What is Addiction?

What is Addiction?


Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) is a disease involving the repeated and usually uncontrollable use of a substance or activity that a person finds rewarding in some way. Using this substance or activity usually has unhealthy or unpleasant effects. These effects can impact the individual, friends and family, work, and the society as a whole.


Addiction is caused by one or a combination of the following factors — genes and life experiences. Research has shown that you can inherit genes that may lead to addiction under certain life experiences. Some life experiences can also cause your genes to make you more likely to develop an addiction.   A life experience that is common in people struggling with some form of addiction is childhood trauma. Majority of the time, people use a substance or behavior to cope with life’s challenges. This is often because they have not had access to, or been taught healthy ways so coping with their challenges.


Common substances of addiction are alcohol, tobacco, marijuana (weed), cocaine, sugar, prescription medication (sleep aids, painkillers, muscle relaxers, etc), food. Common behaviors that people become addicted to, are gambling, social media exploration, sex & pornography, shopping, plastic surgery, video games, amongst others. 


Addiction can be very difficult to control and stop without professional help. Therapy / Counseling, specifically for substance abuse is often effective in treating this disease. Another effective approach to the recovery process this attending self-help groups such as alcoholics anonymous. There are cases where medication can help in treating this disease. This is because, especially in the case of substance abuse, the chemicals in the substance have altered the person’s brain chemistry. So they need help to restore a healthy chemical balance in the brain and body. 

Way Forward

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, reach out to a professional for help. You do not have to suffer in silence with this disease. It is possible to overcome it, and lead a healthy and stable lifestyle. You can read more about addiction here.

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