About Addiction

What is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as an uncontrollable need to do, use or take something. People can be addicted to food, drugs, or alcohol, for example, or they can be addicted to watching pornography, gambling, working, shopping, exercising, raging or sex. Whatever the source of the addiction, an action, or the substance, the addicted person can no longer control the need regardless of the negative consequences.

Addiction is considered a disease because it alters the chemistry and functioning of the brain. It is a complex disease that can be treated and managed, but it takes monitoring on a daily basis to maintain abstinence. The causes of addiction can be environmental, emotional, physical, biological and psychological. In most cases, addiction derives from a combination of all of the above.

Difference Between a Habit and Addiction

Sometimes, a person can suffer from a behavioral pattern that may have profound negative consequences on his or her life. However, if the individual wished to stop using the substance/activity, there would be little to no adverse effect. No serious psychological/physical component hindering a person’s ability to stop will occur.

When one is addicted, the body and the psyche are dependent upon the substance or the activity. The more one indulges, the more the mind and body grow to need the source of the addiction. There is a cycle of addiction that includes the ever increasing need to feed the addiction. These cravings lead to more substances and more frequently engaging in negative behaviors.

A person may try to stop, only to fail. The individual suffering from addiction will start using again at the level where he or she stopped. Addiction is a progressive disease. As the effects of the substance or activity wear off, the addict will experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Without help, the person struggling with addiction generally will not successfully move through withdrawal and will engage again in the substance or activity.

Signs of Addiction

In the general, addiction does not happen overnight. It takes time to alter the brain chemistry and the function of the brain to the point of addiction. In the beginning, there is a choice to use the substance/activity. There is always a line that is crossed when the addiction takes root, and the person cannot stop without help. Personality changes become apparent, and they are not subtle. These include but are not limited to:

  • Secrecy
  • Taking risks
  • Trouble with the law
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Avoidance of problems
  • Health problems
  • Financial problems
  • Moodiness
  • Alteration in sleep patterns
  • Poor hygiene
  • Denial

Signs of Withdrawal

When an addict stops using or engaging in an activity that is the source of the addiction, the body will go into withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal are not limited to the list below:

  • Physical cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Joint pain
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Shakes
  • Vomiting

Liberation Way provides addicts with a comprehensive, continuum of care that is based on ongoing psycho/social evaluations and individualized treatment plans. For more information about addiction and process addiction treatment, call now and get answers to all your questions. All information is strictly confidential.