Rap & Drugs

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It caught me off guard when I found out Mac Miller passed away via overdose. I was so shocked because he was so young, talented, and definitely left this earth way too soon. I’m praying, sending love and light to everyone that’s been affected directly and indirectly. Miller’s death brought up some topics that’s not discussed often and it made me noticed how many people really do not understand substance use.

The clinical term and definition for someone who is addicted to using drugs is:

Substance Use Disorder – a disorder where the individual has a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance that results in impairment of daily life or noticeable distress.

Many refer to people with substance use disorders as “addicts” or some may say substance abuse disorder. You typically want to stay away from using those terms because some people may find it offensive so to be politically correct its best to say, “someone that has a substance use disorder” or “someone that struggles with substance use.”

Substance use disorder is a hell of a demon. Substance use has broken up homes, families, and communities. That alone should show that at some point using drugs is not a choice for some people. Some people can use a drug once and not have the urge to do it ever again while others may use a drug once and become addicted. It varies from person to person and sometimes you can predict if someone is likely to develop a substance use disorder from their family’s history of substance use. So if your mother, father, granny, papa, or someone in close relation struggles or struggled with substance use it is very likely you have the genetic trait to develop the disorder as well.
Some symptoms of substance use disorder are:
  • Getting more lit (drunk/high) than originally planned. (Yikes, I’m sure we’ve all been there)
  • Spending hella money and time on buying/using drugs/alcohol or doing whatever it takes to get them.
  • Putting yourself in dangerous situations to use the drug/get the drug.
  • Use of substances causes you to not fulfill your responsibilities such as making it to work
  • You begin to crave the substance often. “I have to get high in order to eat.” “I NEED a drink I had a stressful day (everyday)”
  • Continuing using even when it starts affecting your health.
  • Repeated use of the substance in a dangerous situation. * Drinking & Driving.
  • Tolerance begins to build.
  • Experiences withdrawal symptoms after stopping us. *anxiety, irritability, insomnia, nausea, fatigue.
Substance Use Disorder can often accompany other disorders such as anxiety and depression. Seeing these disorders together is tricky sometimes because someone can have depression due to a substance use disorder or have a substance use disorder due to depression. It’s a total mind f*ck, I know. It confuses me sometimes & I have a master’s degree in this. That’s why it’s always best to go see psychiatrist if you feel like your mental health or quality of life is declining.
Substance use disorder is such a tricky mental diagnosis even with all the research that has been done with it. Long story short, research has found that when people with substance use disorders uses a substance they experience a part of their brain responding to the drug in a particular way and it feels really good to them. People with substance use disorders are addicted to that feeling and experiencing that feeling becomes more important that working, eating, taking care of their children and even sometimes living. It’s difficult to understand why it affects people differently but it’s still important to understand that most people that struggle with drug use simply can not help it. Although it’s possible to beat it, it’s still a hard battle to win for some. If you know someone that’s struggling with drug use reach out to them. If you know someone that’s been sober, congratulate them and tell them that you are proud.
It’s unfortunate that rap music in way glorifies drug use and it definitely influences people to use but in the same breath, it’s not the only thing to blame. It’s clear that most rappers struggle with their own substance use disorders and maybe even depression and/or anxiety. Music is typically an outlet for a person and it also reflects their life. So these rappers are honestly just rapping about things that they are struggling with. It’s not an excuse, I just believe blaming rap music on the reason why people have substance use disorders is like saying someone is depressed because they seen someone on TV that’s depressed. I believe it’s more of people with substance use disorders relating to rap music because of they share the same struggles. I’m not saying there’s no influence from rap music but it’s not to blame for people struggling with drugs. In all honesty people have been struggling with substance use before rap music and before it was viewed as “cool”. I do believe the nature of rap music needs change and I have been noticing more rappers are breaking the substance use cycle and rapping more things of substance. (the irony)
So yeah those are pretty much my thoughts on rap and drugs. What are your thoughts on it? How do you feel about Mac Miller’s death? Is substance use disorder what you originally thought it was? Do you or someone you know struggles with substance use? If so please reach out to the national substance use line at   1-800-662-HELP. If you need help navigating my email is always open.
 Although I am a mental health professional my posts are in no way a substitute for diagnosing yourself or a substitute for treatment.

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