A recent ruling in a case where four people were left dead and nine injured has brought the term “affluenza” back into the spotlight.
With a blood alcohol level of 0.24, 16-year-old Ethan Couch crashed his truck into two parked cars in Texas back in June, when these injuries and deaths occurred at his hands. Once Couch received his sentence, a 10-year probation and treatment at a counseling center, people became irate – especially because Couch, a teenager from a high-class family with money, was seemingly getting off the hook.
The Connection Between Affluenza and Drugs
Affluenza is defined as a “psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt and a sense of isolation.” In other words, the term affluenza is reserved for privileged young people who feel as though they do not owe anybody anything while others owe them everything. In many cases, affluenza lends itself to the development of a drug problem, and for many reasons.
For example, a key characteristic for someone who has affluenza is thinking that nothing bad can happen to them. Therefore, they become more susceptible to experimenting and abusing drugs since they feel that they are protected from the side effects that happen to other individuals that use.
In addition, affluenza can cause young adults to use drugs because those around them often influence them at much higher levels than others. This means that someone with affluenza is going to give into peer pressure more frequently, as they are more focused on fitting in and being a part of the “it crowd” as opposed to blazing their own trail.
Affluenza can also cause extreme emotional pain, even if the individual is unaware of it. The stress of living in a high-class environment where everything is materialistic can create anxiety, and any time it becomes impossible to get what they want, depression, anger and irritability can ensue – all of which are common triggers of drug use.
The Importance of Staying Grounded
Getting lost in a world filled with people who suffer from affluenza can cause an individual to do the same as well. By getting wrapped up in this lifestyle, staying grounded can be completely out of reach. For many, the only way to become humble is to go through treatment for drug addiction, or to have to pay for consequences of actions in an appropriate way. It is this exact reason why there is a great deal of controversy surrounding Ethan Couch, as his most recent sentence keeps him from truly understanding the consequences of his own actions and his own personal bout with affluenza.