The Artificial Joy

Katie Mahle, Lead Writer

When you enter high school it’s like entering another realm and you get to experience the high school parties that everyone talks about, and it’s not really what you’d expect. 

According to the Drug Abuse Statistics website, the U.S. has a blatant substance use problem where over 70,000 drug overdose deaths occur annually. Is it the substance that they are actually chasing or is it the feelings they crave?

In some drugs and alcohol, the feel-good chemical is dopamine. This chemical alters your brain’s chemistry, and it ends up being able to take control of both your behaviors and thoughts: it makes you feel happy in a state of depression. 

I think that this is a subject that is very overlooked. Perhaps it’s not all about feeling cool or accepted, rather the escape of depressed feelings. Students can feel overwhelmed from school, work, and other stressors in life that seem so impossible to solve. Perhaps either doing drugs or drinking alcohol serve as a false remedy because problems seem to fade in the moment. This tempting respite of drugs and alcohol serves to only magnify the unsolved problems.

The feeling of relaxation and euphoria, according to the Help Guide website, can be achieved through a good laugh as it “triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.”

What does this mean? It means that our friendships and our connections are at the base of whether or not we feel good. In fact, according to the Help Guide website, laughing with our friends and family may even help us live longer and lighten our anger load.  

So to all of you who struggle with hardships, find the joy in reading a book, walking with a friend, having an uncomfortable conversation, or simply releasing a deep laugh because those are the true dopamine risers. Chasing life connections is where we find joy.  Let’s normalize that.


Follow us

Check out more from Inklings