Addiction: Some of the Causes and Solutions

Bottles of alcohol.

Addiction is the fact or the condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity. (Image: via Pixabay)

Addiction is the fact or the condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity. People with this condition use substances or engage in compulsive behaviors and often continue despite harmful consequences. 

Dopamine is a molecule that transmits messages across the brain’s reward center. It provides people with pleasure during activities such as eating or having sex. Using a substance or a habitual action can activate the same dopamine receptors to create a reward pathway.  

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If a substance or habit takes priority in a person’s life, despite any consequences it may have on them or their ability to support it financially or by other means, it could lead to addiction. It is common for people with addictions to notice adverse side effects due to their addiction-related actions and still ignore the warning signs. 

This condition is a disease that affects the physical body and damages a person’s soul. The addictive action can be accompanied by deceitful and irresponsible behavior, taking a toll on relationships, family commitments, and work responsibilities. 

In February 2021, Very Well Mind published What Is Addiction? This condition is commonly affiliated with substance or alcohol abuse; however, more recently, the concept of addiction has expanded to also include gambling, Internet gaming, exercising, and eating. 

The concept of addiction has expanded to also include gambling, Internet gaming, exercising, and eating.
The concept of addiction has expanded to also include gambling, Internet gaming, exercising, and eating. (Image: Güldem Üstün via Flicker)

Two common themes

The two aspects that all addictions have in common are: 

The addictive behavior is maladaptive

The behavior causes recurring problems to the person or those around them. What started innocently enough now no longer helps the person cope with situations. It undermines their abilities. 

The behavior is persistent

When a person is addicted, they will continue to engage in this behavior, despite the trouble it causes to themselves and those around them. 

Research indicates that addiction is more related to what is or what isn’t occurring in a person’s life. Among the various factors that have previously been shown to influence the development of this condition are how a person views themselves as a human being, the person’s emotional state, the quality of family and close relationships, community attributes, and employment status. 

Addiction doesn’t discriminate

This condition does and can happen to people of any age, background, and intellect. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has previously highlighted some of the most common risks that influence some people to develop an addiction than others. These include; 

Mental illness

It’s been suggested that many people who suffer from mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or depression attempt to self-medicate to numb the symptoms associated with their disease. 

Children of addicts

It has been found that children of addicts are 45 to 79 percent more likely to develop their own addictions. However, it is still unknown if this condition is genetic. 

People with higher IQs

Many addicts are highly paid and have successful careers, despite misconceptions that addicts are those less educated and with less money. 

If you’re struggling with addiction, here are some tips for recovery: 

Surround yourself with genuine and supportive people

It may be challenging, but cutting off toxic relationships is essential when recovering. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will also help to keep you on the right track. 

Talk it out

Sharing your thoughts and experiences with somebody you trust is vital. There are also many local support groups you could engage with. 

Find new hobbies

Establishing a new and joyful hobby can serve as a reminder of what more life offers. 

Woman sitting at a table in a restaurant looking sad while a friend places a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
Sharing your thoughts and experiences with somebody you trust is vital. (Image: Rawpixelimages via Dreamstime)

Overcoming addiction is not a short process

Tolerance is both a physical and psychological process contributing to addiction. When an addictive behavior is stopped, it is common to feel withdrawal for some time, but it doesn’t last forever. 

Overcoming addiction is not a short process. It takes time and commitment. It is also important to remember that there isn’t only one single treatment right for everyone. 

Treatment options depend on the severity of the addiction. Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), inpatient or outpatient rehab, and detoxification – a medically managed detox program for people who abuse drugs or alcohol. 

If you are struggling with an addiction, don’t suffer alone. There are many pathways available to get help wherever you are while acknowledging you need support is the first step to recovery. Contact your General Practitioner or any of the support networks, such as All Addicts Anonymous (AAA).  

According to AAA, they are “simply old-fashioned AA, as adapted for all addicts and all addictions. AAA members are distinctive in their acceptance of a suggested program of Four Absolutes, Twelve Steps, and Ten Points.” 

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