What Is Addiction? Addiction is the uncontrollable use of a substance or behavior. When an individual has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, he or she can no longer control how much or how often they use the drug or alcohol. The lack of control stems from the damages that these substances have caused to the brain, creating constant cravings for more of the substance. The changes these substances cause in the brain then cause behavioral changes and the individual sometimes becomes angry or even violent. Over time, the addiction becomes worse and the individual eventually needs more alcohol or more drugs in order to get the same feeling as they did before. This is because the body becomes more tolerant to these substances and needs more to get the same reaction. When the substance abuse has progressed this far, overdose often occurs because the person is desperately trying to get the desired effects. In many cases, death is often the outcome for these unfortunate individuals.
Most people today believe addiction is only possible with illicit street drugs, but in today’s world, there are a wide variety of addictive substances and behaviors that ruin millions of lives annually. Prescription drug abuse, over-the-counter drug abuse, huffing, hoarding, porn, internet, sex, food, alcohol, marijuana and gambling are all serious addictions in society today. Far too many individuals suffer addiction to two or more of these behaviors or substances simultaneously, and recovery is only possible by entering a treatment program designed to address each addiction and any other contributing factors such as chronic health issues, emotional problems or environmental issues.
Identifying the Problem
In order to determine what is an addiction, there are a variety of signs and symptoms that reveal whether addiction is present. When a substance becomes the priority in a person’s life this is a good indication they have developed an addiction.
Addiction is evident when it interferes with work or if the person prioritizes their substance over a spouse or loved one. When the individual loses interest in activities that were once important to them and neglects personal hygiene and appearance, it is a good sign they may be addicted to a substance.
Erratic or secretive behavior, financial problems, failing in school, loss of job, arrests or jail-time are also good indicators that an addiction has developed. Of course, these behaviors are not always connected to substance abuse, but they are signs to look for if you have reason to believe that your loved one is using drugs or alcohol.
Admitting the Problem
A family member who wants their loved one to go into a rehab facility could try to get them to recognize their addiction by asking , “What is an addiction?” If the person tries to evade answering the question, they are in denial. Convincing a person that they have a problem is the first stage in getting the help they need. This step is very difficult because most addicts do not want treatment, they want to continue using their substance of choice, or they simply believe that they are in control of the situation. Overcoming denial is crucial in helping them move forward towards treatment.
When an addicted person cannot overcome denial and admit they need help, family and friends should join together and conduct an intervention to convince the addict to enter treatment right away. Continuing their drug or alcohol abuse will only result in serious negative consequences for the individual and for their family. Most addicts are unable to recognize or admit that they are causing a great deal of suffering for their loved ones. Their main focus is on themselves and their drug of choice, everything else is just a blur or an annoyance. It isn’t easy breaking through this drug-induced, self-absorbed behavior, but it can be accomplished with the right approach.
Once they are inside a rehab facility, the client will be asked about their personal condition, preferences and feelings. This gives counselors a better idea of where to begin treatment with this client. The client also needs acceptance and reassurance that they have done the right thing by deciding to do what it takes to recover. In a residential facility they are given all the time they need to learn about the reasons behind their addiction, and can find a counselor available anytime night or day when they need to talk with someone or just need some encouragement.
Addiction Recovery is Not Easy for the Addict
Once a person faces the fact that he or she has an addiction, they have taken the first step to recovery. Addiction recovery is not an easy process, but it is a process that is necessary to go on to a brighter and healthier future.
If you are an addict and ready to seek treatment, call today to learn how we can help you overcome this powerful force in your life.
Addiction Makes You Feel Powerless
Addiction is powerful. It can leave even the strongest person feeling weak and helpless. Many who get help for their addiction sometimes relapse and this leaves them feeling even more powerless against the substance. Some individuals can be sober for years before relapsing. Relapse occurs when an individual who has been sober for a period of time begins to drink or use drugs again. Sometimes this happens because the individual feels they can no longer fight the cravings or because they are around something or someone that triggers the urge to drink or use again.
The good news is, there are many individuals who do not relapse. These are individuals who received professional help from those trained in addiction treatment such as facilities that offer aftercare services. Aftercare is a crucial aspect of recovery because it offers recovering addicts continuing support and guidance during the difficult transition back into society and gives them the sense that they are not alone. An effective aftercare program can make all the difference in the overall recovery outcome.
Contact Us For an Answer to the Question, “What is Addiction?”
The stigma surrounding addiction suggests that it is the result of poor choices and weak character, but this is not entirely true. The initial decision to use a substance is usually made by choice, but the individual did not intentionally decide to become an addict. Most addictions begin by someone wanting to fit in with the crowd or just to have a little fun, but many drugs are so highly addictive that one use can result in addiction. Once the powerful substances take control, the person is unable to make the decision to stop due to chemical changes in their brain that affect behavior and decision making abilities. Intense cravings are produced and if the drug is withheld, withdrawal symptoms can appear, forcing the person to take more of the substance..
If you are asking, “What is Addiction?” please contact one of our trained counselors for advice. They will be happy to answer your questions and can also recommend a program if you are ready to seek treatment for yourself or for a loved one.