Whether it be drugs, alcohol, or anything else, addiction is a mental illness that affects both the mind and body. Adam Humphries reports.
Ten years ago, to this year in 2011 British soul singer, Amy Winehouse, sadly lost her life due to alcohol poisoning. As many of us will no doubt remember that she was a troubled singer who dabbled in alcohol and drug misuse. Now, a lot of you may well look at someone like her and think, “she was drunk, what do you expect”, well let’s just remind ourselves of the demons of her addiction that led to her problems, shall we.
Earlier this year there was a documentary on Channel 5 which was to do with Amy and the problems that contributed to her gradual downward spiral. There were also mentions of eating disorders as well, including manic phases of her emotional state.
Now you may also be wondering to yourselves as to what that had to do with it, or anything for that matter.
Nearly ten years ago back in 2012 British comedian and actor, Russell Brand addressed a committee in which he openly spoke about additions and why they should be treated as a mental health issue, rather than a criminal one.
Now I openly admit that whilst I have never come face to face with addicts, as far as I know, I can definitely see and understand why addiction should be seen as a mental health problem.
In numerous documentaries and reports where people in these situations have been spoken to, and whilst each case may be different from the other, the common denominator was always the same; the mask and/or escape their problems.
Whenever alcohol or drugs are consumed it provides a sort of relief mechanism which blocks out that level of pain. After a period of time, there’s a crash moment in which they depend on this so-called ‘fix’. In the mind, it becomes a form of dependency where it is believed that they’ve got to have it, they need it, can’t do without it.
Whenever substances are taken it can affect the way you feel, both mentally and physically, and leaves them in a state of pleasure. The consequences of this leave them with a strong urge for more, eventually causing all manner of health problems.
It becomes a vicious cycle that they struggle to break free from, and it all starts it the mind.
According to the group, Action on Addiction, 1 in 3 people will become addicted to something whereas according to other sources men are more likely to develop an addiction than women. Both physical and mental health are linked to this as well.
Interestingly In 1988, American singer/songwriter Martika made a song about addiction called Toy Soldiers. She was inspired to write about it after a friend of hers battled with the problem.
Here’s a couple of lines from the song
“How could I be so blind to this addiction? If I don’t stop the next one’s gonna be me”
We cannot turn our noses at this any longer, addiction is a mental health problem, a disease of the mind.