The following is a collaboration piece that provides some foundational information regarding addiction.
Addiction is a sprawling topic and something that we are still coming to understand as a society, so it would be impossible to tackle every single aspect of the topic in a single post. However, we can start out by addressing the basics. This will help you to understand things a little better.
Addiction is when you willingly and actively engage with a substance or concept that is harmful to your physical or mental wellbeing, despite the negative consequences that stem from it. Individuals suffering from addiction have little to no power or control over their addiction.
How Common Is Addiction?
It is estimated that one in three people are addicted to something at any given moment, so if you are experiencing addiction or know somebody else who appears to be experiencing addiction, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Most commonly, addiction is associated with gambling, drugs, nicotine, and alcohol. Though there are harder and more dangerous substances out there that smaller numbers of people are dependent upon. There are also less physically damaging things that people can be addicted to, such as work, internet use, or shopping, but these can also have negative consequences on an individual’s life and should also be taken seriously.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
There’s a thin line between positively engaging with something and being addicted to it, so sometimes it may be difficult to work out whether you are an addict of sorts or not. The key signs of addiction are that you cannot go without the source of your addiction. You will do anything to engage with it, regardless of whether your actions have negative consequences for yourself or others around you. Addiction entails absolute dependence. If you are removed from whatever it is that you are addicted to, you will go out of your way to bring it back into your life. This goes for physical addiction and mental addiction. The best way to confirm whether you are an addict or not is to consult your doctor, who will be able to make a diagnosis.
Once you have been diagnosed as addicted to a given substance, you should seriously consider engaging with treatment. Now, there are various different types of treatment out there and the type that you undergo will vary drastically. Some treatments such as methadone replacement will focus on safely removing addictive and harmful substances from your system. Some will provide you with a strong support network, such as a sober living community. Others will identify the deep rooted sources of mental reliance on something.
Some addictions are so severe that you may have to engage in a rehabilitation programme to maximize your chances of successfully removing the source of addiction from your life and enter a period of recovery. Rehab clinics offer you a safe space, free of the substance that you are addicted to, where you can be overlooked by medical professionals who will ensure that you are safe at all times.
This, of course, is just a brief look at the basics of addiction. There’s so much more to understand and each type of addiction will have its own intricacies. But hopefully, this information can act as a springboard to further understanding and research!