What You Need to Know About Addiction

logo by Editorial Staff | Posted on September 3rd, 2022

Due to the brain alterations in addicts, the drug might feel as important as oxygen and water. Those who regularly partake in substance abuse eventually build up a tolerance, necessitating ever-increasing amounts to achieve the same high.

What is addiction?

Addiction refers to the physiological need for, and subsequent pursuit of, a substance or practice despite negative repercussions. Addiction is a disease that, over time, destroys your quality of life.

Drug addiction concept and substance dependence as a junkie symbol or addict health problem with cocaine hroin cannabis alcohol and prescription pills with 3D illustration elements.

Addicts may fluctuate between active use and remission. Therefore, they may alternate between heavy and light use. These patterns don’t change the fact that addictions almost always worsen over time.

They can cause long-term health problems and have dire repercussions, including bankruptcy. Reward, motivation, and memory play a role in addiction, a chronic failure of the brain’s reward system.

The difference between addiction and substance abuse

Substance abuse is distinct from addiction. To be addicted is to engage in dangerous behavior or substance abuse regularly, however substance abuse does not necessarily lead to addiction.

What products cause addiction?

The medical community does not accept addiction as a distinct disorder. Substance use disorder is a medical term for addiction to drugs or alcohol (SUD). Now, only gambling disorder is officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

A wide variety of substances, including alcoholic beverages, cannabis, inhalants (such as paint thinners and glue), opioids (including opiate pain relievers like codeine and oxycodone, and heroin), sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics, stimulants (including cocaine and methamphetamine), tobacco, sugary foods, and other foods, and the food itself can contribute to addiction.

What happens to an individual with addiction?

Because of addiction, an individual will be unable to abstain from the substance or cease the addictive activity; exhibit a lack of self-control; have an increased desire for the substance or action; disregard how their behavior may be causing difficulties, and lack an emotional response.  

Abuse leads to physical and mental dependence on the addictive substance. When you suddenly stop using, your body goes through withdrawal, which causes various unpleasant symptoms depending on the substance you are abusing.

Factors that cause addiction

An enjoyable “high” can be achieved through addictive substances and behaviors. You’ll have to do more of whatever it is or stay at whatever it is for longer if you want to get the same high you had the first time. As time progresses, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to break the habit.  Here are some of the reasons that cause addiction.

The brain chemistry

Substance abuse can also be triggered by underlying mental health issues or chemical imbalances in the brain. Addictions can develop as a coping mechanism for people with these conditions. Not everyone who tries an addictive drug or activity develops a dependency on it.

The frontal lobes of the brain are responsible, at least partly for this. It’s possible to put off experiencing pleasure because of the frontal lobe. And because of problems in the prefrontal cortex, satisfaction is experienced instantly.

Other brain regions may contribute to addiction as well. The reward-processing nucleus accumbens and the reward-seeking anterior cingulate cortex have a role in a person’s susceptibility to addictive substances and behaviors.

Exposure to addictive substances at a young age

Experts cite major contributors to repetition and early introduction to addictive drugs and behaviors.


According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, genetics increase the likelihood of addiction by about 50 percent. However, genetic predisposition to addiction is not proof that a person will inevitably acquire an addiction.

Environmental and cultural background

One’s reaction to a certain chemical or action can also be influenced by factors such as environment and cultural background. Problems with substance or behavior abuse often begin when a person’s social network breaks down. Addiction might develop after a traumatic incident that hinders coping skills.

Influence of Peers

It’s possible that you’d be persuaded to start using drugs by your social circle. Many people give in to peer pressure out of a desire to fit in or out of fear of alienating their friends.

Crisis and Personal Experiences

High-stress individuals (such as those who work in emergency services or serve in the military) are also more likely to develop an addiction. According to the available data, between sixty percent and eighty percent of those with PTSD also struggle with substance abuse.

People with PTSD may turn to substances like alcohol and narcotics for stress management and symptom relief. Others also turn drugs or alcohol for relief or escape due to financial difficulties, a horrible breakup, or the loss of a close friend or relative, among others.

Stages of addiction

The progression of an addiction is frequently gradual. Both your brain and body behave differently in the first stages of addiction compared to later levels.

Addiction progresses through four distinct stages, which are as follows:


From the term itself, it refers to using or engaging in something to satisfy one’s own curiosity i

Social or regular

This is when the individual is using or engaging in something on a regular basis

Problem or risk

When the individual no longer cares about the consequences, and still continues with the addiction in an extreme manner, this is considered as problem or risk.


When the individual ignores the negative consequences and does the behavior every day, this already belongs to the dependency stage.

Addiction Symptoms

Behavioral addictions present with unique symptoms. Similar to the symptoms of substance use disorders, those with behavioral addictions may have compulsive cravings to perform the euphoric behavior and then feel better afterward. Dependent upon the substance used and the degree of addiction, the signs and symptoms of addiction will vary. Some of the most prominent signs of substance abuse are:

Intense cravings

Strong yearning on the part of the addict. Addicts may experience a feeling of possession due to their fixation on continuing to use or engage in addictive behaviors.

Lacking in discipline or self-control

Addicts continue using despite knowing the risks to themselves and others. They also lose control of their urges.

Cannot keep up with responsibilities

Because of the substance abuse, the individual may not be able to keep up with responsibilities at work, school, or at home. May also have inability to focus on the people and things that are truly important, such as your profession or your hobbies.


When someone high, he/she might make poor decisions like getting behind the wheel or stealing. In spite of the obvious outcomes, such as arrest and license suspension, he/she are likely to persist in your substance misuse.


When someone is addicted to anything, for example, they feel an intense want to continue taking the substance or perform the associated activity.

Drug’s influence

Warning indicators include tolerance and withdrawal. The effects of drugs and alcohol might wear off over time, leading to tolerance and withdrawal symptoms in those who try to quit.

Effects on health

Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol use, and intravenous heroin use are all associated with a variety of health problems.

Inability to break addiction despite knowing the consequences

Addicts realize their habit is ruining their life, but they typically can’t break the habit without assistance.

Other symptoms of gambling addiction

Gambling disorder is the only clinically recognized form of behavioral addiction, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Other symptoms include:

  • Persisting in playing despite financial losses
  • Gambles as an escape from emotional distress
  • Plotting ways to acquire more money to gamble
  • Financial or social hardship as a result of gaming
  • Failing to stop when emotional distress subsided
  • Restlessness or irritability while reducing or stopping gambling
  • Dependency on others for financial help as a result of gambling losses
  • Frequent, uncontrollable thoughts about gambling, including preparing bets
  • Trouble cutting back or stopping gambling, despite the escalating costs and increasing stakes required to maintain excitement levels.

How to overcome addiction

Addiction is triggered by a number of factors, including stress, pain, and societal pressures prevent relapse, this condition typically necessitates ongoing care throughout the person’s life.

Each person and their particular addiction to a particular substance or pattern of behavior requires individualized treatment. The individual must also try to cope with one’s stress and problems without relying on the addictive substances.


Substance or behavior addiction is a chronic, life-threatening condition. Addiction is characterized by the inability to abstain from a substance or behavior notwithstanding the negative impact it has on a person’s day-to-day functioning.

Every year, addiction drains hundreds of billions of dollars from the American economy. Withdrawal symptoms are common after quitting an addictive substance or practice. The abrupt cessation of substance use or risky conduct is not recommended outside of a medically supervised setting.


Editorial Staff

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