Are you worried that you or someone close to you is suffering from an addiction? Help is at hand. Our addiction pages give you all the information you’ll need about addiction to alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs, gambling, and sex and love. They also tell you about dual diagnosis and eating disorders. You’ll learn what to look out for and how to get you or a loved one the best possible treatment.
Your road to a healthy, long-term recovery starts here.
Addiction creates havoc and pain not only for the substance abuser but also for their family and friends. Once the individual becomes trapped in the downward spiral of chronic alcohol and drug abuse they can look forward to a steady deterioration in their life circumstances and relationships. If they are unable to escape their addiction they will be heading towards insanity and an early death. Substance abuse destroys everything of value in a person’s life so it is vital that they get help as soon as possible. The sooner the addict is able to end the addiction the less they will lose. There are also other maladaptive behaviours such as gambling that may not lead to physical dependence but the individual becomes mentally hooked – they suffer many of the same consequences as other addicts.
What is Addiction?
The word addiction tends to be overused to apply to any examples of overindulgence. In reality something is only really an addiction when it begins to cause problems for the individual and those who are close to them. When it comes to alcohol and drugs it is said that addiction involves both physiological and psychological dependence. To say that a person is physiological dependent means that:
- They have developed an increased tolerance for the substance and so will need to take more of it to get the same effect.
- The individual will develop unpleasant withdrawal symptoms should they attempt to reduce their intake of the drug or quit altogether. It is fear of these withdrawal symptoms that can make people afraid of ending their addiction – even though they are rarely any worse than flu symptoms.
Psychological dependence means that the individual feels that they have to take these substances in order to cope with life. Even the idea of reducing their intake or quitting and fill them full of dread and anxiety. This psychological dependence also means that the individual will experience cravings for the substances. This is a deep inner urge to use alcohol or drugs – even those who have been sober for many years can sometimes still experience occasional cravings for the substances that they once abused.
Addiction can occur with certain behaviours as well as with alcohol and drugs – it can be used to refer to anything that is causing problems for the individual. These maladaptive means of coping can be as destructive in the person’s life as any other type of addiction.
Types of Addiction
There are many different substances and maladaptive behaviours that people can become addicted to including: