Addiction and Obsessions
Table of Contents
Habits are often seen as harmless until they develop into addictions with serious psychological or physical effects on the individuals. Over the past years, however, countless number of people have faced the problem of defining an addiction in order to discern the point at which a habit can be considered harmful, and thus diagnosed as an addiction that is in need of treatment. By definition, an addiction is a habit that is considerably beyond one’s control so that all their choices are invalid, especially when the substances are involved. In addition, addiction can be defined as a habitual physiologic or psychological dependence on a practice or a substance that goes beyond voluntary control. In simple terms, it can be stated that an addiction is a habit that controls one’s life and is the basis for their choices as opposed to more important factors, such as life plans, career goals, family and social relationships among others. From my personal experience, having friends who had to live with an addiction for so many years before they could get help, I can say that defining and understanding an addiction is very important to the wellbeing of the society. The paper discusses the definition of addiction and obsessions with respect to its signs and symptoms, risk factors, causes, treatment options and complications.
Signs and Symptoms
An addiction is often left undetected because of misunderstanding when it comes to the signs and symptoms. In other words, the people at risk of an addiction or those around them must be able to identify some of the signs and symptoms in order to make an individual seek help before it is too late (Prentiss 46). The first sign one should pay attention to, as far as addiction is concerned, is the recurrent failure to stop the habit. This is a serious symptom that shows an inability to control the habit and is, thus, a cry for help.
The second significant sign is the existence of withdrawal symptoms. People do not get withdrawal symptoms unless they are addicted. Withdrawal symptoms are an indication that the substances an addict is using are at a very low level within the patient’s system, and thus, they need to replenish them to function normally within their context of normalcy. Withdrawal symptoms include moodiness, cravings, bad temper, frustration, depression, loss of focus and even such serious physiological symptoms as constipation, insomnia, increased or reduced appetite, seizures and hallucinations, as well as violent outbursts.
An addiction can also be symptomized by the fact that a patient is fully aware of the negative effects of the substance on their health, but they still continue using it. An addict in this case is willing to sacrifice their health and even life. Moreover, they try to make other people guilty of their condition.
When an individual feels the need to make sacrifices in other parts of their life, such as social, recreational and even professional just so that they could have a substance that causes addiction, it is clear that they are addicted (Hines 23). In such a case, one often foregoes their duties and responsibilities, so they could spend their time and money on the substances in question. Addicts also become unwilling to deal with challenges and problems without the substance, which makes them psychologically dependent. Some individuals go as far as to quit their jobs and avoid spending time with their friends. They also tend to avoid their families and even simply disappear from their lives.
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Obsession and denial finish this list of symptoms that people should pay attention to when dealing with a possible addict. Obsession implies that the addicts are constantly thinking about their addiction and finding new ways to get the substance in larger amounts or at a cheaper rate. Denial, on the other hand, implies that the addicts do not recognize that they actually have a problem and try to show that they are in control of their lives when it is obvious that they are being driven by their habits.
While each individual is at risk of getting addicted, if he or she is exposed to a certain habit, a number of factors make every individual unique in their disposition towards addiction (Browne-Miller 68). The first factor is genetics in that being related to someone with an addiction problem implies that one is at risk as well. Such mental health condition as depression may also steer people towards addiction. Interestingly, gender also can be a risk factor since males are more at risk than females. Other risk factors are peer pressure, loneliness, stress and how one’s body metabolizes the substance in question.
Substances are often used to make the brain feel some sort of pleasure and as the body gets used to the substance, the tolerance levels increases. According to experts, substances or drugs have elements that trigger excitement if consumed. As a victim continues to administer the substance, the level of excitement continues to dwindle (Prentiss 64). This means that an individual will need more of the substance in order to feel the same amount of pleasure that they felt initially with just a small amount. Thus, as tolerance rises, they increase their consumption, which, eventually, leads to dependence or addiction.
Each addiction is considered unique in terms of the circumstances within which it occurs. There are, however, four main treatment options that work for most, if not all addictions, and these include various treatment programs, self-help programs, such as AA, psychotherapy and help with the withdrawal symptoms (Garbarino 44). All these options are best considered with the help of a doctor who will ascertain the level of addiction and prescribe the required treatment. Extreme cases of addiction require intensive medical care and it may take up to year for a victim to be treated successfully.