Drug abuse is a major challenge in the contemporary world because it leads to grave social and economic consequences (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). According to research findings, the United States of America has the highest percentage of drug abuse globally (Warner, 2008). Drug abuse mainly begins during teenage (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). The first part of this essay discusses social and cultural determinants of substance abuse. The second part focuses on the dynamics of addiction.
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Social and Cultural Determinants of Drug Abuse
Most cases of drug abuse are linked to the social context in which an individual lives. Peer influence is one of the social factors that lead to substance abuse. Peer influence mainly affects teenagers because they undergo psychological challenges (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). For instance, many teens cannot make rational decisions because they lack mental maturity. Consequently, they can be influenced to abuse drugs.
Lack of cultural ethics contributes to drug abuse. For example, in the US, many people abuse drugs due to the absence of stringent cultural norms (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). Lack of proper parental guidance also encourages children to abuse drugs. For instance, in some families parents smoke and drink in the presence of their children. Furthermore, some parents share drugs with their children.
Widespread Use of Drugs
The following factors contribute to the prevalence of drug abuse in the society. First, easy access to drugs encourages many people to misuse them (Rassool, 2008). For instance, many people smoke and drink in the US because alcohol and cigarettes are sold near learning institutions and in residential areas. Second, lack of proper enforcement of drug laws encourages drug abuse (Rassool, 2008). Third, social and cultural challenges, such as peer influence and poor parental guidance leads to increase in substance abuse.
Impacts of Substance Abuse
The following are some of the consequences of substance abuse. Drug abuse affects the financial status of an individual directly (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). Substance abuse leads to addiction, which makes a person to crave for drugs.
A drug addict is compelled to spend many resources in buying drugs. Over expenditure on drugs directly affects the financial status of a person. Drug abuse also leads to indirect financial costs. In the US, drug abuse leads to wastage of billions of dollars annually because it increases the demand for healthcare (Warner, 2008). It also leads to damages, poor productivity and increase in crime (Rassool, 2008).
Substance abuse leads to physical and psychological side effects. For example, an individual who misuses cocaine and marijuana is susceptible to psychological disorders because these drugs impair the brain (Nakken, 2009). Consequently, a drug addict can easily cause an accident. Many cases of suicide and homicide are linked to drug abuse. For example, majority of people who misuse guns in the US are drug addicts (Rassool, 2008). Moreover, drug addicts find it difficult to socialize with people because they have emotional challenges.
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Dynamics of Addiction
Drug addiction refers to a person who is dependent on drugs (Kuhar & Wrobel, 2010). Addiction denies addicts natural comfort; hence, they experience extreme discomfort in the absence of drugs. Drug addiction is an intricate challenge because it affects people differently. The following are the main dynamics of drug addiction.
Denial refers to the failure of a person to accept truth. Drug addiction can lead to a serious perversion of acuity (Nakken, 2009). Majority of drug addicts usually deny their social, economic and health status. For instance, a person who breaks the law due to drug abuse may fail to admit his mistake because he cannot make proper decisions. Indeed, many drug addicts often fail to accept that they have a serious mental and physical illness.
Regression refers to moving back to a previous phase of human growth during difficult moments. For instance, a teenager who is devastated with challenges of drug abuse may demonstrate previous infancy behaviors (Nakken, 2009). A grown-up can regress when seriously stressed by drug addiction.
Reaction formation refers to altering undesired thoughts, judgments and impulses into a desired behavior. For example, a drug addict who is thinking of stopping substance abuse may be extremely motivated to continue using drugs. A drug addict is unable to express negative feelings of annoyance and disappointment with his addiction (Nakken, 2009).
Fantasy refers to the inability of a person to accept his social status. For instance, individuals who have lost all their wealth because of drug addiction cannot easily come to terms with their condition because they have psychological problems.
Rationalization is a common behavior among drug addicts. It refers to a situation in which drug addicts try to justify drug abuse. Additionally, they blame others for their problems and mistakes.
This essay has revealed that substance abuse is a serious problem that has pervaded the American society and other parts of the world. It has also pointed out the consequences of substance abuse in the society. Therefore, various measures should be adopted to curb substance abuse.
Kuhar, M., & Wrobel, S. (2010). The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine. London: SAGE.
Nakken, C. (2009). The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior. London: Palgrave.
Rassool, H. (2008). Alcohol and Drug Misuse: A Handbook for Students and Health Professionals. London: Routledge.
Warner, J. (2008). U.S. Leads the World in Illegal Drug Use.