Addiction is an age old phenomena which has existed and has been persistent over the centuries, only difference has been it being acknowledged. People have been and will always be physically dependent on a number of external stimulants that provide them with satisfaction, gratification and enjoyment but when an individual's dependency on certain activities or some of these substances becomes obsessive in a gratuitous way then it is termed as an addiction. The contentment or happiness that was initially associated with stimulants has ceased to be the main reason of one being involved with them and it is slowly turning to the pleasures that are given by the substance or the activity becoming the life line of that person and hence ends up being a very crucial part of the person's existence and their survival (Senwor, 2010).
Different forms of addiction
Unlike the old schools of thoughts addiction is not supposed to be confined to drugs only but to other things like sex, gambling and alcohol.in the present day addiction is measured on a wider scope and hence it should not be restricted to external factors that are substance related. This should include non-standard and abnormal behavior and unusual dependencies on any other activity or thing be it food, drinking, gambling, workaholic behavior, excessive shopping or even matters relating to spiritual obsession (Senwor, 2010).
Human beings have used drugs of one type or another for thousands of years. Wine was used at least from during the early Egyptian days: narcotics from 4000 B.C: and the use of marijuana for medical purposes dates back to 2737 B.C. In China.it was not until the 19th century when the active substances in the drugs began being extracted. There followed a time when some of these substances such as morphine, cocaine and laudine that were newly discovered were under no regulations completely and they ere being prescribed by physicians for a wide variety of ailments. These substances were widely available in patent medicines and were sold in drugstores, by travelling tinkers or even through the mail. During the civil war in America Morphine was used freely and the wounded veterans came back home with their kits containing morphine and hypodermic needles. Opium dens became so many and they were extremely flourishing. By 1900s the number of addicted people in United States was estimated to be 250,000 (Pearson Education, 2006).
Expansion of drug culture
Until 1960s drugs used for recreation were only confined to a small part of the population. This brought about a public attitude of tolerance towards these drugs the effects of drug use on most of the peoples psychology and emotions were termed as being enjoyable. Rock music and the lifestyle that came with it and the support media had on drugs made the use of drugs to spread throughout.
Psychology of addiction
Scientific investigations that have been carried out in recent decades have yielded a better understanding of the true psychological basis of addiction. Technology and research has paved way for increased awareness of the process of addiction. This has brought about an advanced achievement when it comes to the discovery and mapping of the neurotransmitters and hormones that affect strongly what we feel as well as our inclinations. The new aspects of nervous and endocrine system functions are key when it comes to understanding addiction. Cultural and sociological investigators have used scientific method to try and understand addiction. This model looks at social stereotypes hat are reinforced by social psychology as well as the actual physiological process. The model ascertains that drug abuse has been powered by emotional and motivational aspects of our nature as human beings. Another theory psychologist have used to explain addiction is the homeostatic theory any form of sickness, mental disorder and disease is defined in some way as being caused by an imbalance or dysfunction of the homeostatic relationship. This is also true when it comes to substance abuse and addiction. A lot of research is being carried out on he relationship between homeostasis and addiction. For a fact any drug ingested affects the natural homeostasis of the body and the different drugs affect these systems in a different ways. Therefore all these substances produce their own unique potential for psychological and physical addiction (Sheldon, 2010).
Psychology of addiction
Addiction is a social, psychological and genetic process and keeping an individual away from their addiction in most cases manifests in psychological actions such as anxiety, depression and restlessness. The psychology of addiction has proved over time that an addiction is in the mind of an individual and can be overcome only through ones self-control and determination. When taking a closer look at the root cause of addiction, one observes that it is normally preceded by the feelings of vulnerability, hopelessness and defenselessness. Until or unless a person wants to be cured from their addiction there is no clinical treatment that can be effective. The therapy and prevention of this disease is a psychological process and is fully related to the mind and hence it is only through strength and will of power of ones mind that they can be free from it (Senwor, 2010).
Effects of addiction
The negative impact that is linked to abuse which originates with an addict slowly gets into his or her family and eventually throughout the entire community. Efforts to educate communities on some of the consequences of addiction are very important when it comes to the realization of change. The losses which are associated with addiction are quite obvious and visible .these includes crime, losses of health, family, friends and money are manifestations of the tangible losses. The real culprit of addiction is loosing oneself through the consistent detachment of ones feeling through addiction. The avoidance of feelings through addiction leaves an individual without valuable and directional information.
Actions taken towards dealing with drug addiction in the past
The addiction menace was recognized in a gradual manner and legal measures against drug abuse in the United States began being established as early as 1875 when opium was outlawed in some of the states such as San Francisco. The first national drug law to be established was the pure Food and Drug Act established in 1906 that required accurate labeling of medicines that were patented and containing opium as well as other drugs.in 1914, sale of substantial doses of cocaine and opiates was forbidden through the Harrison Narcotic Act unless they were licensed by pharmacies and doctors. Later heroin was banned completely from being used or sold. Supreme Court decisions that followed made it illegal for doctors to give prescriptions of narcotics to addicts, many of those doctors who gave prescriptions of maintenance doses as part of the treatment plans for addiction were sent to jail and soon all the attempts towards treatment were abandoned.by 1920s, the use of cocaine and other narcotics diminished. This spirit of temperance led to alcohol being prohibited by the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution that was done in 1919 but this prohibition was repealed in 1933 (Pearson Education,2006).
In 1930s it was a requirement by most states that antidrug education be included in schools amidst fears that the knowledge would lead to experimentation. This fears caused the abandonment of antidrug education in most of the places. After the repeal of prohibition was done, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics started a campaign that would portray marijuana as a very powerful and addicting substance which had the potential of leading users into addiction of narcotics.in the 1950s there was an increase of the use of marijuana yet again alongside other tranquilizers and amphetamines. The social upheaval that took place in 1960s saw a dramatic increase of drug use coupled with an increased social acceptance; by early 1970s some localities and states were decriminalizing marijuana and lowering the drinking ages. The 1980s saw a decline in the use of most of these drugs however, the use of cocaine and crack increased. This led to the military being part of border patrols that led to the arrests of most of those who were involved in drug trafficking (Pearson Education, 2006).
How psychologists have tried to prevent addiction
Recovering from addiction can be a very difficult process there are several ways that psychologists have proposed for prevention of drug abuse these include; finding healthy ways of dealing with stress, seeking counseling or therapy, maintenance of healthy lifestyles, having things that one cares deeply about in their life and being aware of an individuals family history when it come to substance abuse (Sheldon, 2010). One of the renown figures of our times in the fight against addiction to drugs and tobacco in specific was Dr. Everett C. Koop who spearheaded the campaign against tobacco with proof that the secondary smoking could lead to all the other symptoms of first hand smoking including addiction against the victim's wish. His fight saw the drop of smoking of tobacco from 38% to 27% as the Washington Post…