Addiction

Addiction has many faces. There are many forms of addiction whether it be substance or activity related. Addiction for most people starts out as something you try. Sometimes you like it and other times you may not. The feeling you get from it, or maybe peer pressure causes you to go back and try it again. For most, that thing is pleasurable or, at least, becomes pleasurable. It then becomes something you engage in continuously until it becomes impulsive and interferes with your daily life. Addictions may begin during childhood or not until adulthood. No matter what the addiction is, treatment is possible.

Addiction is typically divided into two categories: those that involve ingesting a substance and those related to activities. Normal eating and drinking are not the typical things that lead to addiction although it is possible. Most substance addictions are drug related and involve nicotine or alcohol. Some addictions are associated with illegal drugs like weed and heroine. Addictive activities include shopping, gambling, and sex. Some people have strange addictions. Those addictions include plastic surgery, eating things that shouldn’t be eaten like dryer sheets and cotton, as well as dressing like a doll or acting like a baby. Almost anything can become addictive.

The Origins of Addiction

You don’t normally wake up addicted to something. Addiction is a result of physical or psychological triggers. You may find that people who have suffered some trauma in their life are more susceptible to addictive behavior. The behavior may start as a way to just cope with things. The more you go back to that behavior to cope, the more it begins to spiral out of control. Eventually, it becomes something you cannot control. It takes over your life. You might even find yourself lying, stealing, or going into debt just to keep up.

How Do I Know I Have An Addiction?

A habit is not necessarily an addiction. Some sure signs can help you know whether or not you have an addiction. One sign is importance. You must analyze how important that thing is in your life. Without it, do you feel incomplete? Is it something you are craving to the point it takes over? Has this thing become your number one priority? Typically whatever your priorities are, reveal what’s most important to you. The second question is, do you feel like it is rewarding. Everyone should reward themselves every now and again, but it shouldn’t be to the point that without it, you are depressed and can’t live. In many cases, it will initially feel good, but  the consequences can be detrimental not only to your health but your life as a whole. Prevalence is the next sign. How long and how often are you engaging in this behavior? If it has gotten to the point that this is all you do, it could be an addiction. Anxiety is another sign.  Does the inability to engage in this behavior bring you anxiety or uneasiness? If you feel unstable when you’re not engaging in this behavior, you can be addicted. Disruption is a big red flag. When you are addicted to something, your normal activities are disrupted. You may stop going to work or no longer engage with your family. Your whole life now revolves around this one thing. Be conscious of your language. Using words like “I can’t stop” or “hopefully, I will quit” is a sign something has controlled over you. Constantly saying you are going to change a habit yet going back to it may reveal your need for extra help.

Treating An Addiction

Treatment for addiction is not easy. Staying away from anything that has control over you is not easy. It’s like you have to kill something that has become a part of who you are. Drug-related addictions require extensive treatment. The first step is to detoxify. The next step is counseling for the behavior. A therapist may want to access why you started that behavior, triggers for that behavior and how you can prevent relapse. Some addictions require medication as part of treatment. When addiction is related to anxiety or depression, evaluations and treatment must be done to help that issue. It is also necessary to follow up. Relapse is a common occurrence for those who suffer addiction. Follow up helps prevent relapse.  
Addiction is a very serious issue. It is not something that should be taken lightly. Addictive behaviors may seem pleasurable at the time but have the potential to not only be harmful but life threatening. Drug and alcohol abuse can destroy your organs especially the liver. It has been related to cancers and both heart and lung problems. Addiction does not only affect you but also those around you who care and love you. It can destroy marriages and families. If you think you are suffering from addiction, no matter how big or small it seems, seek help. Don’t let addiction ruin your life. Decide today to take back control.

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