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When we hear word addiction, words like drug, heroin, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. come to our minds. But addiction does not necessarily mean an addiction to a substance.
Addiction can also be uncontrolled behaviours such as sex addiction, gambling addiction, web addiction or any other uncontrolled behaviour that can take over aspects of an individual's life, and in worst scenario cases can eb sole focus of one's life.

Definition of addiction

Addiction is a chronic disorder that occurs with the repetitive use of substances and / or behaviours. And addiction is a complex illness that includes both physical and psychological symptoms, and affects not only the addict, but also his or hers family and social environment. Addiction can occur due to number of factors, such as genetic heritage, social environment and biological or pharmacological behaviors.

Perhaps the best and widely recognized addition is cigarette smoking. Anyone who has ever smoked will recognise the strong sense of compulsion to light up, particularly in situations that trigger smoking, like night out with old friends, or relaxing cigarette after a good meal.

In short, we shouldn't view addiction in absolute terms: addiction exists in many different ways and in various intensities. There are only few people wo use certain substance on regular basis, but do not become addicted after prolonged period.

Who can become addicted?

Everyone! Any individual can become addicted even if addiction does not run in their family. When person becomes addicted, whether it be alcohol or other drug, or certain behaviour, person's brain function and chemicals actually change in certain ways. Person becomes thrilled, excited to use substance or repeat behavior again- at the moment person does not think about the consequences, like health problems, relationships or money. Person only thinks about “getting high”, this way or another.
Anyone can develop addiction, to legal or illegal substances or behaviours. Researchers have grappled with the question who can become addicted for some time. There is still no definite answer and no one has discovered one single cause.

How does addiction start and develops?

People take drugs or repeat certain behaviours because they make them feel good: they have a certain effect on body, and if there were no effect, it is likely that people wouldn't repeat the experience. Simply, those substances and behaviours change the way we feel: they relax us, make us feel more in control, let us escape and so on.
However, what can start as an experiment or a casual behaviour can lead to repeating behaviour. With time, the brain's chemistry may start to adapt, demanding more and more. 
Nevertheless, no one sets out to be become addicted. 

Addiction symptoms

Typically  addiction involves both psychological and physiological dependence, but not in all cases. Physiological dependence is the result of the way our bodies respond to the introduction of an addictive substance and it can be characterized by both tolerance and withdrawal.
It is possible individual has an addiction problems, when continues to abuse substance or behaviour even when addiction causes problems, that can be financial, problems at work or in relationships
Another psychological symptom is feeling of guilt about an activity or use of a substance or desire to continue when friends or family recommend you stop, and irritation when confronted with these recommendations.

Physical addiction symptoms may include

  •     higher tolerance to the certain substance, which means that more of the drug is needed that at the beginning to achieve the same effect.
  •     symptoms of withdrawal (sweaty palms, sickness, vomiting, insomnia, tremors...)
  •     signs of needle marks on lower arm, leg, or feet
  •     changes in appetite
  •     unexplained weight loss
  •     poor physical coordination
  •     sleeplessness
  •     laziness or hyperactivity
  •     blank stare, red eyes, dilated pupils
  •     pale face, puffiness of the face, dark circles under eyes
  •     finding the person in possession of drug paraphernalia

Addiction treatments

Addiction can be treated, but there is not magic pill that will make it go away. Addiction is disease without definite cure. Most people are not able to kick the addiction on the first attempt.
First step in beating addiction is admiting it.
Second step is taking control into your own hands, away from addiction. Not letting the addiction to control you.
Third and last step is control over the second step.

Almost every addiction treatment starts with withdrawal symptoms. The effects of withdrawal may vary, depending on the drug used and time and amount of abuse. Mild withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, headache, tension, irritability... While severe withdrawal symptoms include sickness, vomiting, high blood pressure, perceptual distortion, hallucinations ... Withdrawal symptoms are limited to physical effects and do not last long- the most severe withdrawal symptoms last up 7 days.

Early treatment of acute withdrawal often includes medical detoxification, which can include doses of anxiolytics or narcotics to reduce symptoms of withdrawal. Even an experimental drug, ibogaine, is also proposed to treat withdrawal and craving. In chronic opiate addiction (heroin addiction...), methadone is often offered as a form of opiate replacement therapy. However, it is a individual's choice to pursue an alternate course of action.

After facing physical symptoms, psychological symptoms come to surface, and most of the time they are the ones that are the hardest to face with. Because of the psychological factors involved, psychological treatment is highly recommended and almost always necessary when treating addiction. Psychological treatment focuses on eliminating the psychological dependence on the drug. 

In conclusion, almost all forms of addiction, from alcohol, to cigarettes, drugs, gambling or pornographic addiction, are taboo themes. Breaking a drug addiction is difficult, but it is not impossible. Ask for help, do not be ashamed of your own mistakes. Only with the help of others you can beat your addiction!