Individual Differences in Substance Use Problems
As much as it has been stated that drug addiction does not discriminate and is an equal destroyer (Satel, 2008), the statement is arguable. Drug and substance abuse destroys those who seemingly give it an opportunity to do so. It is a reality that there are people who take a sniff of cocaine and just walk away, never to repeat it again while there are others who take that one sniff and go back over and over again. Everybody has control over his or her actions and decisions. It is the ability and the willingness of making use of the control that differs in individuals.
Although the environment that one grew up in is a major factor in the occurrence of drugs and substance abuse, an individual can determine the direction to take when placed under any of these circumstances. It is riskier for an individual whose parents are addicts to become an addict than it is for an individual who grew up with parents that are not addicted. A teenager who stays with peers that abuse drugs is at a higher risk of abusing drugs than a teenager who stays around peers who are involved in activities that are considered clean.
Satel’s article is discusses substance dependence. This is because the author has dwelt on how people become drug addicts and those that are more vulnerable to getting addicted. The author does not necessarily dwell on drugs themselves but on the chances of getting addicted, which is the way people become dependent on the drug. Drug abusers are not necessarily drug dependents. Dependants can barely do without the drug. The author gives an example of two thirty-two-year-old family men who have jobs, taking a sniff of cocaine for the first time. One finds that he likes it but decides to walk away, never to take it again. The other takes a sniff, finds that he likes it, and asks for more. Taking the sniff, even if for the first time, is abusing the drug. Making a decision to take some more is a fast road to becoming dependent on the drug.
As said earlier, there are people who are vulnerable to abusing drugs than others. Worse still, there are those who have a higher chance of becoming addicts than others. Those who have taken a sniff of cocaine or heroin before have more chances of becoming addicts than those who have not. Those who have grown up in an environment where there is substance abuse are more likely to become addicts than those who grew up in clean environments. However, everyone has the power of making their own decisions no matter the circumstances surrounding them. They can make the right decisions.
According to Satel, most people who become addicts could see all the signs and symptoms before they became addicts. They just did not want to make the decision of getting out of the situation they were getting themselves into, as it was perhaps a difficult one to make. People can resist from becoming addicts if they choose to make such a decision. The decision of the thirty- year-old-man, where he took the snort and then walked away can be made by many other people. Satel adds that addiction picks at those who are slow in gauging consequences and are poor at delaying gratification (2008). The best way to avoid such addictions is by choosing to walk away from such temptations by looking at the future more than the present.
Satel, Sally. Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate? Wrong. The New York Times, September 1, 2008. Print.