Civil and Constitutional Rights

A set of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement

On September 17, 1787, delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed what would be considered the United States of America’s most important document- the US Constitution. This constitution would guarantee every US citizen fundamental rights such as free speech and the right to a fair trial.

Over time, our constitution has added many new rights to the document, such as the right for women to vote and declaring everyone born in the US a legal citizen. As of now, the US Constitution has 27 amendments to its name.

Our constitution has also influenced many civil rights we now have today, like equal opportunities under the law. However, some of us may confuse civil rights with constitutional rights. That’s why we’re here to distinguish the difference between these two.

Civil Rights

The US Constitution may have influenced several of our civil rights to become laws, but these civil rights themselves are not in our constitution. When we have the right to participate in a society without discrimination or oppression, those are civil rights. Civil rights deal with our treatment by the government based on characteristics. Some of these characteristics protected under our civil rights laws are-

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • And more

The US has not always had these civil rights laws protecting some of these characteristics; we’ve had to have them added into our federal laws. One such law is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation and discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or national origin. The passing of this act was a significant move for the Civil Rights Movement for this very reason.

Other civil rights laws we have are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 (which prohibits discrimination against disabled people), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (which prohibits discrimination based on age), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 (which strengthens the Civil Rights Act of 1964).

Constitutional Rights

The US Constitution was signed in 1787 by delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Though it has 27 amendments now, this wasn’t always the case.

In 1789, a newly established US House of Representatives member named James Madison introduced 19 amendments to the constitution. Congress adopted 12 of the 19 amendments on September 25. The first 10 ratified became a part of our constitution on December 10, 1791. These are the Bill of Rights and include-

  • Freedom of speech
  • Right to a fair and quick trial by an impartial jury
  • Right to peacefully assemble
  • Right to bear arms
  • Protection from unreasonable search and seizure

Since ratifying the Bill of Rights in 1791, 17 new amendments have been added to our constitution. These amendments include the right for women to vote, the prohibition of slavery, and the declaration that everyone born in the US is a legal citizen.

What separates these rights from civil rights is that they are written in the constitution, which grants all these rights to every US citizen.

Conclusion

On September 17, 1787, delegates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the US Constitution. Since then, it has added new amendments and influenced the passing of several of our civil rights laws. The US Constitution and these civil rights laws are what make the US.

Addiction

Compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

Addiction

Addiction has affected millions of people for many generations. When we think of addiction, we usually think about drug addiction. However, there are many other things we can get addicted to, like social media and gambling.

What else can we get addicted to? What causes addiction? Can we treat it? We’re here to answer those questions and more here.

Type of Addictions

When we talk about addiction, we tend to think about drug or alcohol addiction. While those two are the most common, those aren’t the only addictions. Other addictions are-

  • Television
  • Social media
  • Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Gaming
  • And more

Addiction is a slippery slope. When we first use or do something, our brain releases dopamine as a reward. This reward causes cravings, the first sign of addiction. When we continue to use or do something, we eventually tolerate it, which produces less dopamine. That means we’ll have to use or do more to get that high.

We lose interest in what we used to love because those interests don’t release as much dopamine as what we’re addicted to. Eventually, we lose control. This results in job loss, relationship problems, health issues, and more.

There are two types of addictions- chemical addiction and behavioral addiction. Chemical addiction refers to the usage of substances like drugs and alcohol, while behavioral addiction refers to compulsive behaviors that we carry out even if there is no benefit.

What Causes Addiction?

Many factors cause addiction, but the main three we’ll be looking at are genetics, mental health disorders, and environmental factors.

Genetics are traits passed down from parents to children, accounting for around 40 to 60% of our risk of addiction. Addiction is considered moderate to high in heritability, meaning our genes can impact risks the closer the genetic relationship is. Some substances, like cannabis, have a higher genetic risk than others.

What is also genetic is a mental health disorder. Those with said disorders are more at risk for addiction than other populations. Mentally ill people tend to use drugs for self-medication to cope with their mental health issues. Those with anxiety, conduct, or mood disorders are twice as likely to deal with addiction.

Of course, genetics do not always play a role in addiction. The environment matters, too. Living in an unstable or abusive household makes us more likely to become addicted. Other environmental factors that may cause addiction include-

  • Peer pressure
  • Presence of drugs at home/school
  • Community attitude and influence
  • Poor academic achievements
  • Parental drug use and criminal activity
  • Trauma (abuse, witnessing violence, divorce, etc.)

Treatment

There are many ways to treat addiction and its root causes. Some of the most popular treatments are residential treatment centers and therapy. Most residential treatment centers offer psychotherapy and addiction counseling to help with recovery. There are also support groups where we can recover with others dealing with addiction.

In some cases, medication can prevent relapses for those dealing with substance abuse, but it’s typically used in combination with other methods.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for treatment, so we must try some methods to see which ones will work best for us.