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Addictive behaviors take several forms with the most common ones being eating disorders, drug abuse, smoking, and alcohol abuse. People with such behaviors exercise an uncontrollable urge to indulge in them and as a result, become popularly known as addicts. These behaviors are mostly a resulting factor of stressful social situations such as unemployment, abusive relationships, or terminal illnesses among others (Elsevier Science1). This paper critiques addictive behaviors by addressing the general perception associated with addictions regarding rules, laws, and sanctions.
Addictive behaviors bear similarities and differences and this makes it quite hard to understand their patterns. In this sense, some of them are regarded as substantial while others are superficial. Therapists have a hard time trying to classify the different types of disorders that they encounter in their day-to-day practice. Their complexity can at times be overwhelming and this calls for therapists to work harder to understand their dynamics. Addictive behaviors vary in classification in that some substances according to societal settings which include laws, sanctions, and rules as well as religious affiliations consider them acceptable and others unacceptable (Shaffer and Stimmel 1-3).
European countries for instance took to restricting the use of tobacco after its introduction. England took the same battle to restrict the consumption of tea, a struggle that was so fierce that it was comparable to fighting marijuana. It was perceived as a drug that had been introduced to harm the masses and that is why it was faced with great opposition. On the contrary, certain rules, laws, and sanctions have passed the usage of some addictive substances like amphetamines as a cure for asthma. The disturbing fact is that this addictive substance has been reviewed and found to have little therapeutic value. The civil war saw the licensing of the dreaded drug heroin as a treatment for morphine addiction and it’s ironic how it’s being fought against by Americans today (4).
With this evidence at hand, addictive behaviors lie in the perception of the people. The only problem here is the level of consumption where large amounts lead to abuse which in turn leads to health problems. It is amazing how these perceptions change with time and the adage of,’ there is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so’ does a replay. Some narcotics such as heroin are mostly used by clinicians to ease the pain through their potential for dependency is high. However, if used safely, narcotic substances are safe and only lose their therapeutic value if people subject themselves to overdoses. The question of whether these narcotics are life-threatening is therefore overruled though this does not fail to come with an advisory (5).
Overdose has been replaced by ‘acute fatal reaction’ in matters where any of the aforementioned substances have been used in excess. Abstinence syndrome has been used to refer to withdrawal symptoms that occur when people stop using these substances (9-10). Marijuana is another example of an addictive substance that is commonly used by many people today. Research has however failed to place its psychological or physical harm to its user and there is even a huge debate in using it for clinical purposes (16).
There are several misconceptions when it comes to addictive behaviors as evidenced by this paper. They seem to lie in people’s perceptions where some are accepted and others not due to personal or societal views. This, therefore, makes it hard to rule out what substances pose health risks to their users and which do not. However, their effects cannot be underestimated and it is important to moderate their use.
Elsevier Science. “Addictive behaviours.” Genamics Journal Seek. Web.
Shaffer, Howard and Stimmel, Barry. The addictive behaviors. New York: The Harworth Press, 2002.