You may have heard people around you use the words, addict, addiction, and addictive with regard to any number of things to include Netflix shows, video games, apps, and bath bombs.  While there’s not anything technically wrong with saying, “Oh! I’m totally addicted to True Detective!” or “Americanos are my vice.  I’m a total addict,” doing so DOES deplete the true depth and seriousness of addiction.  Addiction, whether to drugs and alcohol, or to pornography or gambling, is an issue that brings destruction in its wake.  It’s not a funny quirk.  It’s not just a difficult habit.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the word addiction specifically in terms of drugs and alcohol.

We’ll get down to the  meaning of the word, the havoc it wreaks, and some of the risk factors that make one person more likely to become addicted to a substance than someone else.

ad·dic·tion

/əˈdikSH(ə)n/

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a brain disorder that is chronic and relapsing and characterized by compulsive drug seeking despite adverse consequences.

As stated previously, addiction is similar to other chronic health issues.  Just as not everyone who is overweight develops Type II Diabetes, not everyone who ingests drugs or alcohol becomes addicted.  There are several identified risk factors:

Addiction is a serious issue.  It is a brain disorder that causes devastation in the lives of sufferers.  While joking with each other about our bath-bomb addiction isn’t inherently wrong, it’s important to clarify between really liking something and being compelled to use or do something despite heavy consequences.  The pain and suffering caused by addiction is not cute or funny.

There is a positive side to all this seriousness.  Just like other chronic illnesses, white there is not a cure, addiction is a disease that responds to treatment.  Remission is very possible and long-term relief from the devastation of addiction can be had.  If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please reach out.  We are here and ready to help.

For more information on substance use disorders including addiction, you can also visit the following links:

The National Institute on Drug Abuse

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs

*Note that some people do seek treatment as a result of these consequences.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

Healthline Media. (2005-2020). Risk factors for addiction. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/risk-factors

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Drugs, brains and behavior: The science of addiction. Retrieved from

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/introduction

image credit: Image by Лечение Наркомании from Pixabay

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