What is Addiction?
Addiction is a sustained inability to stop the consumption of one or more substances or activities which may cause psychological or physical harm to a person. Substances like drugs, alcohol, and nicotine have high dependency rates that are extremely harmful for the body, also, activities like, excessive gambling, porn, internet, eating and masturbation adversely affect the body as well.
Addiction can be caused by medications as well. The stage before a person gets addicted to a substance or activity the side effects like, vomiting and headache increases.
The major symptom that reflects on a person is their problematic pattern of use of substance and activity leading to distress. The person finds it difficult to control the urge to use of the substance and continue using it despite the harm and damage it causes.
- A need to use more substance: A person suffering from addiction feels an intense urge to use the addictive substances like drugs, alcohol, nicotine etc. The habit of using addictive substances makes the condition worse and affects the health in severity.
- An inability to stop using: A person starts to develop a habit for the substance or the activity and it becomes very hard to get rid of it. Studies have shown that, Nicotine is the 3rd most addictive substance after Heroin and Cocaine.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Some chemically addictive substances cause withdrawal symptoms if a person stops taking them. This may cause anxiety attacks, sweating, vomiting, depression, heavy breathing, seizures and hallucinations.
- Insomnia: Addiction causes sleeplessness; a person can skip sleeping for several nights straight. The person may feel tired and irritated due to this and it can also cause depression and anxiety.
- Loss of control: A person repetitively loses control over his emotions; he may also get angry at his every small inability.
- Concentration difficulties: The person completely loses focus on the activities he undertakes. It becomes hard for a person to concentrate on the daily tasks; he also loses the sense of competing even with himself.
It is very important to understand how addiction works. When a person uses a favourable substance or performs an activity, his body releases the neurotransmitter called ‘dopamine’. This gives the person a feeling of pleasure which leads to its cravings, and when the person does it regularly, he is more likely to get addicted.
- Chemical addiction: The addiction caused by the intake of harmful substances like drugs, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc.
- Behavioral addiction: The addiction which is proportionate to the behavioural activities of a person, like, sex, masturbation, usage of electronic devices etc.
The recent edition of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) classifies chemical addiction into mild, moderate, and severe cases.
The common addictive substance is cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, opioids, nicotine and amphetamines. Behavioral addiction includes internet addiction, gaming addiction, exercise addiction, social media addiction, sex addiction, shopping and food addiction.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a sort of psychotherapeutic treatment which is used to help people learn about identifying and changing disturbing thoughts and behavioural patterns that have a negative effect on a person.
- Rational Emotive behavior therapy (REBT): REBT is a psychotherapeutic approach to assist individuals in coping up with emotional and behavioural problems and disturbances to lead people towards a better mental health.
- Client centered therapy: Client-centered therapy is a form of psychotherapy developed for a person suffering from addiction; this therapy is developed for the growth of a person’s personality by clarifying the ideas and the therapist asks the client to observe himself more clearly.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy is a type of therapy where a group of people sit together and share emotional and behavioural problems as a mechanism to develop, explore and examine interpersonal relationships within the group.
There are several benefits of the therapy that help to overcome addiction. However, one must continue to exercise and start consuming healthy food as a measure for self-treatment.
- Improved behavior: Therapy helps a person to get over his negative thoughts and reactions that are not just repetitive but also compulsive and intrusive for an addict. The cycle of addiction starts with denial, blaming, and negative actions.
- Relapse prevention: Therapy helps in preventing the deterioration of people’s state of mental and physical health. It helps a person to start developing coping strategies by providing positive support.
- Understanding triggers: People suffering from addiction often have specific triggers, like social situations and stressors. These triggers hamper the positive developments and would not allow the person to break the addictive behavior. With the help of therapy, a person understands the personal triggers and effective strategies to cope up.
- Cultivating healthy habits: Building up healthy habits is important to get over addiction. With the help of therapy and counseling sessions, a person learns to practice new habits, like, regular exercising, proper diet, proper sleep cycle, keeping a positive mindset and other proactive steps.
- Foster healthy relationships: One of the huge benefits of the therapy is building healthy relationships. In addition, people tend to hurt their loved ones knowingly or unknowingly leading to dysfunctional and harmful relations.