Systems Affected - Psychic-emotional, Brain and Nervous.
This is only a partial list, highlighting the major symptoms for the purpose of recognition of a problem.
How it all works:
Typically addiction involves both psychological and physiological dependence, but not in all cases. This is marked by the compulsion to use a substance or participate in a particular activity that we know to be detrimental to ourselves. Physiological dependence is the result of the way our bodies respond to the introduction of an addictive substance and it can be characterized by both tolerance and withdrawal. There are three factors that relate to tolerance and we will address them in order.
Environmental and behavioral conditioning, in the simplest
of terms, is how we learn a particular behavior or activity. Associating the
desired effects of a substance or activity with the surroundings (i.e. a bar or
party), or our emotional state at the time (i.e. loneliness or depression). This
is important because in different environments or mental states, our tolerance
can be greatly affected, and repeated use in a particular state will build a
tolerance, requiring a greater dose to achieve the desired results.
Withdrawal can occur when use of a substance is dramatically decreased or ceased altogether. The effects or symptoms of withdrawal will vary widely, dependent on the drug used and the amount or degree of abuse. Some drugs seem to produce no withdrawal effects at all. Mild withdrawal symptoms can include, anxiety, impaired attention, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, and tension. Sever withdrawal symptoms include, convulsions, high blood pressure, irregular tremors, perceptual distortion, and rapid heartbeat. To compound the problem of addiction, alleviation of the symptoms can be achieved by reintroduction of the abused substance. This is a practice that is quickly learned by the addicted individual in an effort to simply feel better. This is also primary reason for perpetuation of the cycle of abuse.
In order to overcome most all addictions, effective
treatment is paramount. Because of the psychological factors involved, psychological
treatment is highly recommended and almost always necessary. This treatment
focuses on eliminating the psychological dependence on the drug or action in
question. Introducing how the addictive behavior developed, how it was
maintained, and most importantly, how it can be removed from the daily life of
the individual, are all key to the success of the program. Many programs are
group oriented, but individual and family oriented programs are also beneficial,
and combinations of these programs prove to be very successful. The twelve
step program developed by alcoholics anonymous has also proven very successful.
You can find a link to the twelve steps and traditions of AA at the bottom of
Who becomes addicted:
This is easy and also very important. EVERYONE is susceptible to addiction. Addiction is evident in every: Gender, Ethnic Origin, Religion, Occupation, Social Class, and Age Group. No one is immune from addiction.
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