If you have been on your phone or computer during the last week, there is no way that you are not aware of what is going on with Lamar Odom, the talented ex basketball player, and soon to be ex husband of Khloe Kardashian. For those of you who have not read the recent articlesabout what happened to Lamar, here is a quick overview: He was found last week in a brothel in Nevada unconscious. When he was taken to the hospital, it was discovered that he had been using cocaine, herbal viagra pills and large amounts of alcohol. He suffered from strokes, heart failure, and four of his major organs were failing. He was in a coma for just under a week, and is now making slow progress but it looks like he might need a kidney transplant along with several types of therapies.
If you want to read more about what happened to him, click this link.
The reason that I bring up Lamar Odom, is because it is clear that he battles with addiction. This is not the first event that have lead people to believe that he struggles with a drug addiction. On the outside, he has it all, or had it all for that matter. He was a multimillionaire, playing basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers, married to Khloe Kardashian, and the father of two. His life seemed utterly perfect, but it sure didn’t start out that way. He was raised in a rough neighborhood in Queens, New York. His mother died of colon cancer when he was twelve years old, his father was heroin addict who has been and out of his life, and his six month old son died from SIDS. The tragedy and struggles that he has faced make it easy to understand why he has battles of his own.
The recent happenings with Lamar Odom made me want to look further into how someones background and experiences contribute to their choices and vulnerability to addiction. According to this article, there are several factors that make someone more vulnerable to addiction. Young men and white people, children of drug abusers, people suffering from depression or bipolar disorder, people with very high IQ’s and sensitive people. (Lamar Odom is the child of a drug abuser and has struggled with depression).
was done of ten middle and high schools close to ground zero in New York City. This study found that kids who experienced traumatic factors surrounding the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol. The factors being looked at included; knowing someone who was killed on 9/11, fearing for ones own life or the life of a loved one, and how close their school was to the Twin Towers. Teens who had one of these factors were five times more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol than teens who were not exposed to any of these factors. The study also found that the teens who experienced all three of these factors were nineteen times more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol. This study fully supports the theory that people who are exposed to trauma as children have an increased risk of abusing drugs as adults. The information beneath the study in the article also claims that a combination of different types of stress caused by exposure to trauma plays the largest role in making someone vulnerable to substance abuse.
One may argue that what makes someone vulnerable to addiction is biological factors, not environmental ones. The age old nature versus nurture debate. According to this article from Rutgers University, it may be a a combination of biological and environmental factors that contribute to whether or not we are likely to suffer with addiction. Jay Tischfield, the director of Rutgers’ Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey says “What we’re learning is that there are susceptibilities to addiction that we inherit but that require an environmental trigger. What’s really new is the idea that the environment can, if you are from a genetically susceptible background, affect you to the extent that it changes your genetic make-up.”
And so we have it. It seems pretty convincing that what we experience as children plays a role in what we struggle with as adults. Traumatic experiences can actually make changes in our brains that make us susceptible to drug addiction. With all of the trauma that Lamar Odom has experienced in his life, it comes as no surprise that he is battling with addiction. It is a complete miracle that he is recovering physically, but he has a long way to go when it comes to battling this addiction mentally.