Why cant welfare recipients just get themselves together!? Why are so many of them doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and going nowhere!? Why do we feel we were able to pick ourselves up, but they can’t seem to? I’ll be discussing all that, and more, today on A Life Learned; stick around to learn more An idea can escape! Ideas are bulletproof! *chimes* Hello everyone! My name is Becca, and this is my channel A Life Learned. It’s easy when we’re so far removed from the factors that cause addiction, to be unaware that it’s much more than personal failing. That’s why anecdotal evidence can be so damning in this conversation, because many can readily think of examples that support their distaste for the impoverished. But studies, as well as various different real-life examples, (through drug testing done in various different states), have shed light on the fact that only a small portion of recipients actually do any drugs at all; and most of them are actually cannabis users, (which is slowly becoming legalized, meaning it’s not an illicit drug); and of that small portion of people, only about four percent of all recipients ever actually become an addict. But even though that number might be smaller than most would assume, it’s still worth asking: why are these people turning to drugs and alcohol, when they should be spending what little they have on food and shelter? And the answer, in short, is that drug use and addiction have no one single cause, but poverty is a very large contributing factor Research suggests that literacy, education, income inequality, and unemployment are also factors that lead to drug abuse, but as you might note, these are also all factors of poverty as well Studies have basically found that living with constant scarcity creates a particular psychology which produces many of the behaviours that unfortunately reinforce impoverished lifestyles. Being poor means coping not just with lack of money, but with a continuous lack of cognitive resources as well! Scarcity causes the brain to spend a great deal of time focusing on what it doesn’t have, and leaving very little time for much else, which directly impedes on people’s ability to focus, process information, or engage in life in general! Put simply, this means that the many stresses and pressures that the impoverished face on a daily basis have a cognitive impact comparable to the average person losing a full night’s sleep; but unlike sleep, they can’t just go to bed and catch up on it. These cognitive impairments are what they grow up around, and must live with every single day So simply by not having enough, the poor experience actual chemical changes in their brain that have detrimental impacts on their IQs and socio- emotional functioning within society This is what contributes to the poor decision-making, poor demeanour, poor self-control, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, as well as many other mental health and behavioural issues that we see amongst the impoverished. And these impaired cognitive abilities, combined with the increased violence and trauma that the impoverished tend to be exposed to, are huge contributing factors to why some welfare recipients become addicts It said by professionals that it’s encountering stress in your environment that tends to cause an addiction to manifest, and particularly experiencing trauma, (especially severe stress during childhood), can make some people that much more prone to it. Furthermore, oftentimes drugs and alcohol are more easily accessible in impoverished neighborhoods, to both children and adults alike, due to an increased influx of them through caregivers doing illicit drugs, as well as gang activity, and drug trafficking in general. Thus an impoverished person may abuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for the pain they experience from the severe chronic stressors and strain. So in summary, those on welfare are more often than not, staying away from drugs because they simply can’t afford it, more than anything. But of that four percent that are falling into addiction, it’s very important to note that their situations are not the result of faulting character, but rather just a response to the way their brains have been shaped by their circumstances Living in poverty creates a mental state that can lead to drug abuse, which thus leads to addiction, and can beget crime, which thus leads to worsened employment prospects. There is a great deal of research today supporting the fact that poverty is a systemic issue, not simply the fault of those suffering it; and that addiction is a mental health issue, not simply the result of bad character. So try to take a minute to step back from your anecdotal experiences, and see that the issues of poverty and addiction actually come down to issues of human psychology and social inclusion. In the case of welfare recipients and addicts alike, they are isolated, condemned and shamed for being put in circumstances that no human brain could reasonably escape without help! So continuing to see them as the cause of their own demise is only going to worsen the many issues that poverty is imposing on society. What these people need is help and compassion; equal opportunity and inclusion in society, not more isolation and alienation through shame and hate And I should know, as I’ve been a recipient of various different social assistance programs, (feel free to check out the other videos I’ve done about that in the cards), but with that I’ve done a lot of research on this area too, and I’ve learned about various different ways that we can address this issue. One approach that’s actually garnering a great deal of discussion throughout many different governments is called Universal Basic Income, (again feel free to check out the card for more information about that). This idea would also, of course, have to be coupled with addiction therapy in order to help some of the people that were discussing with in this video, but the point is: it is a good step in the right direction! So what are your thoughts, or experiences with this subject? Are there any approaches that you can think of that might help people in these various different situations? Have you ever found yourself on welfare, or addicted to a substance, or both? If so, please do share your experience below of how you overcome it, or how you’re working on it now Either way, please do try to keep the conversation constructive and productive In the end the point of discussion should not be victory of opinion, but progress of understanding. So let’s get talking about how we can make progress on these issues, because ultimately poverty and addiction to affect us all, directly or indirectly, and as always, please do join me again next week, where I try again to share a little something I’ve learned in life!