“What is Addiction?”

Addiction is a condition when a person engages excessively in ingesting a substance or engaging in an activity.

The behavior is shown in order to feel good or to avoid feeling bad. Addictions often start after a traumatic event or a long stretch of stress.

Those that have an addiction may not be aware of the behavior leaving it to go more out of control. This not only causes more problems for themselves, but those around them too.

Physical addiction: Physical addiction is when the body has become dependent on  the ingested substance. A person with a physical addiction feels strong symptoms of withdrawal when they try to stop and recover from the addiction.

Psychological addiction: Psychological addiction is when the persons cravings for a substance or activity come from an emotional desire rather than physical dependence.The power of the mind and strength of the addiction can produce symptoms of withdrawal like those with a physical addiction.

Common addictions:

  • Nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Gaming

Common consequences of addictions:

  • Nicotine – Cancer,COPD,emphysema,stroke or even death
  • Alcohol –  Tremors or uncontrollable shaking,heart attack, stroke,arrests
  • Drugs – Organ damage,family conflict,financial difficulties,death
  • Gambling – Financial difficulties,stealing,family conflict
  • Gaming – Neglecting sleep,neglecting food,social isolation and relationship problems

Do you think you might have a problem or know someone that could?

  • Do you/they ever excessively ingest a substance or engage in an activity?
  • Do you/they avoid people or places to ingest a substance or engage in an activity?
  • Do you/they lie about what you/they do excessively?
  • Does the thought of being without the substance or engaging in the activity worry you/them?
  • Do you/they continue to use the substance or engage in the activity even though it is causing negative consequences?
  • Are relationships being affected by the substance or activity?

Did you know:
There is a strong link between childhood abuse and addiction.
Two thirds of addicts report being abused as children.

The brain:

The brains receives and registers all pleasures in the same way. This means whether you have ingested a drug or finished your favorite meal the neurotransmitter dopamine is released.Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (A part of the brain) is so tied with pleasure that it is often referred to as the brains pleasure center.

Dopamine:  Is a compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances including adrenaline.

Addictive drugs have a shortcut to this ‘pleasure center’ by flooding the nucleus accumbens (A part of the brain) with dopamine. The hippocampus (Yes that is another part of the brain) implants memories of this satisfaction and then the amygdala (You guessed it,another part of the brain) creates a conditioned response to certain stimulants.

Hippocampus:The hippocampus is involved in the storage of long-term memory, which includes all past knowledge and experiences.

Addiction can cause a series of negative consequences. It can not only harm your emotional well being,physical health and professional life but can cause harm to those around the addict and those trying to help.


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