Thursday, July 11, 2013

Relationship with Addiction

"No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions." -Patrick J. Kennedy

Psychology Today describes addiction as "a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, drugs) or engages in an activity (gambling, pornography) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others."

The experts debate if addiction is a "disease" or a true mental illness but in either case, addictions need to be dealt with if the its spiraling effects are to be stopped. And many people, either addicted or speaking of those addicted will debate 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.

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.

So in its simplest form, if it were a habit, you would be in control of your choices. When it comes to addiction, you are not in control of your choices, the addiction is running the show. And that addiction can come in different forms because an addiction is when a person does an activity, or uses a substance, that they find so pleasurable they cannot stop doing or using it.

There are different types of addictions as noted such as;

Drugs and Alcohol

Having an addiction to mind-altering drugs is very unpleasant, scary, and sometimes deadly. People must enter a rehabilitation center to receive medication and counseling, in order to safely detoxify from these substances. Usually, when a person is addicted to a certain substance, they are susceptible to having addictions to other substances. In addition, most drugs are illegal and carry legal repercussions. Loss of relationships, family and home normally occur with this or any type of addiction if not dealt with.

Gambling and Shopping

Ding, ding, din, the alluring sound of those slot machines or maybe the enticing store display with it 30% off sale price signs. Both seem innocent enough because the act of winning or taking home a new possession can and does produce excitement and pleasure that can lead to continuing the behavior; many times to immeasurable lengths. In example, a gambler or shopping addict may spend all of their money and go into debt, even if they have a family to care for. The results of either can mean huge debt, loss of family and home.

Sex or Pornography

There are those that will seek to please others so that they themselves will feel love in return. While sex is a physical act, the act itself satisfies the need for love and attention that those with sexual addictions crave. This same need can be manifested in the form of viewing pornography and the resulting physical release without commitment or "strings attached" obligations. The end results of either can be loss of relationships, jobs, self respect and even medical problems.


Yes, exercise can become an addiction as people become obsessed with having a perfect body. This type of addict must work out daily, sometimes many times a day or for hours on end, striving for excellence in performance and physique. These type of people get addicted to the “high” experienced from the endorphins released through exercise. An exercise addict must work out to the extreme in order to feel good about them-self.

As you can see, addiction becomes an addiction when it interferes with the many other parts of your life. When your relationship to life becomes all consuming by the addiction, exclusively and under its controlling methods.

The good news is that addiction is treatable, can be overcome and that hope for returning to a normal life does exist.

The first step or phase of treatment is withdrawal from the problem substance or activity. Many organizations that treat addiction will describe this phase in acknowledging there are both physical and psychological effects that occur when substance-taking stops. This includes physical signs as nausea and vomiting, chills and sweats, muscle cramps and aches, sleeplessness, shifts in heart rate, even fever. The emotional effects include depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings.

The withdrawal symptoms normally last three to five days and while rarely life-threatening, medical supervision is usually provided in residential treatment programs, and medications may be given to ameliorate the acute discomfort of withdrawal for those undergoing drug or substance abuse types of treatment.

Behavioral therapy and counseling become important elements of all addiction treatments. This therapy will help people identify, avoid, and cope with situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs or activities. There is an element to this type of treatment that will remind people of their value in life and to those around them. Family therapy may be provided or needed to help the patient maintain a supportive environment and improve family functioning.

While addictions have varying degrees of impact on the addicted person's life and those around them; these addictions can be overcome. There is hope, there is help and there is possibility for greatness beyond addiction.

Stay inspired my friends.

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