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Addiction

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When we hear the word addiction, we think of drugs and homeless, criminal, physical, and psychological junkies who prostitute themselves. This idea, created by our upbringing and the media, has absolutely nothing to do with addiction. The pharmaceutical industry is very interested in this depiction of a linear addiction career linked with substances/drugs, and this career can only be treated with medication as per the industry. The success of the pharmaceutical industry in this regard can be seen by the variety of nutritional supplements available today. Nowadays, there are thousands of homeopathic preparations, pills, vitamin supplements, and enzymes for all signs of deficiency. In the hospitals of industrialized countries, however, there are no patients with deficiency illnesses. Rather, there are people who suffer from affluenza. Nevertheless, the market for the abovementioned nutritional supplements is booming. There are many complex problems today, namely jealousy, fear of the future, frustration at work, lack of time, an increase in unethical conflicts in both the private and public domain, unfair allocation of the planet’s resources and our careless way of using them, and the loss of human values. The individual is surrounded by endless feasibility crazes where youth and ability are for sale and where death and illness tend to be seen as manageable. This demands too much of us. People are understandably exhausted, and this is cleverly interpreted as deficiency by the industry.

This can sometimes be seen in a comic light. For example, in Japan 30 years ago, there was no term for depression. A slightly depressive old man was considered wise. People spoke of a type of wise melancholy, and such individuals were considered distinguished until the pharmaceutical industry in Japan introduced the term depression through the aid of doctors, universities, and marketing. This was followed by the introduction of appropriate medications and depressives. However, there must be a reason why all the major pharmaceutical concerns invest so much more in marketing than in research. Whether something addictive is legal or illegal is decided by political and business interests and not by ethics, which is unfortunate. Segments of the population are constantly subjected to addiction and social checks. For a long time, LSD and cannabis were officially available for sale in pharmacies in the USA and Netherlands, respectively. At the moment, we’re seeing a paradigm change with nicotine.

Such a perception about addiction is unreasonable and will not lead to an end of human suffering. Addiction is not related to substances/drugs. Work, sex, computers, shopping, eating, and vomiting addictions are addictions that are not related to substances/drugs. Therefore, how we define addiction does not depend on our classification of substances/drugs. In addition, we should also remember that the final decision about something depends on our current knowledge. We form an opinion of the present, but this depends on our past and the knowledge we’ve absorbed from it. The term addiction cannot therefore be divided into black and white, insiders and outsiders, and right and wrong.

Medical research into addiction is still very nascent. It began almost at the same time as we began to differentiate between objective health and subjective well being in medicine. Scientifically speaking, we realized at a very early stage that there are no classic addictive substances. Nowadays, we focus more on the addictive personality. Generally speaking, the word addiction is a very young word. In sociology, there are many explanations for addictions, but what we find interesting is the version that describes addiction as a rather societal construct. Regardless of whether one is addicted or not, every substance when used in excess can cause damage to the body. Smoking mainly damages the lungs and the periodontal apparatus (i.e., what keeps our teeth in place). Shrinkage of the gums (gingiva), which leads to loss of teeth, can result.

Loss of teeth because of addictions related to substances/drugs can rarely be traced back to the substance/drug itself. Tooth loss is often attributed to frequent negligience of the body. The dental problems faced by addicted individuals are similar to those faced by nonaddicted individuals, although the illnesses may have progressed further and caused more damage in addicted individuals. Caries, periodontitis, abscesses, root fragments, and impacted wisdom teeth are to be found across all populations. From the perspective of dental medicine, it is a good idea to offer addicted patients continuous care and provide treatment according to the situation. Generally, it is important not to reproach an addicted patient about the status of their teeth, neither verbally nor “energetically”, because this only increases the psychological strain on these patients.

Addiction