Friday, September 14, 2007

Social Issue:Addiction

The social issue I'm planning on addressing is addiction, more specifically the perception of alcoholism/substance abuse as a disease. Currently, addiction of this sort is accepted within the medical community as a disease, but outside of this context, I feel that it is many times not treated as a disease, but as a problem one should fix or overcome internally. When thinking about the disease of addiction as compared to other diseases, it is not difficult to understand skewed perception. Addiction is unique in that it is essentially a self-diagnosed disease, one that from the outside appears to be merely a pattern of poor decision making, instead of a disease stemming from both genetic and environmental influences. In this way addiction is similar to other diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc. which also are influenced by the same factors. The continuation of the idea that addiction is merely a result of glaring individual character defects is perpetuated by what I feel is dangerous information circulated in books, magazines that assert alcoholism specifically can be curbed or "overcome" through some sort of elaborate program of controlled drinking. This idea both prolongs the suffering of alcoholics and promotes the idea that their actions are largely by choice. This issue is made more difficult to correct because of information like this and the fact that the number of active alcoholics and addicts far out number those in recovery, thus more people probably have had experience dealing with the frustration of the socially unacceptable behaviors of an addict, rather than the behaviors of an individual in recovery.

1 comment:

Jan Baum said...

good use of the blog and informative, thanks