Someindividuals have the ability to use drugs that have been prescribedand other drugs for recreational purposes without having anexperience of detrimental outcomes or addiction. Nevertheless, thelarger percentage of people who try to use drugs due to personalproblems end up with more critical consequences than the ones theywere trying to tackle (Weinberg, 2012). In fact, when one resorts tosubstance abuse as a mechanism of dealing with life problems, hemakes the current predicaments even much worse and is likely to causethe development of other problems. This situation only leaves thevictim with a feeling of isolation, being helpless and ashamed. It isadvisable that when one gets worried about the friends and familymembers drug use, the only important step is taking action andoffering any possible help. People try drugs for reasons best knownto them. Several of them resort to drugs due to curiosity, to enjoythe good times, peer pressure, to deal with other problems or to gainenergy to perform particular tasks or take part in competitions.Consumption of the drugs does not spontaneously lead to abuse.Furthermore, there is no one particular point that one can say thatdrug use has moved from casual to problematic. Drug addiction is notall about the amount of the drug consumed or the frequency ofconsumption. Addiction is more based on the reasons that make peopleturn to drugs and the consequences of drug use. Addiction can bedescribed as an act of repeatedly being involved with substance. Theinvolvement is maintained despite the substantial effects that thesubstance may be causing. Drug addiction has led to many experiencesin the general spheres of life that are worth discussing.
Ata tender age of ten, John had already started using drugs. Thisaspect did not surprise many since his parents were addicts. However,it is his father that dragged him into the practice. One could notdistinguish his father from teenagers. Their relationship was more ofpeers than that of a parent and his son. John described to me how hisfather gave him pills for the very first time. They used to live inthe same apartment, and as time went by, he repeatedly started usinga bunch of pills, he could smoke weed whenever he wanted and couldalso take alcohol since it was readily available. However, John wasmore into pills than any other drug. He could consume Percocet and attimes a lot of downers and Vicodin.
Hestarted experiencing depression due to continuous physical and verbalharassment. This condition made the situation even much worse as heresorted to drugs to deal with the situation. He started abusinghimself too by using drugs as he felt unworthy and anxious. Hisbehavior sporadically changed. He became the best example of atypical juvenile drug addict. John could steal, sneak out late in thenight and he did not suffer any consequences like punishments sincehis father was ever drunk all the hours he was indoors. His fathercould not notice any of his moves, and even when he suspectedsomething fishy in John’s behavior, he just ignored it.
Atage 15, they were sharing the same house with their dad and theiryoungest brother. However, the police were contacted, and theyintervened by moving him to their mother`s place. The mother wasequally abusive. His mother consumed drugs like cocaine, meth, andecstasy. These drugs became part and parcel of John’s life for thethree years that he lived with his mom. They were his most preferreddrugs. However, after three years, he ran away from Colorado where hewas living with his mother. He has no memories of what conspired. Hejust found himself in a ditch downtown, and he never thought of goingback home. At this point, he could not access his drugs of choice andwas ready to use anything that he found. Luckily, he came intocontact with his father’s friend whom they used to get drunktogether.
Johngoes ahead to describe how he got addicted to heroin. He says thatafter using it, he felt like he was on the top of the world. He usedto experience a hilarious rush. Afterward, his mind slowed down andget fuzzy. He would then feel like he was sinking the earth surface.He used to lose his consciousness and could not tell whether he wasasleep or awake. Time moved so quickly, and he became hooked on thedrug. He could not get by without a dose of heroin. He could notstay for long without a fix and could not even describe the situationhe was facing. Without it, he felt like he was dying in every awfulway that one could ever imagine happening ones. He felt pain runningdown every bone, he felt like throwing up, had chills and hissleeping patterns became irregular. It was during this period that hewas busted by law enforcers and served a short jail term. He gotbusted the second time and this time the judge suggested that he beput in a rehabilitation program. John was infuriated by this move.All he wanted was a fix. When he was released, he thought ofcontrolling himself so as to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, onecannot control his behavior once he is addicted to drugs. All thatone wants is more drugs and can do anything so as to get high.
Henarrates how he once got himself in the hospital after an overdose. This happening was an eye-opener. It showed him how he did not havecontrol over his drug abuse. He realized that the condition wasgetting out of hand and if he does not come up with measures to dealwith the situation, he will die.
Applicationof the Theory Concept
Thisexperience clearly depicts the ideas discussed in the learning theoryof addiction. The theory asserts that any form of dependency is notinnate but rather is learned from the surrounding (Palmer et al.,2016). John learns to use drugs from the parents. Individuals thatconsistently involve themselves in addictive actions learn fromothers. There are three fundamental types of learning. The first formis classical conditioning. In this case, individuals fall intoaddictive behavior when they pair the environmental cues with thepleasure they draw from the drug. In case one learns that aparticular phenomenon exists, then it must be followed withsomething. For instance, teenagers have a tendency of consumingalcohol whenever they attend a party. They, therefore, associateconsumption of alcohol with parties.
Thesecond type is operant learning. The aspect is founded on theconcepts of rewards and punishment. In case a substance is rewarding,individuals are likely to continue using it. Like in the case ofJohn, the drugs were paying as he used them to alleviate depression.The parents are also unconcerned with his activities and do notpunish him when he starts using drugs.
Thesocial learning aspect is the most obvious part here. John observesand watches his parents’ behaviors. Their addiction to substanceslowly influences his decisions to get into drugs at a tender age.For instance, it is more likely for a young man to smoke afterobserving attractive people smoking.
Thepaper clearly shows that once a person is addicted to substance abusehe loses control over it. For example, John is addicted to heroin tothe extent that he must just have it. In fact, an attempt made by thejudge to send him to the rehabilitation center makes him angry sincehe cannot do without a fix.
Johnsuffered severe consequences like the pain in the bones, chills andinterrupted sleeping patterns when he does not use heroin.
Fortunately,any behavior that has been learned over time can be unlearned. Ithink the best decision that John took was telling his friends aboutthe personal decision he made to stop drug abuse. This move clearlyindicated that he was aware of the fact that he was suffering andneeded to change. Anyone that takes this step is ready for help.Family and friends should be available to offer guidance andcounseling. They should structure plans that will help the person tofind himself.
Palmer,R., & McGeary, J. (2016). Models of drug addiction: Theories andfuture applications in prevention and treatment. BrownUniversity Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter,32(5),1-7.
Weinberg,D. (2012). On the Embodiment of Addiction. Body& Society,8(4),1.