

Once a drug is abused for a period of time the brain adjusts and considers that amount of dopamine being released to be “normal,” so the brain slowly stops releasing some of its own dopamine. This results in the person losing joy and pleasure in things that they used to love, such as food, movies, friends, family, etc., and they do not get this joy back unless they use drugs. The physical and chemical changes inside of the brain itself is what causes the addict to lose self-control, which results in relapses.There are physical changes that occur within a human being when they become addicted, and those changes need to be medically treated in order to successfully have a chance of reverting back to their “normal” state.

You said you personally know addicts and have seen addiction first hand, and from reading your article I can tell you’re angry about the topic. See, coming from a psychological and social worker point of view, I’m not sure if you’re just angry at the said people that you know are addicts and taking it out in written form, or if you have literally never met or experienced an addict and you’re speaking completely out of context. You writing a letter demanding that addicts stop taking the “victim” role is literally never going to stop the opioid epidemic that is currently taking place in this country. Your article is completely opinion-based, as I am sure you know that, but the thing is, science is stacked up against you here. Empirical evidence proves that addiction is indeed a disease. Sorry to burst your little ignorance bubble…

Once again, I completely understand and agree that, yes, that first hit or pill they take is their choice, but it’s a quick spiral out of control from there. It’s a cycle that turns people into versions of themselves that they could have never imagined, and at a certain point it’s not their fault, it’s literally the way they're (re)wired.

This is what makes it so hard to love and constantly care for someone who has an addiction, one day they're fine and the next they're back into their old ways. They have lost their sense of control so they will lie, steal, and beg until they can get what they want, and honestly what they need. No withdrawal is the same, but the longer the individual abuses and how much they take will affect their personal withdrawal process. Though the withdrawal from opiates itself isn't technically life-threatening, the physical and psychological symptoms may have life-threatening consequences. Some of the severe symptoms include (but aren't limited to): vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, drug cravings, and lack of pleasure.

I’m most definitely not making an excuse for addicts to just use more and give up on getting better, I am just trying to inform you about the science and psychology behind addiction that makes it a disease. Education and awareness is important, and I do hope current addicts see these articles and decide enough is enough and seek treatment, but that most likely will not happen. What I do hope is that people, like yourself, realize the extent of this disease, and the long and hard road an addict has to take and choose to get better.

Responding to: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/stop-calling-drug...

Cover Image Credit: http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/files/2013/11/03_EFP_Deathfor50Rupees_04.jpg

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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You Can Still Get Homesick While Having The Time Of Your Life

Not every moment has to be fun and glamorous.

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We often look at college life and study abroad and backpacking trips on other people's Instagrams and see all the fun they're having and all the friends they're making. This is especially the case with study abroad, when these people seem to travel to a new place every weekend and live their absolute best lives. As a result, when we embark on these trips ourselves, there is often a disparity between expectation and reality that can majorly affect you both physically and mentally.

It's important to understand that even if you're meeting new people every day and exploring a new country every week and living out your dreams, there will still be days where you feel like you just want to go home to your group of friends and hangout at the local boba shops or sit with your family at home and just watch TV while fighting over the remote. While you're absorbing all these new and wonderful things around you while abroad, your body will yearn for something familiar, comfortable and secure. And that would be your life at home.

You may feel the need to just stay in your apartment for 2 days straight and binge watch YouTube or call every single one of your friends back home just to catch up. Or you may end up revisiting pictures from the past and salivate over the Korean BBQ trips you took back at home and get intense urges to eat food from home. There's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like this. In fact, a good way to help appease these feelings are to search for the cuisine that you're craving for in your city, and go out of your way to eat it just to get that familiarity back. I have found myself at Asian restaurants and bubble tea shops in Paris more often than I ever was at home, and while others may consider this as a waste of time and that I should be experiencing only French food, it's a really good way to appease those feelings of homesickness. Trust me, the moment you take that first bite of beef noodle soup, you'll feel much, much better.

This isn't to say that you should only stick to the familiar even in a new city. Explore as much as possible and be open to trying new things, but every once in a while, when those feelings of homesickness hit, don't feel bad about buying that boba or starting that 3-hour long video call. After all, you can't have the time of your life if you don't take care of your mental health in the process.

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