What is an addiction?


Addictions are considered to be abnormal psychological dependencies. World webnet describes an addiction as “being abnormally tolerate to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs).” Addictions work by changing our brain chemistry to change the way we feel. There are so many addictions there hard to list. Its anything that is capable of taking us away from ourselves for a period of time. Addiction is primarily psychological although addiction is defined according to the physiological changes in the body, and addiction continues to be considered as a social, cultural, genetic and experiential process as well. Addictive behavior could be explained as any behavior that gives temporary or short term pleasure and also provides relief from discomfort although there may be long term adverse effects.



A habit may eventually develop into an addiction.
Many of us can use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. Some people, however, may experience damaging psychological and/or physical effects when their habit becomes an addiction.

What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?
  • Addiction- there is a psychological/physical component; the person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.
  • Example: Drugs
  • Habit - it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction.
  • Example: Biting nails
Put simply - with a habit you are in control of your choices,
with an addiction you are not in control of your choices.

Humans are social beings and some sort of social dependence is expected of us. Dependence is okay in small doses but if it becomes excessive, withdrawals symptoms begin. For some people engaging in certain activities may create chemical changes in the brain that will cause cravings when they are away from that activity. When people do these things that they're addicted to, they get a feeling of euphoria, or well being. Once they've felt this good feeling, they will chase it trying to get that high they can never attain again. This can also be a method of coping with anxiety and depression, and someone may overuse those behaviors or activities as a way to keep anxiety or depression under control. "An activity or behavior becomes a type of addictions when it begins to produce negative consequences and the person insist on continuing with the activity or behavior anyway." All addictions start off the same, slowly then continue to build up over time, loss of control & used even though there are negative consequences."Pleasure and enjoyment would have originally been sought, however over a period of time involvement with the substance or activity is needed to feel normal."

One of the biggest addictions in this world is alcohol, here are two pictures down below of the particles in Tequila and Vodka.

The images are made by first crystallizing the drink of choice on a lab slide. Using a standard light microscope with a camera attached, the light source is polarized and passed through the crystal. This creates the magnificent colors we see in the pictures of the drinks below.
Each image is created by using a pipette of each particular drink and squeezing a drop onto a slide. Then the droplets are allowed to dry out and the slide is placed under the microscope and a picture is taken. It can take up to four weeks for the alcohol to dry out completely in an airtight container, and the whole process can take up to three months.
pina-colada-under-a-microscope
pina-colada-under-a-microscope
mixed-drink-closeup-vodka-tonic
mixed-drink-closeup-vodka-tonic



The 10 Most Common Addictions Include:
  • Alcohol - Its a legal substance, the most common addiction known, all because of it's effect it has on individuals. Just like any other addiction long time use of this substance can lead to health problems. Alcohol is responsible for over 50% of accidents, suicides & violence.
  • Smoking (Nicotine) - A cigarette has over 4,000 chemicals in it. Nicotine being the main one. This is highly addictive. On average only 10% of smokers who try to quit smoking succeed.
  • Drugs- A drug addiction can be from both legal & illegal drugs. People who use drugs think it will help them with their problems. Most of the time ivy drug users try to achieve the ultimate high, this is how an overdose happens.
  • Gambling- Overtime gambling can cause a problem. People with this addiction suffer from financial problems due to the fact they gamble their money, only for the thrill of hitting the jackpot every once in awhile.
  • Food Addiction- Food addicts cannot control their eating. Most of the time it helps them with their stress, but in the end it only causes more stress.
  • Video Games- Its said to be a psychological condition, they feel the need to spend multiple hours playing the game of their choice.
  • Internet Addiction- Like video game users they feel the need to be online all the time. When they start to feel angry or anxious when they're not online this is a sign to potentially leading to an internet addiction.
  • Sex- There sexual behavior is out of control. They usually spend time planning their next sexual encounter.
  • Shopping- Having a shopping addiction makes people feel better about themselves. They usually do this to boost their self confidence, deal with stress, or depression.
  • Work Addiction - Sometimes this could be considered a good thing, but working hard has its effects on the body and mind. Spending too much time at work can interfere with your personal relationships. It can also lead you to feeling that you haven't done enough work, if that's the case you may have a work addiction.
Addiction isn't a choice, it can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Addictions have been related to mental disorders such as mood or effective disorders, also neurotic illnesses, obsessive disorders, and anxiety disorders. Because of this, we know people who are prone to addictions are also prone to these mental disorders.


Withdrawals
Withdrawals can refer to any sort of separation, but is most commonly used to describe the group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation/separation or a decrease in dosage of the intake of medications, recreational drugs, and/or alcohol. To experience withdrawals you must first become physically dependent on something. Generally if a person would quit their addiction "cold turkey" , they would at first feel worse and worse, then hit a plateau of it being the worst it can be, and then from there the symptoms would slowly disappear. A very common thing to accompany withdrawal symptoms would be cravings. Your body would begin to crave the thing it has become physically dependent on, the way you would be hungry because your body needs food. Many addictions can cause prolonged malnutrition, disease, chronic pain, or sleep deprivation. These cases can make it dangerous to quit cold turkey, and many addictions will need to be cured slowly and you professionals may try to move their addiction to another substance less harmful. Withdrawal occurs because your brain works like a spring when it comes to addiction. Drugs and alcohol are brain depressants that push down the spring.

Many people think that drug users lack morals and the other things important in life. They think they can easily quit their habit by choosing not to do the drugs anymore but it's much more complicated than that. Once a person is addicted to drugs it changes the way their brain works and thinks. It will then become harder for them to be independent from the drug. Their body and brain has become dependent on the substance. Getting off of drugs is possible, however its up to the addict to have the will power to be strong enough to quit the drugs by going to counselling, and other classes that may help them better their life. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Nobody can make an addict get help, they have to want to get better by themselves, and they also have to allow people to help them.

Drug Statistics Around the World

  • Men are more likely to have an alcohol addiction in any age group more than women.

  • In Canada the deaths from tobacco use is 25% , which means 1 in 5 people die of smoking cigarettes each year.
  • 1 in 5 people gave a mental illness & 20% of them also have a drug addiction.
  • Between 149 million and 271 million people worldwide used an illicit drug at least once in 2009; which equals 1 in 20 people aged 15 to 64 who have used an illegal drug.
    Cocaine use was highest in North America in 2009, and it had 14 million to 21 million users worldwide.

Facts:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 10-22% car accidents involve people who have been using drugs.
  • Almost half of violent crimes are related to drug addictions.
  • Many people's addiction starts from stress.
  • Drug addictions have been linked to children as young as 12 years old.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse said that children in the 7-12th grade have experimented with club drugs such as ecstasy.
  • 3% of 8th graders, 4.5% of 10th graders, and 7.2% of 12th graders have tried cocaine.
  • Because ecstasy is made from illegal labs, you never know what you are getting or how it will affect you.
    Teens age 12 to 17 who smoke marijuana weekly are three times more likely than non-users to have thoughts about committing suicide.

The Effects

  • Alcohol- The physical effects include pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, insulin resistance, alcoholic dementia, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease and in serious cases it can cause death. The economical effects include loss of jobs, and financial problems. Social effects are loss of social life thats due to uncontrollable behaviour, problems in marriage and can eventually lead to divorce. There are also legal consequences which involve problems with the law which can come from drunk driving, and public disorder. Alcohol not only effects the addict but the whole family as well, and everyone else who is close to the one who is using.
  • Smoking- It leads to cancer, increases your heart rate and blood pressure which strains your heart and blood vessels. It can cause heart attacks and strokes. It can lead to cutting off the oxygen to parts of your body such as hands and feet, this can lead to getting limbs amputated. It causes blocked blood vessels. Pregnant woman who smoke may cause there baby to be born with a low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and fetal tobacco syndrome.
  • Drugs- Physiological effects include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, weight gain or weight loss. Long term effects include brain damage, heart disease, arthritis, and lung diseases. Also if the user is addicted to ivy drug use they could contract HIV or Hepatitis due to the sharing of needles. It also has social effects which include loss of friends due to having a change of mind when it comes to your social life. It can cause the users to become paranoid, and can cause hallucinations.
These are just some of the effects that an addiction has on a person.

What causes an addiction?

There is much debate about the causes of addiction. Because there are two components to addiction—the physical addiction and the psychological addiction—it is likely that many factors create a risk for addiction. In the case of certain drugs such as methamphetamine or heroin, almost any individual who comes into contact will become addicted. Addictive behaviors such as shopping or eating, on the other hand, are used moderately by the majority of the population and only become addictions for some.
There are many things that can cause a addiction. Many of them are different due to peoples different life styles, their experiences, and the way they grew up. People don't really know the exact cause but here are a few of them:
Genetics: It is believed that addictions such as alcoholism may be inherited. Individuals from families with a history of alcoholism are more likely to develop the disease themselves. Also, individuals from families with a history of any kind of addiction are more likely to develop some other form of addiction. For example, someone from an alcoholic family may develop a problem with compulsive overeating or workaholism. While environmental factors can also have influence, individuals who have been removed from their alcoholic parents and raised by non-addicted individuals still show a higher risk for developing an addiction themselves.
Environment: Children raised by addicted parents are more likely to view substance abuse or certain behaviors as acceptable, making them more likely to engage in the addiction themselves. Individuals from countries where use of a certain substance or engagement in an addictive behavior are frowned upon or hard to obtain show a much lower incidence of addiction, pointing to possible environmental factors.
Abuse: Individuals who experienced sexual, psychological, emotional or physical abuse are more likely to become addicts. The addiction becomes a coping mechanism, helping the addict to deal with strong negative emotions surrounding the abuse, feelings of severe low self-esteem, and possible flashbacks.
Emotional Disorders: Emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder often increase the risk of substance abuse and addictive behaviors, especially amongst those who are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Individuals often use drugs, alcohol, food, exercise, or work as a way to self-medicate and escape the symptoms of their primary disorder.
The Substance: Certain substances are more addictive than others, and risk of full-blown addiction is higher for drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine because of their ability to create dependence after relatively few uses.
Low Frustration Tolerance: One common factor found amongst addicts of all types is a low frustration tolerance. Addicts are highly susceptible to the negative effects of stress, often experiencing distress at a relatively low level of frustration. They become easily upset over everyday stress factors, creating a need for escape. They find this escape in their addiction.
Peer Pressure: Trying to conform with other members of a group and gain acceptance can encourage people to take up the use of potentially addictive substances, and eventually become addicted to them. Peer pressure is an especially strong factor for young people.
Stress - if a person’s stress levels are high there is a greater chance a substance, such as alcohol may be used in an attempt to blank out the upheaval. Some stress hormones are linked to alcoholism



addiction_cycle1.jpg

What is happening in your brain...

external image Brain-Scan-MRI-008.jpg


Symptoms of being addicted.

Lose interest in their friends or normal activities
Let their grades slip
Sleep too much, or stay awake all night
Lose weight or have a change in eating habits
Lose interest in their appearance, clothes
Become even more secretive and fall out of family life
Leave the house without permission or at odd hours
Keep mom and dad out of their bedroom
Ask for money with no explanation
Steal money, family possessions
These are just a few basic symptoms to watch out for if you are scared or worried a friend or loved one might have an addiction.

Why having an addiction is bad.

Having an addiction is bad because the addicted person concentrates all his/her energy on that particular addiction. He or she will therefore not function properly socially. This person will block out the whole world and live only for that addiction. He will work for that addiction and spend all his or her money on the addiction. Being addicted means you need to be more and more stimulated through or by that addictive behavior, eventually becoming an outcast.
Addiction is something that keeps you doing the same thing over and over again and you don't care if it hurts you or not.
It eventually becomes the most important thing in your life, and it starts to ruin other areas of your life. Addictions are bad because it may not only effect you, it effects the people around you. You may be hurting yourself without knowing that you are hurting loved ones around you.

How addiction effects you and your family.

Addiction is not just about the drinking, drug or food use in the alcoholic or addict. It also profoundly affects their thinking and behavior. Ultimately it affects every aspect of their lives including you, their loved one. Over time it gradually affects your thinking and behavior until you reach the point where you wonder how you got to be the person you've become. You become preoccupied with the addict's drinking, eating or using either by obsessing about it and ways to control it, or by trying to numb yourself to it and its effects. You begin to question yourself and your perceptions of what's normal. You may feel like or be accused of being the “crazy” one. This sometimes paralyzes us from taking action regarding our loved ones addiction. You tolerate negative behavior and find yourself behaving in ways that you later regret; all the while hoping the situation will get better even as it continues to get worse. Addiction can hurt your family by showing younger siblings what you may think is right, but is very wrong. It can break apart families and many many relationships.

Ways to beat an addiction.

Addictions are very hard to beat but here some ways to control or beat your'e addictions.
- Get some buddies it works for Girl Scouts, depressives, and addicts of all kinds.
- Read away the craving or watch T.V a good way to get your mind off your'e addiction.
- Be Accountable to Someone In the professional world, what is the strongest motivator for peak performance? The annual review (or notification of the pink slip). Twelve-step groups use this method–called accountability–to keep people sober and on the recovery wagon. Everyone has a sponsor, a mentor to teach them the program, to guide them toward physical, mental, and spiritual health.
- Predict Your Weak Spots it is helpful to identify the danger zones–those times when you want to feed your'e addiction.
- Distract Yourself Any addict would benefit from a long list of distractions or activities than can take her mind off of a cig, a glass of Merlot, a suicidal plot or a hit of crack cocaine Some good ones are crossword puzzles, novels, Sudoku, e-mails, reading Beyond Blue walking the dog card games, movies, “American Idol”.
- Sweat Working out can technically be an addiction, but its a great way to take your mind off of what your craving and to keep you occupied enough as to not give into your dark temptation.

Where to go for help

If your're an addict you should talk to a loved one or go a doctor and they can help you get into a rehab center. Out of all the places that you can get addiction help, a rehab center or an addiction support group is the best. The reason these two places are the best is because both of them have others to talk to that are going through the exact same thing and when it comes to overcoming an addiction talking through your problems is the way to get better. What most people like about an addiction support group is that they can go just once or twice a week as opposed to staying for weeks if not months at a time. But some people prefer a addiction rehab because they know they will be taken care of for a long period of time, and that way they don't have to worry about not being around that drug or being around friends and family that maybe do drugs too. A rehab center will make them a new person so when they come out they will be a stronger person and perhaps if they friends and family do it they will hopefully have the courage to walk away and say no.
http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/treatment-services-directory If you are looking for help, here is a website that can help the new and improved you.

Are you First Nations? Need help?

There are many different resources to turn to if you are First Nations and thinking about getting help for addictions. NNADAP, National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. There are successful treatments places all over Canada within our First Nations reserves. This programs goal is to fund First Nations and Inuit initiatives. The program provides inpatient, outpatient, and day or evening services. This program may include things for couples, families, youth, women, pregnant woman and people with mental health issues. NNADAP provides creative, dedicated, motivated, personally invested. The program offers help for abuse directly related to Indian Residential Schools.

Strange addictions

There are so many addictions that people suffer from and you you can almost get addicted to anything but this is one of the strangest ones that I have seen.



References:
http://www.askanaddict.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.page&page_id=124

Addition Resources:

Genetics: Some people say it can be inherited through your genes passed on from generation to generation.
Environment: Children who are raised by parents with addictions are more likely to become addicts themselves. They view this behavior as acceptable.
Abuse: Individuals who experienced emotional, physical, sexual, psychological abuse are more likely to become addicts. This helps them deal with the negative emotions that they feel due to the abuse that has happened.