Addiction is a mental disorder in which a person will either consume a substance or engage in an activity which becomes a compulsive need and interferes with day-to-day ordinary life. Addiction is defined by not having control over your compulsions, or what you are taking or using to the point that it could become harmful to you. When a person is addicted to something, they will experience withdrawals once they cease consuming the substance or engaging in the activity they are addicted to. When you first hear the word ‘addiction’, the majority of people typically think about drugs, alcohol and gambling. Whereas a person can actually become addicted to just about almost anything, some other common addictions include:
- The internet
- Food / Drinks
A person who is suffering from addiction problems may not be aware of their behaviour or the problems it is causing for themselves and those around them. This can make them far less likely to accept treatment as they do not see a problem with their ways, and they may even refuse to accept that they do have a problem, which is what can make addiction so difficult to treat; but it can be done, and it can be done successfully.
When a person is aware of their addiction, the strain of managing it can still cause serious problems in your life, work and relationships. Depending on what addiction you have, it can also cause a number of serious psychological and physical effects. It can also be used as a way of blocking out difficult issues, which may provide a temporary solution initially, but it will soon add to your problems rather than solve them. Addiction is a mental illness than can affect people of all ages from all backgrounds, therefore it should be treated as one. Addiction is capable of destroying lives of the people who suffer from it, as well as those around them, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As I will discuss later, there are treatments available for addiction, and the subject should be approached with understanding and care rather than negativity. Encourage those suffering from addiction to get the help they require.
What Causes Addiction?
There are a huge range of reasons of why addictions begin. Although some studies suggest that addiction is genetic, environmental factors are also thought to increase the risk of addiction.
In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms or what is known as a ‘come down’, the person would have to continue their consumption of a substance or engaging in the particular activity they are addicted to. The reason addicts do this is because withdrawal symptoms are often extremely unpleasant can last lengthy durations of time, therefore it is easier for the said person to continue taking or doing what they are addicted to and the cycle continues. As with a lot of addictions, in order to achieve the same satisfaction or high, the user will often have to take or do more to achieve the same effect; which is where addictions often get out of control.
Some people may suffer from an addictive personality disorder, this makes that individual predisposed to developing an addiction. They may experience feelings of depression and anxiety which are managed by developing an addiction to a substance or activity. This also means that an addict is more prone to experience feelings of anxiety, anger, and depression.
Addiction is a treatable condition, which can be treated and managed in a number of ways, regardless of what the addiction may be. In order to receive the help you require, you should go to a professional for treatment; whether that be a doctor, counsellor, therapist, rehab centre, psychiatrist or maybe even a combination of them.
The first phase of treatment is detoxification or withdrawing from the substance or activity the individual is addicted to, this is the process in which the body will rid itself of a substance if the addiction is substance related. Following this behavioural therapy and counselling would take place, they are important parts of addiction treatment as they help the person to identify, avoid and cope with situations in which they are most likely to abuse substances or activities. Family therapy may also be used in order to help the patient maintain a supportive environment, as well as improve family functioning. Depending on the addiction, medication may also be used as a treatment, this is typically for those suffering from a substance addiction. There will also be an evaluation as well as treatment for any coexisting mental health problems within the patient. Rehabilitation programs and long-term follow ups are often used to help patients gain necessary job and life skills as well as to prevent relapse.