In addiction, the person uses a substance or engages in a behavior, for which the person feels compelled to repeat the activity, despite its detrimental consequences. Addiction may involve the use of substances such as alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cocaine, and nicotine, or behaviors such as gambling.
Addiction behaviors have an increased likelihood of being accompanied by mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, or other pre-existing problems. Substance use and gambling disorders not only engage the same brain mechanisms, they respond to many of the same treatment approaches.
Symptoms of addiction:
- Substance or activity is consumed in large amounts or for a long period of time
- Strong desire to cut down on use or unsuccessful efforts to do so
- Pursuit of the substance or activity, or recovery from its use, consumes a significant amount of time.
- Excessive craving or strong desire to use the substance or engage in the activity
- Use of the substance or activity disrupts daily functioning
- Continuing usage of the substance or activity despite the social or interpersonal problems it causes.
- Lack of participation in important social, work, or recreational activities
- Tolerance occurs, indicated either by need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effect or markedly diminished effect of the same amount of substance.
- Withdrawal symptoms observed
Causes of addiction:
- issues in the efficient working of brain chemistry
- Early exposure to significant adverse events
- Conditions such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increase the risk of addiction
- Financial loss, familial issues, and troubled parent-child relationships may lead to addiction
- Prolonged grief from the death or loss of a loved one
Treatments of addiction
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help a person recognize and cope with situations that trigger the desire to use substances.
- Behavior therapy to modify the existing addictive behavior.
- Family therapy helps individuals repair any damage done to family relationships and to establish more supportive ones.
- Supportive psychotherapy to help understand and reflect on why and where the symptoms are arriving