Understanding Addiction

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Its definition depends on one’s point of view. Some simple definitions include a strong and harmful need to have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble) regularly; an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something; medically, it is also referred to as the state or quality of being addicted; compulsive use of and need for a habitual abusive substance (such as nicotine, heroin or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological withdrawal symptoms and tolerance or it can also be defined as continuous and compulsive usage of a substance known to be harmful.


A survey was conducted among fellows of Division SO (Division on Addictions) of the American Psychological Association and the people enrolled in an education class studying drugs. They were asked to define the concept of addiction. Although opinions varied from person to person, people tended to view addiction in terms of urges, needs and a decline in control. Whereas expert definitions were based on the presence of physical dependence, compulsive aspects of behavior, and an emphasis on a decline in control (Walters & Gilbert, 2000).

Experts were significantly more likely to express dissatisfaction with the concept of addiction, which, along with the fact that no single criterion was endorsed by more than half of either group, raises serious questions about the practical utility and scientific merit of this enigmatic concept (Walters & Gilbert, 2000).

Professor Alexander argues that due to excessive hedonistic partying, moral failing occurs in addicts. Addiction is considered to be a disease which takes place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is a type of adaptation: it’s your cage in which you are bound to abuse.

Doctors say there is a link between the repeated use of an addictive substance and how the human brain experiences pleasure—its use has a nice reward, leading to further and more frequent use.

The addictive substance, be it nicotine, alcohol or some drug, actually causes physical changes in some nerve cells in the brain. The nerve cells of the human body are called neurons. These neurons are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters into the empty spaces (synapses), which are then taken by the receptors present on the other neurons of post synaptic spaces.

Addicts cannot control themselves. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. If we focus on addiction through physical substances, which, when inhaled or taken up by any route, cross the blood-brain barrier, which ultimately alters the chemical balance of the brain. These psychoactive substances could be tobacco, alcohol or some other drugs. Research by many modern health care professionals and psychologists has concluded that psychological addictions like gambling, internet, sex, exercise, work, etc. should be considered additions, because they may lead to shame, guilt, failure, anxiety, humiliation, despair and loss of hope.

Addiction resides solely within the individual and continues to foster significant limitations as a complex social process (Graham, Young, Valach, & Alan Wood, 2008).

Treatment agencies should address non-pharmacological tools along with pharmacological services in order to ensure the rehab of the addiction survivor (Radcliffe & Stevens, 2008).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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