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Why is addiction neglected?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is characterized as a chronic need and uncontrollable desire for drugs that continue regardless of harmful ramifications and leaves lasting alteration in the brain. Addiction can be a complex brain disorder as well as a mental illness. Although it is a very serious mental health problem, a lot of the time it is neglected and looked down upon. Especially in modern-day, addicts are associated with being incompetent. This makes it harder to seek help or talk about it to a trusted individual. While the stigma behind mental health issues is yet to be broken down in all aspects of life, addiction is even harder to decipher. 

There are different reasons why people get addicted to certain substances. In order to identify an addiction, it is also important to know the reasons behind it. Genetics, family history of addiction, social pressure, mental problems, etc. can cause addiction. About 20% of Americans who have depression or anxiety also have a substance use disorder and from 1999 to 2017, 399,230 Americans have lost their lives due to opioid overdose. These alarming statistics prove that there are so many different reasons that led people to addiction. Therefore, public education about addiction is necessary, which should include ways to get help as well as prevention. 

There is a concern of proving to be weak, unproductive, and emotionless when a person is addicted to a certain substance. Again, it is hard for a person to accept that they are relying on something that is proving to be harmful. The process of quitting is hard but seeking help is the first step. A big part of why addiction is neglected is the person themself. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that they are getting hooked on something until it is too late. This is dangerous as the notion of being responsible is still in the back of their minds which disagrees with reality. Enables, such as friends and family also play an important role in discovering addiction. Some may ignore it thinking their loved ones are ‘strong enough’, and some may not even know the early signs of addiction. The negligence, in this case, can make relationships harder, which is something addicts deal with very often. 

The social norms suggest the violent nature of addicts, making it shameful for a person to get help. Addiction is associated with a poor upbringing although that is not always the case. In order to mask personal lives, people may reject the idea of getting professional help. According to Dr. Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D., the fears of rejection cause negligence. The notion of “if they know they’ll leave” within an addict leads them deeper down the road of addiction. 

Help is available. Seeking it is the first step towards recovery. And most of the time, this is the hardest step. The good news is that there are incredibly qualified people working to help people with addiction problems. 

Beverly Hodsden, MA, LPS, LCADC, our licenced professional councelor at Sleep and Wellness Medical Associates has dedicated her carrer towards emotional health and addiction. If you have further questions about receiving help or want to schedule an appointment, call our office at (609) 587-9944 or e-mail us at info@sleep-wellness.org.

Anuva Nabiha

Anuva is a Boston University undergraduate studying neuroscience in the premedical track. She believes in the importance of mental health in the healthcare system and wants to focus on overcoming the bias against BIPOC in medical science.