Why is Everyone an Addict?
Written by: by Stephanie Schaefer
From: Palmela, Portugal
Edited by: Angelina Burkhardt
Addiction is a problem that has been significantly affecting our day-to-day lives for centuries, and unlike other problems the world faces, addiction is extremely hard to stop. Some of the most common causes of addiction are history of trauma, chronic stress, and mental illness. Although when presented with the word “addiction,” people automatically turn to drugs, addiction spreads its roots far deeper than that. Addiction to phones, video games, and sex are more common than you might think. Additionally, addiction is not a controllable offense, it’s biological. It all comes down to certain chemicals that are more present in some people’s brains, allowing them to be more susceptible to abusing different stimulants.
Even though addiction presents itself as a very complex subject, once we take a look at it, at the molecular level, it is quite simple. Once a person has begun overusing a substance, the brain receptors become dependent on the substance for a dopamine rush. Thus, the brain in its normal state produces less dopamine, which leads to the person needing the drug, phone, or partner to feel a rush of happiness. Not only is the mood of the person affected by severe addiction, but also their ability to control their bodies. The part of the brain that controls balance, movement, and coordination is called the cerebellum. This part of the brain is severely affected by addiction, due to its need for dopamine.
The main issue we, as a society, are facing, is recognizing how widespread addiction actually is. To be completely honest, you’re probably addicted to something. Although the severity varies for everyone, realizing there is a problem is the hardest part of stopping an addictive behavior. Every action you take, every substance you take, will lead to a reaction in your body. Let’s take this example, say you’re laying in bed for hours staring at your phone, scrolling for hundreds of minutes, thousands of seconds, and you finally stand up. Your head begins to spin, and you start to feel dizzy. That is your body speaking to you. Your body is telling you to take a break, take a walk, take in some fresh air.
The first step to recognize what you’re reliant on is the heaviest and hardest step of stopping an addiction. Think for yourself, what are you addicted to? To begin your journey of getting clean, you need to first figure out how severe your addiction has gotten. To do this you can test yourself and see how long you can go without the substance. Next, create a plan to reduce your usage. Cutting it all out at once would cause extreme consequences due to the body’s genuine need for the substance to function. Instead of spending hours staring at your phone screen, go out for a run. Instead of spending hours consuming drugs, focus your time and energy on learning something new, such as a new language. This is much easier said than done, but with the right amount of discipline and support, overcoming addiction allows you to be in control of your own wellbeing.
To conclude, addiction reaches far beyond a choice. Many people have been born with the chemical composition of a person that is susceptible to abusing different substances. Furthermore, addiction doesn’t only apply to drugs and alcohol, it is anything that a person overuses to stimulate a dopamine rush in their body. We, as a society, need to stop turning a blind eye to our own addictions; we need to recognize the problem and find a solution. Because at the end of the day, do you want to be an addict?