An addiction is a compulsion towards a substance or behaviour. This can include a physical addiction on a substance such as alcohol or drugs, or a behavioural addiction such as with sexual addiction or gambling. Whilst a physical addiction has the added disadvantage of chemical reactions in the body, both types of addiction will involve a psychological effect on the brain. It is possible to be suffering froman addiction without a physical dependence. It is also possible to have an addiction even if the substance/behaviour is not engaged with on a daily basis; an addiction occurs when the person is not in control of what they do.
Addiction As An Illness
Addiction is an illness in the same way that diabetes is. In fact, when someone is suffering with an addiction, they will often go through a lot of the same thoughts and feelings as when a person is first diagnosed with diabetes. This may include the denial stage, where an addict will continue with their destructive behaviour and a diabetic will not take medication. It may also include a lot of anger and upset about the fact that other people are not struggling with day to day life in the way that the addict or the diabetic is. And just as no-one chooses to become a diabetic; no-one chooses to become an addict. But what they can choose is to get help. Just as a diabetic can learn to manage their blood sugar level, so to can an addict learn to live a life in recovery.