What is addiction

Among the many definitions and theories behind addiction, one such belief is that it is considered to be a chronic brain disorder.  Although treatable for most people, this brain disorder affects the person’s ability to control their habit.  In other words, regardless of the outcome of this, whether it is financial ruin, bad health, or even worse, death, that person cannot stop themselves from using the substance.  But what is meaning behind the term?

The term “addiction” can be described as a physical or psychological dependency, or more simply put, an obsession or compulsive need.  Examples of this may be compulsive eating, excessive gambling, or even the commonly known problem of alcoholism.  However, the medical term for it is when the body is dependant upon a substance or behavior in order to “function” properly.

Furthermore, the result of not having that substance can lead to withdrawal, a state in which your body craves the substance or behavior and will react in a way that will force the person to continue.  Reactions to the addiction can be severe physical and psychological illnesses.  What’s more, an addict can become this way even when the substance isn’t illegal like heroin.

There are many prescription drugs that have highly addictive qualities.  What may start as the need to control pain can turn into the drug addiction itself causing dependency, and in the end, more pain if it is not continued.  But what about other addiction like problems out there?

There are many different issues that people associate with addiction but that the medical community does not.  Such problems like gambling and eating disorders are commonly associated with the term.  These psychological dependencies deal with the compulsion to engage in these behaviors.  But regardless of the actual type of addiction, the course and causes are often the same.

In all of these instances, the brain and body react to the stimuli.  Over time, as the behavior or substance is used and practiced, the body and mind build up a tolerance which enhances the need.  It goes from a want to feel better, or more in control, to feeling that your survival depends on continuing.  But how does one realize when they have an addiction?

One of the symptoms of a person who is addicted is the development of a tolerance.  If you find that you need to engage in the activity, or use the substance more often or more of it in order to get the same feeling, then you may have developed an addiction.  Furthermore, it is also when you stop using or engaging in the activity and your body shows signs.

These signs can be painful cramps, vomiting, and the feeling of being on edge, and are called withdrawal symptoms. Also, most times there is a denial process where the person cannot admit they have a problem, perhaps pointing out that they only do it for enjoyment and relaxation.

The hardest part for these people can often be in admitting they have a problem.  Once a person can admit to their addiction, then and only then can they begin the road to recovery.