We live in a culture where more is always better. We’re never truly satisfied with the little we do have, whether it’s the food we eat or the materialistic culture that surrounds our everyday life — we always want more. It’s starting to seem like we’re a culture with an addiction problem. We’re addicted to the screens we check from the moment we wake up. We’re addicted to sugar and junk food. We’re addicted to prescription pills, caffeine, gambling, sex, alcohol, the internet, and the list can go on forever.
Are we really just a nation of addicts? Does America need a detox?
Every morning, it’s the same routine, we wake up and immediately turn to coffee to start our day. Some people drive to Starbucks to get their daily dose of the caffeine we’ve become addicted to. Let’s be honest, we’re addicts. Recent Harvard studies show that about 54% of the population over 18, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees, and the average cups per day is about 3.1 per person. That’s an ungodly amount of coffee, not to mention our nation spends close to $40 billion on coffee alone. Do we really need that extra boost throughout our day or have we just become addicts to the dark liquid gold that drives our nation?
However, coffee isn’t the only thing our nation has become addicted to. Our nation is having a legal drug prescription pandemic that no one is mentioning. More people are dying from legal prescription pills than car accidents every year. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), “more than 6.5 million people above the age of 11 used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in 2013. That’s more than cocaine (1.5 million), hallucinogens (1.3 million) and heroin (681,000) combined.”
These are problems that arise throughout our own community. At one point, I became addicted to Hydro-Codeine. After my knee surgery back in 2011, I was prescribed pain pills, but I quickly realized how addicting the pills really were. Watching documentaries like Prescription Thugs really put things into perspective how the pharmaceutical companies manufacture prescription pills so that the person taking them becomes addicted. If that person don’t become addicted, one of their symptom leads to another symptom, and the next thing they know, they’re taking multiple prescriptions. Big Pharma isn’t in it to create cures for illnesses, they’re in it for the money. It’s disgusting. According to the CDC, since 2011, 6.4 million kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. Now, the problem with that is that some kids merely have a learning disability which needs to be treated accordingly, but instead kids are pushed towards medication such as Adderall and Vyvanse, as explained in an article by Scientific American. The medication works and it helps keep kids focused and keeps their impulses controlled, but it’s the side effects that typically weaken the child, but the problem doesn’t stop there. These kids “diagnosed” with ADHD go on to think that they need this prescription their whole lives in order to survive in society. At the end, the pharmaceutical companies end up winning because they just created another addict.
But how do we combat this addiction problem?
Or how do come to realization that we have an addiction?
The answer isn’t simple. It takes a lot for a person to actually state they have a problem, let alone seek help. When I became addicted to prescription pills I knew I needed to stop and it took everything inside of me to discontinue the pills, even if it meant feeling a little pain. It wasn’t the wisest decisions to discontinue the usage going cold turkey. My body craved the opiates, and eventually I started having withdrawals. At the time, I was mentally stable, which made the fight a lot easier, but not everyone has the same success.
The most important thing anyone can do is look in the mirror and ask themselves “do I have a problem?” From there, you can analyze whether or not your addiction is causing harm to you or anyone else. The only person on this planet that can make that decision of whether or not you have an addiction is you.
We’re not perfect. We’re human beings, and human beings fuck up too.
If you have an addiction seek help, don’t be afraid to reach out to people, and let them know what your concerns are. Addiction isn’t something you have to fight alone.
Although we are a nation of addicts who constantly crave more, there are ways we can all combat this problem together. The first step is to personally become aware of the problem, and then find ways to eradicate the addiction. Don’t become another statistic, seek help.