Think addiction is NOT a Disease? Read This

Think addiction is NOT a Disease? Read This

In response to the article stating that addiction isn't a disease:
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“From the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything.” -‘Jeremy’ (whose name has been changed)

I'm writing this to clear up the misconceptions that stem from this article. Heroin has become the biggest drug epidemic since cocaine/crack in the 70's on. I would wager that the person who wrote that article, and other who say that, “addiction is not a disease” do not understand the definition of the word disease. According to Webster’s, disease is defined by, “a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms: sickness, malady infectious diseases a rare genetic disease heart disease.” So when you said,

"Let me take you into a cancer ward, then try telling me you also have a disease,"

I can see you might know what the word disease means, but you don't understand it:

Heroine and addiction impair the normal functioning and typically manifests by distinguishing signs and symptoms. Are we clear now? No? Let’s say hypothetically you still disagree with me, well that’s fine. You can argue with the NIH, too. According to the National Institute of Health, “Combined biological, epidemiological, and social science discoveries of the last 3 decades have given us a detailed understanding of the risks, mechanisms, and consequences of drug abuse and addiction.”

Your lack of empathy does NOT change the science nor does it change the facts about addiction. You see, you if you do not see it this way, that’s OK, but just know you’re wrong. Formerly, addiction was considered a moral failing, a lack of will over one’s actions. The mid 70's were the “heyday” of many drugs of abuse, including nicotine, marijuana, and amphetamines. Had these trends continued rather than shift downward over the last decade, we would today see exponentially higher healthcare and education costs, unemployment, and crime. Recent scientific advances have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease and not a moral failure. Now, if you can disprove this with your own studies, facts instead of strong feelings, than I am sure that the NIH would love to rescind their position and stances on the heroin epidemic.

(Image Courtsey by NIDA)

Above is a graphic that shows the brain scans of an addict and a control brain scan on the left. There is visual evidence.

Is addiction a disease? Some people may try to say otherwise, but addiction is in fact. Think about how addiction rewires your brain to prioritize drugs over everything else on Maslows hierarchy of needs. It isn't hard to understand how addiction fits the definition of disease, as ignoring these needs are a symptom of addiction. According to the NIH, Genes account for about 50 percent of a person’s risk of becoming addicted, and environmental factors influence the effect of these genes—an area of research called epigenetics. Progress in genetics/ epigenetics research will lead to more refined prevention and treatment interventions targeted to individual risk or to modifiable environmental influences.

When you say, addiction is a form of someone seeking pity, it really showcases your lack of empathy for other humans. The external signs of hard drug abuse stem from various medical conditions leading to drug abuse an addiction, more often than not we are treating the symptoms of drug abuse, instead of the actual problem. The underlying mental health issues are something we need to examine, and help people instead of casting judgement. So we should all work together to help fight against heroin and the adverse effects instead of trying to call out people on their “pity party.”

Beyond helping victims of addiction, we can also begin to hold pharmaceutical companies producing drugs that segue into drug abuse accountable. (and also the drug dealers selling the heroin). Which Prescription Drugs Are Commonly Abused? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of prescription drugs that are often abused include: Opioids used to treat pain Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin), used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders stimulants, such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall) or methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin) used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). Note that the trends in mental illness and addiction have a direct correlation and the drugs being prescribed for the mental illnesses that go along with addiction are the same drugs being abused and calling drug abuse in the first place. Once a person’s prescription for pain medication (which can take years) ends then they still have the addiction in place, it is logical to assume they’ll go looking for the next best thing. The progress is moving forward with Ohio suing big pharmaceutical companies for once and holding them accountable, "We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans — our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids — addicted to opioid pain medications,” Attorney General Mike DeWine declared. “These drug manufacturers knew what they were doing was wrong, but they continued to do it anyway.”

How can we help these people? Try empathy. Try reaching out to your friends. Just be a good human. You won’t be able to save everyone, and the person/people you’re trying to help might not want it, and will reject your offers for help. You have to be a strong person to deal with that, and frankly, I’ve seen firsthand how addiction and hard drugs can tear a family apart.-it is not pretty. When you’re dealing with some who is struggling with addiction you must keep in mind that their brain is currently wired differently than yours. You must understand the underlying psychological issues that are behind the drug abuse too. It’s so much easier to say, “Stop trying to get me to pity you,” because that requires less work than actually taking the time to care. If you don’t believe that drug addiction is a disease, than that’s on you for not taking the time to research it. The sooner more people educate themselves on addiction and caring for those with the disease then we can really start helping people and saving lives, because this is people’s lives we are dealing with, not just news articles or stories. I challenge you to be open minded instead of buying into the counter culture- and get educated, be empathetic, and know the facts before you pass judgement on someone who you do not understand.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay free images

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Doing Drugs Isn't Cool, Period

This so-called "cool" epidemic needs to stop, especially in the college atmosphere.

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Adderall, Ritalin, LSD, Ecstasy, Xanax, Valium, Alcohol; the list can go on and on. The point is, they all can be addictive and they all are promoted in college. No matter what university you attend, you will likely come across someone using at least one of these or overhearing a conversation about them.

For you frat party-goers, you are blind. You are risking yourself to eventually use at least one addictive drug. You may think that you'll never get into drugs, but that's what they all say when they're presenting their story to a crowd of millennials while being handcuffed to a chair.

Be honest with yourself.

If you're questioning if something is safe or not, most of the time, it's not. Studies have shown that college students involved in sororities, fraternities, and athletic organizations are at higher risk of abusing dangerous substances. That doesn't mean don't join these clubs, but it's more of a warning to what could happen if you aren't making smart decisions.

It has been reported that 80% of U.S. college students have abused alcohol.

Your weekly Thursday Instagram post captioned "Thirsty Thursday" while holding a White Claw isn't cool. Please ditch the trend of taking pictures in front of a tapestry in the basement of a frat house. I hate to break it to you, but it really doesn't go with your feed, Brittany. Just because it is Thursday, doesn't mean it's an excuse to feed your alcohol addiction and whatever else you may be doing at frat parties.

Attending weekly parties held by frats is increasing your risk of using addictive substances. Picture this: you had a really tough day of classes on Thursday. Your "Thirsty Thursday girls club" group chat just texted you and said they are going to multiple frat parties tonight. They plan on pre-gaming in your dorm room then walking to the frat party nearby.

If that party is lame, they plan on walking to another one down the street. You immediately express how tough your day was and that you're excited for the later hours of the night. You plan your best outfit, do your makeup and hair, and they come over.

You're having fun during the pre-game, so you invite some more people. You now have close to 10 people in your 130-square-foot dorm room. Someone reported a noise complaint to your RA. Your RA knocks on the door and you scatter to hide all the alcohol and be quiet. They say to keep the noise down because someone made a complaint.

After that, it's time to head out.

You're walking, or shall I say stumbling, to the first party. You get stopped by campus police and they write everyone a ticket for being intoxicated in public and underage drinking. You brush it off and still go to the party. You get blacked out drunk and there's a group of guys pestering you to try LSD. They explained it to be "another world".

You buy a single pill and try it. You convince your friends to try it and you all love the feeling of "tripping". You buy more and take it back to your dorm with you.

As you're walking to your dorm, you collapse. A cop happens to ride by and see you on the ground, and they take you to the hospital. You wake up having no idea where you are and your parents standing next to you. You are presented with multiple tickets and now you're being interrogated so the police can figure out who has possession of the drugs.

Approximately 110,000 students between ages 18 and 24 are arrested every year for an alcohol-related violation, such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.

Yes, that may seem extreme, but doing drugs because someone convinced you to is not cool! It can lead to addiction, legal issues, hospitalization, and even death. Don't make decisions based on people's ability to convince you. Although that was a made up story, it happens in real life!

If you're prescribed Adderall for ADHD purposes, use it wisely. Don't tell people you have a prescription. Don't sell it.

My point is, be smart and don't do drugs to seem cool to others or to fit in with the crowd.

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