WHAT IS ADDICTION?

Addiction includes Gambling, Drugs, Alcohol etc

Addiction is a dependence on something. It is described as a condition defined by compulsive engagement despite adverse consequences. It can be a physical addiction related to a substance such as alcohol or drugs that cause a pleasurable or relaxed state. But it can also be psychological, for example in the form of gambling or shopping. Addiction can become a means of coping with an overwhelming psychological issue. It is considered a disorder of the brains ‘reward system’ which occurs when exposed to an addictive stimulus. Individuals suffering from addiction develop habits and patterns that typically relate to short-term gratification despite the long-term costs.


SYMPTOMS OF ADDICTION

  • Dependence on something such as gambling, smoking, alcohol or drugs and unable to give it up
  • Withdrawal symptoms (cravings, bad temper, poor focus, feelings of depression)
  • Social sacrifices - Making excuses or giving up due to lack of dependence availability.
  • Taking risks - Putting yourself in debt to fuel your addiction.
  • Obsession - Focusing on how to pay for or fuel your addiction.
  • Denial - Lying or hiding the addiction from friends and family and unable to accept your problem.

Addiction ranges from occasional to total dependency. However you can still be classed as having an addiction if you cannot abstain from the dependency or find yourself experiencing even the slightest of withdrawal symptoms. It becomes a big issue if it is persistent and occurs over time despite the negative consequences and undermines your ability to adapt to situations and overcome problems.

Addiction is a condition that requires treatment. It is likely to worsen over time due to the development of a tolerance for the dependence leading to increasing amounts of the addicted substance or behaviour being required to achieve the same level of response first achieved.


WAYS TO TREAT ADDICTION

  • Accept your addiction - commonly referred to as the first step towards recovery;
  • Going cold turkey - Completely stopping your addiction rather than weaning yourself off of it. This approach can have severe consequences and should not be undertaken without medical involvement;
  • Detoxification Period - Setting aside a small fixed period of time to avoid your preferred addiction;
  • Having a Recovery Plan – This involves setting key targets, dates and goals;
  • Speaking to a therapist. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Behavioural Therapy are the therapies primarily used because they help to address the underlying problems that frequently co-occur with addiction. This is an important factor in helping to target the root cause. Therapy can work by interrupting the self-perpetuating cycle of an addiction and finding a new way to think, feel and act. Removing troubled thinking helps you to view difficult situations in a new light. This is important in helping you maintain the change, which is often harder than stopping the addiction itself.
  • Seeing a doctor: Many addictions involve a physical health element and medication may be required to help manage withdrawal symptoms from certain substances like alcohol.