A Guide to Answering “What Is Addiction”
What is addiction? What does it truly mean in terms of being a diagnosable and treatable disease?
Many have heard of addiction, but few really know what it is. Some believe addiction is a choice, and this causes a lack of sympathy for those suffering from addiction. However, addiction is not a choice.
First, when answering what is addiction, it is a disease. Medical professionals have established that addiction is, in fact, a disease. Beyond that, addiction is not cut and dry; instead, it is a complicated condition with numerous causes. Addiction develops from extreme cases of substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse disorder causes sufferers to have a gnawing obsession with using addictive substances that they know are harmful.
Left untreated, addiction can ruin lives. It can cause financial harm, put stress on relationships, and even cause death. Addiction is such a terror that is responsible for the most preventable deaths in the world.
Addiction must be embraced as a disease to address its terrible effects on the world. To better understand addiction, it helps to be familiar with the symptoms of addiction. It also helps to know which substances are likely to lead to addictions and what motivates users to take addictive substances.
Symptoms of Addiction
When answering “what is addiction,” it’s important to consider the specific symptoms.
While there is an innumerable number of negative effects of addiction, the symptoms are usually separated into four main categories. The categories are struggles with social commitments, lack of self-control, dangerous drug use, and the effect of the drugs themselves. Each category comes with its own problems and downfalls.
Struggles with Social Commitments
Those who struggle with addiction often find their social lives and commitments in ruin. Sufferers of addiction often fail at their jobs or in schooling. Professional lives are not the only thing affected, however, as home life, hobbies, and friendships are negatively affected by addiction.
Lack of Self-control
Addicted peoples will often suffer from a complete lack of self-control. They may often express a want or need to quit. Unfortunately, the lack of self-control caused by addiction causes them to feel a powerful need to abuse their substance of choice.
People struggling with addiction will go to great lengths to abuse drugs. This includes going to dangerous areas to obtain, use, and sell drugs. They also will engage in unsafe practices like sharing needles.
Negative Substance Effects
The last category of addiction symptoms is the effects of the substances they are addicted to. This includes a tolerance for the substance. Often, this will also include the effects of withdrawal. With some substances, like alcohol, for example, withdrawal can cause death.
Addictive Drugs and Substances
When answering what is addiction, you also have to look at the substances most likely to lead to an addiction. In the world today, many substances have a high likelihood of causing addictions. These substances range in legality and availability, but they all have horrible effects on extreme substance abusers. Some of the most common addictive substances are as follows:
- Prescription Opioids
- Prescription Amphetamines
All of these substances have to potential for abuse. Some have a higher likelihood for addiction. However, prescription substances are especially dangerous because potential suffers from substance abuse disorder could become addicted to drugs without choosing to abuse them.
How Does Substance Abuse Begin?
People who struggle with addiction have many motivating factors to begin and continue drug abuse. Despite the growing knowledge of addiction being a disease, drug abuse continues to rise. The National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) has identified certain factors that are most likely to motivate people to use addictive substances.
The first motivating factor of drug abuse is for pleasure. These users take substances that they know have a significant potential for addiction because they enjoy the high. Users who are motivated by this have an especially significant chance to build a tolerance as they search for their next high.
The next motivating factor is stress relief. Addictive users who are motivated by this often have preexisting factors that cause stress in their life. While an addictive substance may help with this in the short term, they develop even more stress in the long term.
Temporary self-improvement motivates some users. Those who abuse prescription amphetamines are particularly motivated by this. They take the drugs to improve study or work habits, only to develop an addiction later.
The last motivating factor is pressure from friends or family. These users want to feel included, and are sometimes unknowing of their addictive personalities until it is too late.
Summing Up-What is Addiction?
So with all that being said, how can you sum up the answer to “what is addiction?”
Addiction is a complicated disease caused by substance abuse disorder. Addiction can ruin a life and cause death. There are many motivating factors for those who decide to take addictive substances. Factors include pressure from friends or family, stress relief, desired improvement, and enjoyments. Symptoms range from a lack of self-control to damaged social life. Curing addiction is a long process, but the first step should always be becoming familiar with what addiction is.