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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Approaching addiction as the genuine mental health struggle it is

Our investment in always endeavouring to further understand our health is a collective attitude something that has only grown stronger in recent years. The more awareness and information we have, the more driven we become to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to be more assertive in preserving and nourishing our health. We are a species that is predominantly driven by our desire to always be improving and protecting ourselves. Companies like Royal CBD, for example, can now make the lives of individuals struggling with illness and pain the world over, more comfortable. 

Cannabinoids were recently cleared by the FDA for the use in children with epilepsy. This is a major vote of confidence for the industry, confirming the safety of CBD use. When compared with opioids, there is a higher preference for CBD as CBD “does not suppress the breathing centers of the brain the way opioid drugs do” which causes overdoses. Therefore, even if one were to overdose on CBD, there would be no lasting damage. 

However, it should be noted that psychiatrists and doctors who have worked with CBD oil have noticed that oftentimes patients may get a little apprehensive while under the influence of the drug. This is normal as it can be due to the fact that the patient is simply not used to feeling calm. That is about the extent of any negative side effects CBD has on a person. One other thing to note is that – just like any other medication – one should always have clearance from their doctor before mixing medications or herbal supports while simultaneously taking CBD. The use of the compound is being increasingly popular with cancer patients as it is able to alleviate the symptoms that comes from the disease and the treatment of the disease. While there are not enough research into whether CBD might be able to cure cancer, there is a possibility that it may deter or prevent cancer

Thanks to the seemingly limitless tap of research and studies into cancer research, we move closer to a cure every day. It seems that every which way one turns, there is an incredible wealth of new information in the realm of health. Addiction is one of the most complex health issues there is, and yet we are constantly pushing to further understand it so that we can adequately treat it and help those suffering with addiction through what proves to be an exceptionally difficult time in their lives.

Physical health is perhaps the most understood aspect of overall health, thanks to the ongoing contributions to understanding it, in all its forms. Mental health, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. And the relationship between mental health and addiction is something that many people are determined not to recognise, even as the evidence mounts and stares them straight in the face. While our history with working to better understand mental health and the nature of addiction is not particularly long or in-depth, what is obvious is that recent years have indicated that mental health and addiction are in fact linked. Individuals who find themselves struggling in the throes of addiction are often the same individuals who struggle to comprehend and cope with the world around them as it is. The fact is that mental health can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere. And it is never more easily allowed in, than when someone is losing sight of their health and themselves.

Addiction is complex and unique to each individual that it effects. While a particular addictive substance has the same properties, no matter why is ingesting it, the effects these properties have on the individual themselves differ – sometimes dramatically. We are all different, and so when we experience different circumstances we are granted to behave differently to one another. At this point, addiction can be considered a behavioural issue. But it is the further on that addiction progresses, that is when it becomes an obvious issue of struggles with one’s mental health. While of course addiction does not discriminate, it is far easier for an individual suffering from mental health inflictions to fall into the clutches of addiction, due to the traumatic approach to life and the world around them that they tend to take. There is comfort in how addictive substances tend to make people feel. It is this comfort that often ultimately proves to be the pivotal turning point when things become unbalanced.

And then comes the treatment stages of addiction. While not every individual struggling with addiction and mental health seeks addiction on their own (if ever), it is a path that often (if not always) leads to a healthier life and a more promising future. Treatment for addiction is often a long, rocky road to recovery. It is not at all that uncommon for treatment to be a process that the individual undertakes more than once before it (hopefully) sticks. The mental battle that individuals striving to overcome addiction go through is nothing short of brutal. There is no easy way through it, no easy way out. To overcome addiction, one must be willing to open old wounds and work towards making themselves stronger, even when it feels impossible to do so. Understanding and further exploring our health is something that continues, even now, to become more and more of a priority as the days go on, and finally our approach to understanding addiction and its connection to mental health is taking the same priority.

In a time where our drive to know everything we possibly can about health, it is interesting to note that there are some areas of health (physical health, for instance) that we have – and continue to – learned an incredible wealth of knowledge about, while others (mental health, for example) are relatively misunderstood, for the most part. The complex relationship between addiction and mental health is arguably one of the most misunderstood issues in health there is. For many years, people have viewed addiction as a behavioural issue. While perhaps at first this is somewhat true, the more tightly bound to one’s addiction they become, the more obvious it is that addiction is a mental health struggle. More than anything else, addiction evolves to become a mental health complexity. Now that we have this information, we must consistently work towards the realisation that we are all collectively and individually responsible for helping to bring awareness to the fact, and to support those suffering with addiction back to wellness.

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