Addiction is a complicated issue to deal with






Addiction is a complicated issue to deal with, both for the addict and those around them such as family and friends. Many teenage children are exposed to drugs and alcohol due to peer pressure even before they realize the harm that the substances will cause them. They are just eager to fit in and will do anything to please their friends. This is aptly depicted in the movie ‘Thirteen’ that follows the lives of teenagers and the start of their journey with drugs, sex, and alcohol.

The movie ‘Thirteen’ revolves around the life of a thirteen-year-old girl known as Tracy Freeland. She begins her year in middle school as a well-behaved girl in Los Angeles. Her mother Melanie is divorced and has many problems including alcoholism. She can barely make ends meet to support Tracy and her brother. Melanie has a boyfriend who is a recovering addict. Tracy feels out of place at her school because she is teased for her clothes. She gets her mother to buy her new outfits, and this gets her noticed by one of the popular girls in school, Evie.

Evie exposes Tracy to a life of shoplifting, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Evie also cuts herself when she is under stress to deal with the problems in her life. She is a bad influence on Tracy’s life, and this escalates when Evie moves into Tracy’s house to when her guardian is out of town. Melanie is concerned at the person that Tracy is turning into and decides that Evie has to leave. Evie does not want to go, and Melanie contacts Evie’s father, Brooke. Brooke is reluctant to respond, and Evie asks Melanie to adopt her. Melanie refuses. Brooke eventually shows up, but to everyone’s shock, Brooke blames Tracy for being a bad influence on Evie while the opposite is true (Olivier 101).

In the movie, several of the characters have problems such as substance abuse, aggression, and even self-harm. Melanie’s mother, as well as her boyfriend, are both recovering alcoholics. Evie is a shoplifter and uses drugs as well as alcohol. She also cuts herself as a coping strategy when things get hard. She introduces Tracy to all these habits and Tracy follows her lead as she would like to be as popular as Evie is in school. It is easy to dismiss Evie’s habits as bad behavior, but in essence, she is suffering from addiction. She requires treatment to help her deal with the problems in her life.

Watching the film ‘Thirteen,’ the characters are shown to have real challenges in their lives most of which revolve around an addiction to drugs and alcohol. This is the situation for many people in real life situations. The film is thus an accurate portrayal of the issue of substance abuse and crime especially among teenagers and adolescents in society. However, the media can do more in terms of not just showing the root of the problem but also the fact that recovery is possible with treatments such as counseling, rehabilitation among many others. Such a media experience such as watching this film shows the dangers of addiction and might dissuade others from the same path (Raymond 11).

I would begin treatment of Evie’s substance abuse by using one of the questionnaires by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The program is called the Brief Screener for Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (BSTAD). This screening option asks the user about how frequently they have used the substances in the past year. Respondents are grouped into three, those who have no reported use, low risk, and high-risk users. Evie can be termed as a high-risk user due to her frequent use. She is at a high stage of dependence on drugs and other substances. Without proper treatment, she is unable to stop abusing drugs and other substances.

Evie is a danger to herself. The fact that she keeps cutting herself to deal with stress shows that in the future she might attempt more severe measures to cope. She should, therefore, be kept under close watch to avert any further incidences. To deal with the issue of self-harm, it is vital to discover the underlying cause. Evie explained that her guardian’s boyfriend is physically abusive and this shows that she lives in a toxic environment that motivates her self-harm. She should be put in a healthier environment.

The ASAM criteria are used to determine the best care that will yield desired results and outcomes for both adults and adolescents. It ensures a complete biopsychosocial assessment of the patient for a comprehensive and suitable treatment plan for the patient. There are six dimensions to the ASAM criteria. The first is acute intoxications and the potential for withdrawal. The second dimension explores biomedical conditions and the third looks at the patient’s emotional and behavioral states. The fourth dimension is about the individual’s readiness to change (Herron, & Brennan). The fifth looks at the potential for relapse and the sixth dimension explore the living environment during their recovery.

A DSM diagnosis is also essential in dealing with the matter of substance abuse. Some of the DSM-V criteria include taking the substance in excessive quantities for a longer time than required; having the desire to stop but being unable to, a lot of time spent consuming and recovering from consuming the substance and severe cravings for the substance in question. The fifth criterion is the disruption of tasks at home, work and school due to substance abuse, the sixth is continued use despite problems in relationships, and the seventh is giving up daily activities (O’brien 866). The eighth is continued substance use despite the danger, the ninth is continued use despite physical problems, the tenth is a high tolerance for the substance, and the final criterion is withdrawal symptoms alleviated by taking more of the substance.

In developing a treatment plan, spirituality is a fundamental point. Spirituality does not necessarily refer to religion. It is more about discovering our purpose in life and enables one to develop a connection with other things and people. Addiction takes away the addicts spirituality by destroying relationships, and the ability to be in control of one’s life as the addict is wholly dependent on the drugs. The journey towards recovering from addiction, therefore, demands that the addict gets in touch with their spirituality in a 12 step program.

For Evie’s case, her addiction is at an acute level, and the best course of treatment would be inpatient treatment at a rehabilitation facility. This will give her an excellent environment to get better away from the availability of drugs and the toxic environment at home as well as negative peer influence. Recovery is a journey that involves not only the addict but requires the support of parents, friends, family, schoolmates, teachers and the community as a whole. It is crucial therefore that even after treatment, those around the addict do not stigmatize them but instead accept them back so that they can reintegrate into society.

Works Cited

Herron, Abigail, and Timothy K. Brennan. The ASAM essentials of addiction medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2019.

O’brien, Charles. “Addiction and dependence in DSM‐V.” Addiction 106.5 (2011): 866-867.

Olivier, Bert. “Passive’nihilism in Clark’s Kids and Hardwicke’s Thirteen.” South African Journal of Art History 19 (2004): 98-109.

Raymond, Courtney M. “Non-suicidal self-injury: The movie industry’s influence on its stigma.” McNair Scholars Research Journal 5.1 (2012): 11.

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