Addiction is considered an issue that requires professional treatment, and in many cases cannot be dealt with on your own. Many people feel that giving up an addiction is a mind thing, and once you make up your mind to quit, that should be it, nice and easy.
In reality however, it is not that simple.
An addiction with drug or alcohol messes with chemicals in your body, changing the way your brain and body functions. Addiction can be associated with many substances, ranging from prescription medication to alcohol and street drugs. Any of these can change the chemistry in the brain leading to a number of physical or psychological problems which is why these chemicals are called “mind altering substances”.
Addiction can lead to the dependence on these substances.
Dependence is the development of withdrawal symptoms after you have stopped using the substance. These withdrawal symptoms can be physical or psychological. Addiction and dependence are often confused with each other, but dependence is when the body becomes less responsive to the substance and a larger amount is needed to achieve the same effect.
Research has shown that addiction could be genetic or biological, and that addiction can be shaped by the environment you are in. With addiction, the brain responds to an addictive substance in the same way it would to a pleasurable experience. This explains why an addict will give up all activities and obligations to make sure they get their next hit. The substance has changed the way the brain works.
The symptoms of addiction are complex and may require a formal assessment in order to correctly diagnose an abusive or addicted person.
Things that considered with this diagnosis include tolerance of the substance (increased amounts for the same effect), withdrawal (symptoms that occur with quitting), long periods of time spent obtaining or recovering from the substance, and continued use despite psychological or physical conditions. The key in identifying addiction is if the person is unable to stop using the substance, or in denial about their ability to stop using the substance.
There are many aspects to addiction and it is complicated to deal with.
It is a long-term battle that takes lots of time to overcome and is a never-ending journey to recovery.