Drugs and Addiction
As of today’s, there are many misconceptions about the essence of the addiction. The first definition that comes in search is ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.’ However, it is wrong. So far, science and philosophy haven’t achieved a rigid definition of the essence of addiction, and so we can’t judge the addiction rationally, as we don’t even know what addiction is. In this essay, I will look at various aspects of addiction, which can be used to define the phenomenon.
Firstly, to find the definition of addiction, we need to define a drug. The most obvious definition will be ‘a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body’, however that is not the full definition. People can get addicted to anything, that allows them to get satisfaction in a quicker way than just simply existing. That makes TV, social media or even food a drug. So, for now, we will assume that drug is anything, that allows a person to get satisfaction in a quick way.
Following from that, no one can develop addiction overnight. It is a process which might take from several days to decades, depending on the nature of the drug. People have different reasons to consume drugs, such as the feeling of satisfaction or pain reduction. Some of them, are less prone to addiction than others. Upon engaging in the addictive behaviour, the less prone people tend to try and fulfil their need for the enjoyment from the drug, and then repeat the process. For example, a person might want to use social media in order to get satisfaction throughout the day, and that continues forever. However, as the behaviour gets extreme, a person might lose control over the drug intake, becoming addicted to it, which can be seen with excessive social media use
The other aspect of the addiction is a preoccupation with the drug. The preoccupation can be thought of as excessive thoughts about performing an addictive behaviour. The severity of preoccupation also ranges from a drug to drug, where people who are addicted to social media might be preoccupied to use it throughout the day. On the other hand, people who have an addiction to hard drugs like heroin might experience a craving for another dose, straight after the end of the effect of the drug.
The most important aspect of addiction is satiation. It can be defined as the short period of the effect of the drug, in which urges are not operative, craving for the drug is not there. During that period people might forget about their problems and pain completely. That aspect is not well studied, however, it is one of the main reasons people start to take drugs in the first place. People, who get addicted might start to lose the incentive value of other non-addictive behaviours, as they don’t allow them to reach the level of satiation the addictive behaviour does. That can be seen with alcohol. People stop feeling satisfaction from consumption of normal drinks, as they don’t allow for the same level of satiation as alcohol does.
The last part of addiction is the loss of control. As the organism adapts to the drug after a certain period, it is vital for it to get the chemical, which otherwise will cause a major response in the organism. People who are addicted might lose control over their intake of the drug, as their organism requires it. That is the reason for the craving for the drug. Even though many drugs carry negative consequences after use, such as withdrawal syndrome, addicted people still find it necessary to consume, and many cannot control their addictive behaviour and crave for more.
Overall, addiction is not a very well-studied phenomenon due to social stigma around the topic. Any evaluation of the topic might be subjective to each person, due to the complexity of human behaviour. The 4 parts of the addiction analysed in this article allow us to understand that addiction is a phenomenon which is personal to everyone, and each individual case has a different significance of each of the factors. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this essay, is that addiction needs to be treated differently with every individual person, as it is something that every person can experience throughout their lives, due to the varying nature of the drug.
Sussman, S. and Sussman, A. (2011). Considering the Definition of Addiction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(10), pp.4025-4038.