When many people think of addiction dependences on alcohol or drugs often come to mind. There are a vast number of other activities however, that can be just as addicting if abused. Here in America, we are taught at early ages to steer clear of drugs and alcohol due to their addictive nature. At home, our parents admonish us about the dangers of drugs and drinking and we are enrolled in D.A.R.E programs while in school. Furthermore we are reminded to “stay above the influence” while watching television as anti-drug and alcohol campaigns air in between our favorite shows. Parents, teachers, and Uncle Sam instill in us the terrifying ramifications of becoming dependent on such substances and make it clear that addiction is nothing to play with. While all of these practices are very beneficial, it is also just as important to note that addiction branches out much further than just drugs and alcohol. By definition, "addiction is the habitual compulsion to use a substance, or to engage in an activity without much regard for its detrimental effects on a person's physical, mental, financial, social, and spiritual well-being." As easy as it is to misuse and become dependent on drugs and alcohol, a person can just as easily do the same with things such as sex, video games, shopping, and etc. It is important to remember not to over indulge in anything because as the old saying goes, sometimes even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Millions of people across the globe, from various backgrounds and walks of life suffer from one or more addictions of some sort. America alone serves as a prime example of the many different substances and activities that can easily become addicting. In a convenience centered culture where there is ubiquitous access to a multitude of pleasurable outlets, there is no wonder that addiction is as prevalent as it is. A list compiled by Masters in Public Health states that the ten most common addictions plaguing health in America today are media, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, food, gambling, prescription drugs, bulimia, cocaine, and hallucinogens. Other prevalent addictions rampant in America are excessive engagement in activities such as watching pornography, video gaming, exercising, shopping, and etc. With such a large array of activities that can be considered addictive, it is very difficult to find an accurate count of the amount of people suffering from a form of addiction. Likewise, many of these people do not find their engagement in said activities as addictive. When it comes to alcohol and illicit drugs, however, according to a 2010 National Survey of Drug Use and Health there is "an estimated 22.1 million persons aged 12 or older [who] were classified with substance dependence in the past year." Add this number to the millions of unreported and unknown accounts of addiction and you have a general idea of the many people in our nation alone suffering from addiction.
As this number continues to grow with each passing year, it is becoming increasingly evident that addiction is a problem that spans across all ethnic groups, races, social class, and etc. Likewise, addiction is a problem that has adverse effects on more than just the person partaking in the abuse. The calamities of drug abuse extend to the families of the users, their friends, their communities, and etc. This is the very reason that I find interest in this topic. I would like to gather as much information on the subject as possible in order to help those who suffer from addiction to overcome their dependence and become productive members of society. America is already such a great country, imagine how much greater it could be without such a large portion of its citizens suffering from addiction. In order to one day do this; I know that I will need to have a thorough understanding of addiction about everything from the risk factors to the symptoms and more.
The first step to fixing a