Let’s do basic research on addiction
Ask someone close to you to describe a person struggling with addiction. They will usually give a stereotypical description of someone addicted to ‘hard’ drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
When the word ‘Addiction’ is mentioned, our mind often scrambles down to drug abuse or the excessive use of alcohol in few cases.
The fact is addiction is more than these, way more. It is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the lifestyles of people so we’ll like to consider addiction a little deeper than our stereotypical considerations.
Based on the scientific classification, there are different types of addictions. However, in this article, we consider the two most recognized forms of addiction – chemical and behavioral.
First, what are the general signs?
- Lack of control, or inability to stay away from a substance or behavior
- Decreased interaction with people or withdrawals
- Ignoring risks and negative consequences of behavior
- Physical effects such as withdrawal symptoms in cocaine use
- Unusual behavioral patterns
- Changes in physical appearance
- Use and abuse of substances or continued behavior despite health challenges
- Dealing with problems as a result of using the substance or engaging in the behavior
- Legal issues or financial difficulties
This category is also called substance abuse. It involves a pattern of substance use that causes significant problems or distress. It may lead to substance-related legal problems. Additionally, continued substance use can interfereswith friendships and family relationships. It involves the abuse of legal (alcohol or prescription medicines), illegal (e.g. cocaine, heroin), and other substances (e.g. inhalants like spray paints).
Substance use and abuse can lead to substance dependency. Substance dependence describes a situation where there is continuous abuse of substances even when there are significant and evident problems arising from the abuse of such substances. Substance dependency is characterized by;
- Need for an increased amount of substance to get an effect.
- The revelation of withdrawal symptoms when a person decrease or stop using the substance.
- Spending lots of time to get, use and recover from the effects of the substance.
- Withdrawal from social and recreational activities.
- Uneasy with people and surroundings.
- Continued use despite the knowledge that a physical or psychological challenge is caused or exacerbated by the substance
This category can be treated with detoxification, medication, and therapy.
This form of addiction is least considered as an addiction because it involves activities we classify as ‘normal’. Thus, this makes it hard to believe people can become addicted.
It is the compulsive nature of the behavior that is often indicative of behavioral addiction. The individual continues to engage in the behavior despite the negative consequences.
The individual may find the behavior psychologically rewarding, but may also feel guilty. They may feel remorse or even overwhelmed by the consequences of the continued choice.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Disorders (DSM -5), gambling disorder is the only recognized disorder. Nonetheless, many healthcare providers specify other behavioral patterns that meet the criteria. The types of addictive behaviors include, but not exclusive to;
- Video Game
These behaviors can lead to real problems in an individual’s life, functioning, and relationships. They have the tendency of creating distress and are difficult to change.
It is sometimes difficult to identify when an addiction sets in. Understanding the addictive process and the danger signs that come with these behaviors is critical. These signs include;
- Spending a consistently large amount of your time in thinking, preparation, and/or engaging in such behaviors.
- Dependency on the behavior as a way to cope with emotions.
- Indulging in the behavior despite harm
- Neglecting other important activities in order to engage in the behavior.
- Minimizing or hiding the extent of the problem.
This category of addiction can be treated with therapy.
Managing addictions can be difficult because it is embedded in the brains’ reward system. However, it is important to note that it is treatable.
You can send us a message if you will like to get help for an addiction.
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