Definition of addiction
The term “addiction” is used to determine a brain disorder that is expressed in the occurrence of certain habits that an individual cannot control. In the 20th and 21st centuries, this word has come to be applied to excessive alcohol and drug use. It can be applied to non-drug habits as well. These habits are no less dangerous than various kinds of substance dependence. What are the main reasons of addiction and why has it promoted to the worldwide scale in the 21st century? A thorough analysis of this problem is necessary for understanding its mechanism and finding new ways for fighting it off.
As to the addiction in the modern world, it is determined as a compulsive lifestyle adopted as a substitute for the traditional way of life. The matter is that globalization has triggered the development of the single free market zone. People are no longer attached to their Motherland when it comes to seeking a job. Today millions of workers migrate from country to country, from continent to continent to the most developed zones of the world in order to earn money. Thus, these people are socially dislocated from the communities they got used to living in. They are dislocated from the numerous intimate ties between social groups and their nations.
Such dislocation is very painful for every person in any society. Separated from the spiritual traditions and family ties, these people experience the spiritual hunger. In other words, they have no psychological integration with their native culture. Because of such state of affairs, people develop so-called “substitute” lifestyles. These lifestyles include numerous habits such as alcohol or drug use, various forms of social relations that are not culturally acceptable, stable or close to get more than minimal psychosocial integration. Moreover, various harmful involvements include gambling, search for an ideal partner, political or religious zeal, constant search for food, job, internet surfing, video game playing, and so forth. Broadly speaking, these addictions can cover almost every aspect of human existence – social, spiritual, emotional etc. (Alexander & Shaler 229-230).
People can endure social dislocation for a short time, but prolonged dislocation leads to the occurrence of such negative emotions as emotional anguish, boredom, shame, and hopelessness. Thus, people separated from their communities, more often commit suicides and are subjected to other forms of self-destruction. Such forms of punishment as excommunication, solitary confinement or exile served as the most severe punishment from the pre-historical period until the present.
What causes addictive behavior
The main economic reason that makes people flee their homeland is material poverty. It often accompanies geographic dislocation and leads to the occurrence of depression and addiction. It should be pointed out that poverty could crush the spirit of individuals and their communities. Nevertheless, poverty can also serve as the integrating force that unites the community and helps it overcome the consequences of the problem that have led to poverty. Psychological disintegration is the problem more difficult than poverty. If a psychologically disintegrated person gets shelter, food or the attainment of wealth, he or she will not feel happy. Only a psychological integration is the factor that can make people happy and help them heal their addiction.
Apart from economic factors causing addiction, psychological factors are no less important. People may get addicted to certain disintegrating habits because of a family stress. Psychological and physiological addictions triggered by the negative psychological atmosphere in home usually come out in the form of various eating disorders. Figuratively speaking, human body is considered as a source of evil. People subjected to stress starts starve their body. They get attached to the idea that their body is far from being perfect and try to improve it at any price. The position of the family members towards the problem can also exacerbate it. Sometimes psychologists understand that the core of the addiction to throw the meal is the result of the insulting remarks. Parents may try to improve the body of their offspring by choosing a low-calorie menu. To tell the truth, in such way they want to improve their own bodies and to do what they failed to do in their youth.
The process of addiction starts slowly and innocently. It is hard to imagine anybody who wants to be an addict. The problem is that people do not understand the signs of their body – the changing color of their skin, constant fatigue etc. Being unable to interpret the information of their bodies and critically evaluate it, people start hating their bodies and starve them. The body is no longer seen as the perfect possession people have in their life. It is considered as a source of numerous problems and imperfection.
Family and addiction
The essay An Insatiable Emptiness by Evelyn Lau is dedicated to the problem of the impact of the family environment on the occurrence of eating disorders (in particular to the habit of vomiting food after every taking in). The author describes situations when the mother of the protagonist used such phrases as “It’s because of you we didn’t get enough to eat, that we’re going to bed hungry. Look at the sacrifices we’re making for you.” It was a wrong way to make the girl lose her weight. Thus, the lack of control over the desire to consume healthy and unhealthy food provoked an addiction that can be cured only by the effort of her will (Lau).
In addition, family stress is the main trigger of alcohol or drugs use. There are some reasons causing stress and consequent depression – from the death of the family members to the financial difficulties in the family. If such events occur in one’s life, he or she requires a strong psychological assistance from the side of relatives. Otherwise, the process of psychological recovery will be very difficult.
The realities of American life prove that experiments with drugs or alcohol begin in the teen or even pre-teen age when youngsters have poor knowledge about the possible consequences of such addition. When parents discover such problem, sometimes it is too late because the mechanism of the addiction has already been formed. In general, families with the problems of substance addiction have the higher level of stress. Parental behavior is a bad pattern for their children to follow. Thus, high-stress family environment serves as a risk factor for the early formation of a substance abuse and addiction.
To summarize all the above, the problem of addiction has a complex origin and must be healed with the help of complex diagnostics and therapy. Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid stress in this busy world. Nevertheless, being well-equipped with knowledge about the possible causes of addiction, people will be able to successfully cope with it and save their psyche healthy.
Alexander, B. K. and Shaler S. “Addiction in Free Markets”. Essay Writing for Canadian Students with Readings. 6th ed. Kay L. Steward et al. Toronto: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008.
Lau E. An Insatiable Emptiness. 2006. Print.