The attention that substance abuse has received over the years cannot be overemphasized. This is because there are thousands of people currently grappling with addiction due to substance abuse. Addiction, in psychology circles, is defined as a condition resulting from the use of substances (drugs), or engaging in certain activities, which interfere with an individual’s behavior and neurological functions. The reasons for addiction are diverse, and the consequences vary from one individual to another. In an attempt to address the challenge of addiction, psychologists have come with two models which explain the motivation for addictive behaviors and the structures which sustain addiction; categorically, these are “how-models” and the “why-models”.
In many instances, the popular media has perfectly captured the subject of addiction, and the various issues encompassing addiction. One of the best examples which explicate this is the film “Requiem for a Dream”. The film captures different levels of addiction, and the consequences arising from substance abuse. By the end of the film, some of the characters become delusional, while other become desperately reckless.
As seen in Aronofsky’s film “Requiem for a dream”, the motivation to abuse drugs varies among the characters. Sara Goldfarb, for example, starts to take a regimen of weight-loss pills and a sedative during the night, with the hope of regaining a youthful appearance. Despite warnings from her son Harry, Sara does not stop taking the dosage, and she ends up suffering from amphetamine psychosis. Harry, on the other hand, becomes a heroin addict due to the peer influence of his friends: Tyrone and Marion. They hope to make a lot of money from selling drugs, and reinvest the money into fashion business. However, they do not get to achieve their dreams.
Tyrone is held hostage by a gang, and this forces Harry and Marion to use the money they have accumulated to bail him out. At this point, increased cases of arrest make it hard for the trio to do their business freely. This sends them into a state of desperation. With their chances of making money limited, Harry convinces Marion to engage in sexual relations with her psychiatrist in order to raise money. Their level of desperation increases as Harry faces an infected arm due to the use unsanitary injections.
Harry and Tyrone decide to go to Florida to procure some drugs, but they cannot make since Harry has an infected arm, which forces them to go to hospital. They are arrested at the hospital facilities, and send to jail. Harry, however, is send back to the hospital to have his am amputated. Tyrone, on the other hand, has to do hard labor, and deal with drug withdrawal. In New York, Marion works for a pimp, and she has to have sex in exchange for drugs. Delusion is evident when Sara hallucinates about being a winner of a game show, while Harry thinks that he is a successful businessman married to Marion.
The viewers get to see how each of the four characters became addicted, and what made them to slide further into addiction. Above all, the viewers get to see the consequences of substance abuse and addiction. This, in my view, is a good way of informing the viewers on the various ways people get involved in substance abuse, and the consequences that they suffer from engaging in such activities.
In retrospect, the knowledge and skills gained from this course are quite invaluable, because they have broadened my understanding of psychological issues and the best means to deal with them. Particularly, I have learnt to be a better observer, and this is something which is useful in my career because careful observation is one of the critical skills required. Above all, the concepts acquired in this course will be helpful in appreciating the role of teamwork in my career.
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Requiem for a Dream. Dir. Darren Aronofsky. Perf. Ellen Burstyn, et al. 2000. Film.