Addiction is commonly perceived as a rather broad term but has a precise meaning. Moreover, addiction is not just a compulsion or highly-enjoyable activity. It is the engagement in a behavior, which may or may not be related to substances, that a person is compelled to continue despite the adverse consequences they incur as a result.
In other words, real addiction has an impact on a person’s physical and/or emotional well-being, and also negatively affects those around him or her. Examples are drug or alcohol abuse or process addictions related to personal pursuits, such as gambling, shopping, sex, etc. A person can become addicted to a variety of substances, behaviors, and activities, and more often than not, a person who is addicted to something will become addicted to something else.
Most Common Addictions
Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders are among the most commonly known addictions. Although people often think of these as being related to illicit drugs or alcohol, they can also involve tobacco, caffeine, and prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Such addictions involve the development of tolerance and dependence. Tolerance occurs following repeated use of a substance and results in the person needing increasing amounts to achieve the desired effect. Dependence, when it develops, will result in a person experiencing adverse physical or emotional symptoms when they attempt to stop using the substance.
As a result, people with a chemical dependence will find it extremely challenging to quit, and will, in fact, continue to use even in the face of devastating consequences.
Process or Behavioral Addictions
Addictions that are centered around an activity, such as gambling, exercising, or playing video games, lack a direct chemical component. Nonetheless, these are similar in many ways to substance addictions in that feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, are affected. They may also be incredibly difficult to control and equally devastating physically and emotionally to the person suffering as well as his or her loved ones.
Are You Addicted?
The primary elements that separate addictions from mere overindulgences include (1) the inability to cut back on the use of a substance or engagement in a behavior despite attempts to do so and (2) adverse effects that are experienced as a result.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself if you feel that you are losing control in certain areas of your life, including the following:
- Do you feel guilty about your substance abuse or behaviors?
- Do you feel you are engaging in these behaviors too often or at times when they are inappropriate?
- Is your substance abuse or other activities adversely affecting your health, livelihood, and those around you?
Addictions, especially those that are severe, tend to leave people feeling isolated, alone, and helpless. Whether the addiction is related to heroin, alcohol, gambling, or sex, it can result in a person’s life spinning out of control, physical and mental turmoil, and family and social problems that can drive a person further into its grips.
If you are questioning whether your behavior is indicative of addiction, the chances are good that there is a valid reason for concern. You may not have hit “rock bottom,” so to speak, but it is probable that you are finding it challenging to control specific behaviors and that others have brought this issue to your attention, as well.
It’s important to remember, however, that even relatively mild problems can benefit from treatment. In fact, the earlier that a burgeoning addiction is addressed, the better the outcome will be. The most detrimental mistake that a person can make is to wait for things to get worse before asking for help.
Getting Treatment for Addiction
Addiction is a mental health condition and can be found in many forms. Also, we are all individuals, and as such, our addictions are as unique as we are. Fortunately, there is professional help available for virtually any type of addiction. There are always going to be other people struggling with the same or similar issues, and modern treatment programs are customized and designed to address the specific needs and goals of individuals who need help and support.
The first step in reclaiming your life from active addiction is to seek help. Just Believe Recovery offers integrated, individualized programs designed to treat all aspects of a person’s physical and emotional health and well-being. We use a holistic approach that addresses the underlying factors that contribute to substance use disorders, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, childhood trauma, and more.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are motivated to make a change for the better, we urge you to contact us today to discuss treatment options. We are committed to helping those who need it most develop the skills necessary to navigate the recovery process and maintain long-lasting sobriety and wellness!