Addiction Definition and Symptoms

Addiction is not only substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs, but can also be specific behaviors. In order to understand if an individual is having issues is to first determine if the person is showing signs of addiction.

The definition for addiction is ” Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.” The addiction can include such things as opiods, cocaine, alcohol, gambling, and sex, to name a few. In the majority of cases, addiction is coupled with a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression that affect
Addictive behaviors and substance involve activating the brain pathways or reinforcement and reward that often involves the neurotransmitter dopamine.

All kinds of addiction are often associated with a mental health issue like anxiety, depression or another pre-existing issue.

The substances or additive behavior affect memory, reinforcement, reward, and motivation and normally disrupts relationships and everyday activities. Too many times, the person that has an addition, will continue using the substance or continue the same behavior even when they understand that it can end in dire consequences such as divorce or homelessness. When it comes to substance abuse and addiction, the body begins to be accustom to the substance which leads to physical addiction as well as the already psychological addiction.

Signs of Addiction

In order to determine if an individual may be having issues with an addiction, it is important to pay close attention to the person’s behavior and if the activity has lead to impairment or suffering.

In order to diagnosis addiction, two of the following features must be noted.

  • The substance or activity is being for longer periods or in higher quantities
  • Even though the individual may try to cut down, their efforts are not successful.
  • More time is spent on trying to find the substance or time to do the activity
  • Strong desire for the activity or substance
  • The activity or substance is taking away time from home, school, or work
  • Even if the use of the substance or the activity is causing issues, the individual does not stop
  • Going to work, enjoying recreational activities, or participating in social events stops or becomes very low
  • Use continues even if it become hazardous physically
  • Need for more of the substance or more time doing the activity
  • Withdrawal occurs if the substance or activity is discontinued.

After an individual has gone so far with their addiction, the body is now addicted instead of the addiction being psychology. When this occurs, the individual will need to seek medical attention and more than likely rehabilitation in order to stop the physical addiction. However, cravings will often still be present.

For those that truly want to overcome an addiction should rely on both medical attention and counseling. With a counselor that has experience in addiction, an individual can actually live a happy and normal life while leaving the addiction behind. Learning how to live with an addiction and coping with the cravings, will lead to a happier and healthier life.