Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So How Exactly Does Addiction Happen

What is Addiction?

Addiction can be termed as an obsession or a compulsive physical and/or psychological dependency to anything. When some think of addiction, drug or alcohol addiction comes to mind. Addiction can arise from any type of substance, object or activity. Addiction is an unhealthy obsession, no matter if it is to drugs or the Internet.

In the medical community, an addiction is considered when the body starts to rely on a substance to function. In this instance, someone can get addicted to illegal or prescription drugs. When the drug is no longer supplied to the body, withdrawal symptoms appear. The body goes through the detoxification stage to reacquaint itself to be able to function normally again without the substance's influence. Depending on the substance, some addicts have died during detox.

How Does Addiction Happen?

Addiction can happen overnight or over a lifetime. For some it is a quick descent, while others progress slowly into addictive habits. The way it happens is that something is usually tied to a feeling of euphoria, or highness, which is highly attractive to the individual. No matter if it is drugs, gambling, nicotine or shopping, the addict continues the activity to find and retain that feeling repeatedly.

It has been researched that the feeling they get trying to "score" is more addictive to addicts than the high itself. There is a certain type of high that comes from doing something illegal to get drugs or from hiding the double lifestyle from friends and family. This high is what draws addicts in even more than the addictive substance or activity.

When the "high" happens, the brain receives a biochemical release. The brain then sends signals to the other parts of the body, giving the illusion of complete relaxation and happiness. When the brain stops getting the biochemical release, it may then give the misconception to the other parts of the body that a vital element is missing and the addict becomes sick.

Types of Dependency

Dependency can either be physical or psychological. Finding out what type of dependency it is can be determined by the type of symptoms experienced during withdrawal. Physical dependency usually stems from substances such as alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines and opiates. These substances cause a change in physical appearance during withdrawal. Psychological dependency causes effects to the mind such as depression, mood swings and violent behavior. Gambling, self-mutilation, eating and sexual addictions have more of a psychological type of dependency on the addict.

Cycles of Addiction

Experts consider there to be cycles of addiction that a person will go through. The first cycle is the feeling of euphoria. Soon he may feel as if he has lost control over the situation. He feels as if the addiction has taken over his life and depicts his every moment. The third part of the cycle is the craving. To ease the craving, he will go through the fourth part of the cycle, obtaining their next fix. The fifth part is him feeling that his life has become predictable and repetitive. It is during this part that he may desire a change or help for their situation. Soon after, the withdrawal symptoms start and he either starts the cycle over or gets treatment.

Warning Signs

Detecting addiction is easier than actually trying to fight the disease. There are distinctive changes to the mood and appearance to anyone who may be dealing with an addiction. Drastic mood swings are one of the most common warning signs. An addict can give off bipolar-like symptoms ranging from overly happy to incredibly sad in a very short amount of time.

Changes in appearance are another signal to addiction. Usually neat people may stop caring about how they look and become very messy. Cleanliness is forgotten and body odors may be present. Also, some drugs will have damaging effects to hair, skin and teeth. Other detectors of addiction are disinterest in once-loved hobbies or friends, increase in financial and legal problems, failure to show up or be successful at work, becoming more violent and verbally hostile and/or being socially isolated.

Risk of Addiction

Scientists have determined that some people are at a greater risk than others of developing an addiction. There are four categories that can depict whether someone has a predisposition to be an addict; physical, mental, emotional and social. The physical factor is genetics, whether there is a history of addiction in the family or whether there is a low tolerance for drugs. The mental pertains to people who are already suffering from mental illness such as depression or have low self-esteem. The emotional factor is people suffer from depressive circumstances such as abuse or death of a loved one. Social is for people who are in social situations where drugs are available. The social factor can also apply to people who are now isolated from their previous life, like students going off to college or relocating to a strange city.

Having any of those factors doesn't mean that an individual will become an addict. Someone having one of those factors may mean that they are more susceptible to addiction at a given time. Seeking professional help is a good way to ward off and combat an addiction.

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