Tuesday 16th of July 2019
Addiction means losing control and using a substance or carrying out actions that can become harmful to your health. The need and want to do so can spiral and begin to seep into other areas of your life.
So, what is addiction? It is generally associated with gambling, drugs and alcohol, as they’re the most commonly abused substances and activities; but there are other addictive behaviours.
That includes sex, technology and even shopping. Studies have now revealed that 1 in 3 people are diagnosed with addiction of some kind, and for all we know, there could be more out there with issues of dependence.
Many people ask: ‘what is addiction?’ and we are here to answer that. We take a look at addiction and the definition, as well as signs of an addict. There are many types of cravings and dependences and we find out how you can treat addictions.
Addiction is the condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity.
However, it is a little more complex than that, and it can be defined in various ways. This includes the need and want to use or participate in a harmful activity or substance, again and again. It can exacerbate and take over everything, this then effects lifestyle, jobs and relationships.
It is constantly being studied and that is why it can sometimes be difficult to extract the information or meanings that you want. If you know somebody who may be struggling, or you feel that you’re falling victim to addiction then read our signs below and find out if you or somebody you know may have a problem.
American Society of Addiction Medicine describe it as chronic disease. It is one that involves brain reward and relief through activities or substances. This can affect memory, motivation and more.
Some of the common types of addiction include:
When talked about, many of us assume it is one of the famous three- drugs, gambling or alcohol. They are the most talked about and are predominant dependencies.
There are various types of addiction in this day and age, with unlimited access to modern technology and the Internet, it has put fuel on the fire for some potential addictions.
The types widely vary, and some may even appear as opposites. It may even come as a shock that sex, food and work can become addictive, to the point where it negatively affects your lifestyle, relationships and health.
Each type is different to another and every individual is also different too. There can be a number of factors, causes and ways to treat.
The complexity means that causes and triggers vary for every individual. It can come down to a lack of contentment, escape from reality or other problems we may not have been aware of, that lead to being addicted.
Let’s move away from subjective causes and delve into the scientific explanations that have been put into layman’s terms. There is a reward circuitry that provides a rush of feel-good chemicals. Indulging in substances is an initial relief and reward, but during an addictive disorder we can lose our control and ability to abstain. This can have serious long-term effects on our mental and physical health. Damaging pathways in the process, it becomes increasingly difficult to regain self-control.
When addicting to drugs or alcohol, it is often said that what initially starts of as a reward system or an act to “feel good” soon becomes a mere activity to escape withdrawal symptoms. Using drugs or alcohol then becomes something that is done to make those that are addicted feel “normal”.
There are other factors that can contribute to causes. If you’re exposed to a drug, gambling or alcohol from an early age then there’s an increased chance that you could be affected. Genetics play a key role, although, just because it runs in your family does not necessarily mean that you will become an addict. Usually, it comes down to various factors- including that of genes, early exposure, lifestyle, circumstances and environment.
Studies have also shown that those without support or a forum to be able to express, can turn to drugs. The way in which somebody who experiments can make all the difference, if you are feeling alone whilst suffering with trauma or mental issues, then you could be more susceptible to the illness.
If you are trying to assess someone’s behaviour and whether or not they may have an addiction, then you should keep an eye out for specific signs. The same applies when trying to work out if you are addicted to something yourself.
There are also emotional behaviours that often come with being addicted to something.
Some behaviour can differ depending on each person, but generally you will find people that are addicted to something, act in these ways. From an emotional perspective you will see personality changes and emotional affects that are listed second, in our bullet points.
For more information on ‘what is addiction?’ please make sure to get in touch with our team.
Dealing with those that have a dependence is no easy feat, and that is because of the aforementioned issues. If you wish to help somebody, then you should act on the advice given below.
Before taking an in-depth view of treating addiction, let’s try to understand the stages. Addiction, like other illnesses, progresses and changes- it has phases that have listed.
Many organisations and programmes have concluded that there are four stages addicts go through
The way in which your brain functions during the first stage is largely different to that of the final stage. Chemically and emotionally, a lot changes during that time.
Depending on the thing somebody is addicted to, it can change the way in which it effects people. One thing we can all agree on, regardless of the addiction there will be harmful consequences.
Generally, it is physical and mental health that suffer, whatever the add obsession, there will be stress, sadness and mood swings. Physically, drugs and alcohol are very damaging, you could get HIV, Heart Disease, Cancer and Neurological damage. If you feel as though there’s a lack of physical issues as a result of certain dependencies, then you’re wrong- because even shopping can take its toll on your body, as an addiction will always bring stress and this eventually affects us in numerous ways.
Damaging and health problems include:
Different substances and addictions have their own problems, both mentally and physically. When listing all of the problems together, you get to see exactly how hazardous it is to fall ill with the disease.
Now you know the answer to ‘what is addiction?’ you may want to know how to treat it.
It is classed as a disease or illness by many and once addicted it’s hard to wean off the substance or activity. Real treatment should concentrate on an individual getting their life back. As it works its way into all areas of life and eventually ruins your entire livelihood and relationships
There are various ways to tackle the illness and as well as finding the source that led you to being addicted, you will also need to treat all of the mental illness that the dependence has brought to the forefront.
Here are just a few ways to treat addiction:
Whether you’re trying to treat your addiction or help somebody else- you can take steps today. It doesn’t have to be a one-off action and it should be something that’s taken seriously, this means applying steps and ensuring support.
If you want more information on addiction and how to treat it, then fill in our form. We have a team of professionals that can talk to you, their understanding goes a long way. They are available to discuss with those struggling with the addiction or with friends and family. Leave your details and we will have somebody get in touch as soon as possible.
Get treatment, therapy and use online support or groups to help. Below, these groups will be able to assist you as well as connect you to forums and support.
Simply trying to go “cold turkey” is often not good enough, one of the biggest parts of going ‘sober’ or refraining from a harmful activity is support. The mentioned groups, as well as our team provide lots of assistance. We can help you understand addiction better, as well as point you in the right direction.
For more information on ‘what is addiction?’, please get in touch with our team.