What is an addiction?
It can be more difficult than it looks to recognize an addiction problem in an individual you know. Addiction is defined as a type of chronic disease that impacts the brain’s motivation, memory, and reward functions. A person with an addiction craves a certain substance or other types of behavioral habits. Often they ignore other parts of their life in order to support or fulfill their cravings.
Some general addiction signs include the following:
- physical effects, such as needing to have a higher dosage to get the desired effect or withdrawal symptoms
- ignoring risk factors, such as sharing needs despite the risks
- reduced socialization, such as ignoring relationships or abandoning commitments
- lacking control, or being unable to avoid behavior or substance
Often these signs are linked. How intense each sign is might depend on how long an individual has had the addiction.
Usually, a healthy person will be able to identify negative behaviors and eliminate them. This isn’t true with individuals who have an addiction. Instead of admitting they have a problem they will look for ways to continue and justify their behavior.
The first step toward getting help is to be able to recognize the emotional, mental, and physical signs, such as abrupt personality or weight changes in your family members or friends, If you or an individual you know has an addiction problem, then get in contact with addiction care counseling.
Addiction is often associated with substance abuse. However, behavioral addictions such as gambling are as serious.ASAM reports that addiction refers to when an individual cannot consistently abstain from a substance or behavior. Typically this a the cost of both their physical and mental health. If you are struggling with an addiction then I would highly recommend seeing Addiction Care Counselling.
Substance addiction refers to the dependence on one or more of these:
- drugs, non-illicit or illicit
- inhalants, often such household items as spay paints, oven cleaners, or other types of aerosol products
- tobacco or nicotine
Behavioral addiction may include the following
- video games
- media or using the Internet
No matter what kind of addiction it is, it s essential to recognize the warning signs and if necessary seek help.
Identifying the early signs
During the initial stage, an individual may not show any telltale signs of having a full-blown addiction. Early stage clues may include the following:
- episodes of loss of control or binging with no or little feelings of remorse afterward
- seeking situations out where the activity or substance will be present
- being especially drawn to a substance or activity
- family history with addiction
In terms of common social behaviors such as smoking or drinking, determining whether or not there is an addiction problem can be difficult. What appears to be an addiction might be a type of stress management or an experimental phase. However, if a real addiction is not treated, it can increase the risk of illness or develop into a habit that is debilitating.
Looking for personality changes
After an individual has moved past the early addiction phase or experimentation, most likely they will demonstrate significant behavior or personality changes. At first, the changes might be infrequent. Some of the telltale signs include the following:
- lacking an interest in activities or hobbies that were important in the past
- reacting negatively to people close to them or neglecting relationships
- missing important obligations such as work
- tendencies for risk-taking, especially continuing certain behaviors or getting drugs
- ignoring negative consequences that are the result of their actions
- distinct sleeping pattern changes that lead to chronic fatigue
- an increase in secrecy just as lying about how much substance they have used or how they have spent their time
Over time you might notice the alienation increasing. People who have an addiction have a tendency to surround themselves with individuals who encourage their addictive habits. Whenever they are confronted they might try justifying their behavior or make excuses.