Addiction is an epidemic that has run rampant across humanity for centuries. Helen of Troy was said to have utilized opium, given to her by an Egyptian queen, in helping to treat the Greek warriors in Homer’s Odyssey – “…presently she cast a drug into the wine of which they drank to lull all pain and anger and bring forgetfulness of every sorrow.”
Roman addictions, as well as Spartan and Greek, are well documented.
To go “berserk” is a term that comes from Viking Berserkers, a much feared warrior who would rush into battle mostly nude, no matter the weather, incredibly high on psychedelic drugs to cancel out all fear and pain during battle.
Yes, addiction has quite literally been a part of humanity since the earliest days of our existence.
Yet, despite that, addiction is not something that runs throughout humanity. There are many millions of humans alive today who seem to be immune to addiction. No matter what they do, or what they try, when they tire of it, or they just don’t feel like it anymore, they stop. Just like that. They drop it, they’re done, they never think about it again, nor do they suffer side effects from stopping whatever “it” was.
Binge drink for 3 weeks during March Madness while your college makes a run for the championship? “That was fun, now I want to run a marathon in two months, so no drinking and clean living starting now.” No side effects, no urges to continue, no thoughts about drinking at all whatsoever.
Going out of your mind on various drugs with some guy or girl you met at a club for a month until you get sick of how crazy they are and leave them? Again – “that was fun, but now I want to be a cop, so clean living from here on out.” And yes, again, no side effects, no urges, nothing.
They’re just done with it. They leave whatever “it” is behind and never think of it again.
Or, they use “it” whenever they want. Two hits per year when that one friend comes to town? “Sure.” Do you want more? “No.”
This can be an incredibly frustrating thing for an addict to see. “Why me? Why do I have to have a body that is trapped by my drug of choice after one use? Why can’t I be like them?”
This questioning can lead to guilt, depression, and a whole slew of other problems. They begin to wonder if addiction really is a choice and if they’re just weak.
Well, it’s not a choice. And while many around you are not prone to addiction, and may even seem impervious to it; just like cancer – you might get it, someone else might not. It’s as simple as that.
So, what’s up with this? What’s the deal? There are a few major contributing factors to addiction.
First and foremost amongst those is the factor that is most responsible for addiction – biological factors. Genetics and mental illness rule this factor. Throughout your family history, addiction has run the gamut. That means that addiction is in your genetic code, you are much more susceptible to addiction than someone who does not have a genetic history like yours. The same can be said for mental illness – a defect present in the brain’s make-up and chemistry that results in a mental illness signals that not all is right in the brain. With this signal comes a much higher risk for addiction. Indeed, it is a very unfortunate fact that addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand.
Environmental risks and influences also play a very large part. Did you grow up in an environment where addiction and substance abuse was rampant? And did you perhaps partake in any of that with your friend group? Taking on substance abuse at a young age, while the body is still developing, is a major risk factor in succumbing to addiction then or at a later stage in life.
There’s also the fact that some substances are much more addictive than others. Heroin is a drug that can easily create an addiction, even after just one dose. The way in which the drug is consumed can also affect addiction – smoking or injecting a substance releases much more potency than does eating or drinking a substance, for example.
Addiction is a disease, one that you cannot help having. Do not blame yourself, don’t feel guilty, hopeless, or lost. Addiction is a monster, but it is possible to beat that monster back and keep it at bay for the rest of your life!
At Compass Detox, we can help you do exactly that. Call 800.26.DETOX today to learn more.