Mind Trending
It’s “HIGH” time we speak about this subject openly

Dr C Rajesh Reddy

MBBS, MD, DM (Neurology)

3 min read


People openly talk about some addictions concerning caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and so on. They even joke about it! But why is it okay to talk about only certain addictions? I love grass, I love the feeling of a fresh bud when I hold it in my hand. I really like it – I love the way it feels on my bare feet when I trek through a jungle! I bet you thought I was talking about marijuana. We are so quick to judge? Unfortunately, in our society drug addiction is considered to be a taboo – talking about it is forbidden. But somebody has to talk!

How long are we going to allow the topic of drugs to be a taboo? The taboo has to be broken. The topic is like a mind field – it has multiple complex layers and requires extreme caution when dealing with it. Understanding such a topic would be very difficult if we don’t address it and avoid talking about the issue. It’s ‘high’ time we speak about this subject openly.

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Since ancient times, addiction to drugs has been viewed as a moral failing due to a weak character. This brings about a weakening of willpower. Some individuals continue to uphold this view. The good news is that addiction can now be understood through a new model of understanding. What we now know is that addiction is an illness – a chronic brain disease that can strike anyone! It is a chronic disease similar to diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension. There is no shame or stigma attached to these diseases, then why is drug addiction considered to be such a disgraceful topic?


According to science, the genes of an addict combined with environmental factors (mainly during early childhood), predisposes one towards addiction. Understanding that substance addiction is not anyone’s fault is definitely a step in the right direction.


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This could be attributed to its complicated nature. This particular disease affects not just the physical body but the soul too. The obsession demands total preoccupation with obtaining “substances” and consuming them – a soul-crushing habit. Addiction goes together with irresponsible behaviour and dishonesty which destroys relationships, duties and family obligations.

Addicts are held responsible for their atrocious behaviour that includes cheating, lying, stealing, aggressive outbursts etc. But the disease that causes this behaviour is not given due importance. The addicts on the other hand, are not proud of their conduct and tend to blame themselves for being ostracized by society. There is a common belief that addicts choose to become addicted because they lack will power, are weak and have poor decision-making skills.

Addicts should not be condemned or criticized. Addiction causes changes in the brain. There is not only a physical dependency on the substance but withdrawal symptoms too, if it is suddenly discontinued. The addicts’ ability to use reason and logic is greatly affected. Interestingly, according to science, the genes of an addict combined with environmental factors (mainly during early childhood), predisposes one towards addiction.


If we want to help people to recover and heal, we need a radical shift in our way of thinking. Addicts can live a happier and healthier life. They too want it to stop. They just need you to give them hope. Treatment options are widely available. Change is hard but sobriety can be a great gift! Understanding that substance addiction is not anyone’s fault is definitely a step in the right direction.