The ebb and flow of concern about addiction

One of the things about keeping a blog that is focused on a specific topic, is that you get to see how people’s interest in that topic changes.

This blog gets a flood of hits when a celebrity like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan gets arrested for possession of drugs or a DUI. When someone dies, be it Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, or Michael Jackson, we get an even bigger spike. Sadly, when a new law passes, or if a drug-story makes the front cover of the New York Times or some other large publication, we get a spike too, but not quite as large.

Worrying about addiction when it’s right

All of these things are too be expected; they’re a byproduct of the media frenzied culture we’re all a part of (if you’re reading this right now, you’re part of it too). We love celebrities as a reflection of everything we aren’t, everything we want to be, and everything we’re glad we’re not. Sure, life is great when you have lots of money, fame, and fans, but when you fall flat on your face and the moment is captured by dozens of readied cameras, we’re more than happy to watch, make fun, and secretly revel in the fact that at least our missteps aren’t broadcast worldwide.

But one of the things I didn’t expect as much was the spike in readership towards the end of every weekend.

It should be obvious, right? People get royally destroyed on Fridays and Saturdays, and by Sunday, my biggest readership day, they’re worried about the consequences on their well-being. While drunk, high, or in the middle of a full-blown internet-porn masturbation party, few care about implications, education, or reality. It’s when the effects of all those wear off and that first post-party look in the mirror takes place that we all find our humility, shame, and motivation to change.

I’m not writing this as a criticism, merely an observation. It’s as if even those in the throws of the disease, or those who care most about it, become most concerned when the dust settles a little. Maybe one day I’ll get around to doing some research on the way this translates to treatment. As some of you already know, All About Addiction is about to introduce a new rehab-finder tool that will allow everyone to go online, fill out an assessment form, and get customized placement in one of almost 12000 addiction providers in the United States. I wonder if we’ll see the same pattern – people looking more on Sunday than any other day; trying to right their wrongs with a final plea to god, through their computers, that maybe today is their last day screwing up their lives.

I’ll make sure to get more help on thoe days if that turns out to be true.

Montana Meth

A very powerful ad campaign from Montana about the dangers of meth use (thanks to Mike at addictiontomorrow for exposing me to it). Like most advertising, and indeed most media presentations of drug users, the content is a little too stylized, but the point is pretty clear.

I would like to point out that while there isn’t necessarily any research that shows that a single use of meth can lead to addiction, we do know that even using meth for a short while can have serious long term effects on the way the brain functions. This is especially true when talking about some basic learning mechanisms in the brain that affect our ability to change our behavior (look for a post on this shortly)