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Addiction: What is it really?


What Is Addiction? What Causes Addiction?student teacher.JPG

Addiction has many meanings, and depending upon who you talk to addiction has many different outcomes… mostly negative. The dictionary defines addiction as "The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity." According to a industry resource addiction "is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control. Withdrawal has many meanings, one of which is a psychological and/or physical syndrome caused by the abrupt cessation of the use of a drug in an habituated person." Medilexicon's medical dictionary.

"...To us, addiction is the fact that some troubled teens and and young adults with an addiction don't seem to have control over their habitual choices..."

Specifically, when troubled teens and young adults reach a point where their habitual choices are harmful, damaging, and destructive, you usually find addiction.

Two Different Types of Addiction

Addictions usually involves substances that we consume, such as drugs or alcohol. But addiction may include behaviors that do not include solid or liquid substances. It could be activities such as gambling, viewing pornography, or twirling one's hair. Addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. pornography addiction).

Addiction involving drugs or alcohol are psychoactive substances that cross the blood-brain barrier, temporarily altering the chemical balance of the brain; this would include alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Addiction also has a psychological component, as may be the case with gambling, sexual impulsivity, internet porn, working out, etc. Both chemical dependency and psychological addictions lead to overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, despair, failure, rejection, anxiety and/or humiliation.

The truth is that some of us can use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. People with addictions develop tremendous problems related to use and/or abuse. Troubled teens and struggling young adults, may experience damaging psychological and/or physical effects when their habitual acts and behaviors becomes an addiction.

With "addiction" there is a psychological/physical component where the troubled teen or young adults is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.
With a habit teens are in control of their choices and behaviors, but with an addiction they are not in control of either. Addictions of any kind cause serious problems at home, work, school and socially.

Addiction, involves a development of dependency on substances or behaviors. Dependency involves the development of tolerance - the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.