Addiction used to be associated only with the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Today, this term also implies gambling, use of various substances, excessive eating, exercising, etc. Addiction occurs when a person finds some behavior enjoyable and engages in something excessive to cope with life. Unfortunately, over time, addiction causes more problems than it helps solve.
Important Things about Addiction That You Should Know
• There are many substances, but which of them can cause an addition? According to the DSM, psychoactive substances, including drugs, are considered to be addictive;
• Some people disagree that certain behaviors can be considered addiction, and more research is required. Anyway, the DSM categorizes gambling addiction as a disorder;
• It takes some time for addiction to develop, but using the substance for only one time can also have negative consequences. For instance, health problems or even death can occur due to overdose;
• There is no opinion on whether it is necessary to avoid behaviors causing addiction absolutely, such as drinking, shopping, having sex, etc. This should be decided along with your doctor;
• If you use the substance, it is not always a sign of addiction, although such behavior can cause a range of social and health risks.
When Does Addiction Occur?
Although there are different symptoms of addiction, the following two factors allow understanding if it takes place:
• Addiction causes problems for a person or people around him or her. It does not help solve problems, but makes the situation even worse. For instance, a gambler wants to win more money, but his/her addiction leads to losing all the money instead. A person addicted to alcohol wants to relax and have some good time, but instead, it causes depression. A person with addiction to sex wants intimacy, but this behavior prevents him/her from building closeness;
• Addictive behavior tends to develop causing more and more problems. If you frequently engage in certain activities causing problems in your life, you may be addicted.
Is It Addiction if You Still Enjoy It?
This is wrong, because addictive people are associated with unhappiness, and when people are able to enjoy their behavior, they tend to think that it is not an addiction. Their addictive habits can become a part of their life, so they rarely or even never experience withdrawal symptoms. Also, they may take withdrawal symptoms for something else, like aging, working too much, etc. It is possible to be addictive for years and have no clue about this problem.
A person with illegal addiction may blame other people for narrow-mindedness, posing himself/herself as a free-minded person, but really addictions limit people’s freedom, because they become restricted in what they can do.
Addictive people are focused on providing conditions for their addictive behavior and relieving withdrawal symptoms, which means that they cannot enjoy many life experiences that make people’s life happy and full. Over time, an addicted person can finally understand how much has been missed in his/her life because of addiction. This understanding often occurs when people fight this problem.
If It Doesn’t Cause Any Harm, Is It Still a Problem?
Addictions are recognized by causing problems for a person or people around him/her. One of the major problems associated with addiction is that a person cannot recognize the harm it does. He/she may deny the negative consequences of addiction, ignoring affecting his/her health, life choices, relationships, etc. Addictive people tend to blame other people or circumstances for their difficulties.
The problems that addiction causes are hard to recognize if this is the only way used by a person to cope with his/her life. Some problems are obvious, for instance, health issues, but some may be difficult to recognize, for instance, relationship problems.
Unfortunately, some people with addiction understand all the problems this condition causes in their life, but despite this they continue to do the same. One of the reasons for that is that people believe that they cannot live without their addiction. Some think that they cannot deal with other issues distracted by addiction, such as being abused in childhood. Also, people just do not know other ways to enjoy their life.
All the harm occurred due to addiction can be recognized when a person undergoes a crisis, which happens when addictive substances or behavior are taken away, and he/she starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Also, the crisis can occur as a consequence of addiction, such as losing a job, serious health problems, breaking relationships, etc.
What Can You Do If You Suspect Addiction?
Often people live without realizing that they have an addiction. This is the first stage. If you suspect that you have this problem, you have probably moved further to the next stage. This is the right time to find out more about your addiction and admit that you have certain symptoms.
There are various symptoms typical for addiction that depend on many different factors. Addictive people will put their addiction over other important things in their life, including work, family, etc. Also people with addiction often lose interest in other aspects of life or activities.
After realizing that they may have been addicted, lots of people try to change the situation. Some are able to do it easily without major problems, but many people have to cope with withdrawal symptoms, uncomfortable feelings and other negative factors. If you find yourself experiencing such problems or if you try to stop your addiction to drugs or alcohol, you should resort to medical help. If you stop using some drugs but then want to go on, you may have overdose, various mental problems and even life-threatening complications. The treatment of such addictions should be conducted under medical supervision.
Is It Possible to Live with Addiction?
There are addictive people who want to leave things as they are, or they have tried to change something, but failed. Doctors recommend reducing addiction gradually. Using self-help resources may also be helpful for those people.
If you find yourself addicted and have certain difficulties with solving this problem by yourself, you should know that there is help is available. You can begin with learning more about addiction and how it affects you. This will help you control the situation and reduce the harm caused. This will be the first step to setting yourself free from this dependence.
What You Should Do Next
It is important to get the right diagnosis, and it is not that scary as it sounds. If you want to try something else, you should try to join self-help groups and get in touch with people coping with the same situation as you are. This is how you can understand that you are not the only one experiencing such difficulties and find out how people try to deal with this situation. Do not be afraid of difficulties, but try to sort them out one by one.