In a nutshell, addiction is a craving for a (psychoactive) substance or for compulsive repetition of a behavior. As a result, other interests are neglected and the remaining needs disregarded. Physical difficulties appear when what we are addicted to isn’t available.
Addiction develops in different ways. If we think we are unable to cope with problems, we may experience heavy emotions. Addiction is one of the ways in which we may try to overcome them. Put them to sleep. Free ourselves from what is pressuring us.
When addiction develops, more and more time goes into obtaining the substances that we are addicted to. Or, in gambling, for example, into repeating the behavior that brings us temporary relief.
All else loses significance, which is why treating addiction isn’t easy. Job and family, all relationships, even love for our partner or children – it all becomes secondary.
Have you ever found yourself in such a struggle with yourself, in which you always feel that you are losing? Or that there is something that controls you and your behavior? If the answer is yes, then you are certainly familiar with what being addicted to a substance or behavior is.
Our addiction clinic offers effective solutions to substance abuse.
What does an addiction mean in physical and psychological terms?
Addictions are characterized by a psychological and/or physical dependence on a psychoactive substance or behavior. In biochemical terms, addicts undergo highly predictable changes. The reward mechanism in the brain stops functioning in the ordinary way.
How do drugs affect the brain? The brain rewards every instance of biologically desirable behavior by means of the happiness hormones. Attempting to alleviate the feelings that distress them, addicts try to produce these hormones artificially (by consuming a substance). Over time, their tolerance and threshold increase…
At one point, addicts’ happiness hormones are no longer produced naturally in sufficient amounts. They rely on the artificial effect of a psychoactive substance or behavior in order to ensure sufficient amounts of the happiness hormones.
However, this effect is short-lived. With some drugs, such as cocaine, it lasts about 15 minutes. Afterwards, addicts no longer feel happy or relieved. The substances they use no longer help them overcome their sense of unease. However, the craving for the substances they are addicted to does not go away. They are forced to continue repeating the behavior…
Pronounced tension, insomnia, trembling, palpitations, intense muscle and joint pain, and depression are some of the symptoms that addicts experience when they are unable to obtain the substances they use. These symptoms are jointly referred to as withdrawal.
Consequences of taking drugs are physical, psychological, familial, and social. Some of the effects taking drugs or engaging in addictive behaviors has on health are permanent and life-threatening.
How soon does addiction develop?
It depends on the duration of the addiction as well as on the amount of the substance that the addict is accustomed to (tolerance). Tolerance to different substances varies across individuals, but a general estimate can be made.
Psychological addiction and physical addiction develop as a result of taking a substance. For example, contrary to a widely held view, psychological addiction to cocaine typically develops after two to three uses.
The chemical (physical) addiction is the most severe with heroin. The need to take it again appears very quickly.
An experiment has revealed that animals chose heroin over food after no more than two weeks of regularly using this drug. Human beings develop physical addiction to cocaine equally fast.
This is why addicts cannot easily free themselves from the substance they take and keep coming back to it (recidivism).
What can I become addicted to?
As regards types of addiction, our addiction treatment center offers onsite and online help with both chemical addiction (such as drug or alcohol addiction) and behavioral addictions, such as gambling or gaming addictions.
People of different age, sex, and social status develop different addictions. Our addiction treatment clinic has the most experience with cocaine, marijuana, and heroin addiction, as well as addiction to gambling, mobile phone use, alcohol, food, and other types of addiction.
If you have ever asked yourself “How do I stop drinking?” or “How do I stop gambling?”, book an appointment now by clicking on Contact.
How to distinguish between abuse and addiction?
There are both similarities and differences between abuse and addiction. Periodic abuse of a substance results in impaired health.
Sometimes physical health is affected. For example, serious diseases like hepatitis C or HIV can be contracted by sharing drug equipment. There are other health-related problems there as well. What is invariably affected is mental health. Using psychoactive substances leads to mental illness. Depression, various psychoses (schizophrenia), and anxiety disorders can develop…
In order to define addiction, no fewer than three of the items below need to be present:
- a strong urge or compulsion to take a substance
- behavior related to taking the substance is difficult to control
- a withdrawal syndrome has developed (when substance use is interrupted, which is followed by unpleasant bodily symptoms, such as nervousness, chills, and irritability)
- increased tolerance (higher and higher doses are needed as the previous ones are no longer sufficient)
- more and more time goes into looking for, obtaining, and taking the substance (or into addiction-related behavior)
- other interests and pleasures are increasingly neglected
- the addict keeps taking the substance or repeating a behavior even though they are aware of its harmful effect.
If the question “How do I stop drinking?” or “How do I stop gambling?” or any other question related to addiction is weighing on your mind, get in touch now!
Addiction in young people
Whether it is alcoholism, pathological gambling, or drugs, adolescence is the period in which most addicts start. Addictions aren’t rare in young people and are present even in children.
Nonetheless, young people are the most vulnerable group. What is paradoxical is that they see themselves as invulnerable and almost immortal. They are prone to risky behavior. At the same time, they don’t have full self-control yet.
They have a strong urge to satisfy their own needs and explore new things, and are in a phase of building their self-confidence. At the same time, they act rebellious towards their parents or other authority figures. It is important for them to be accepted by their peers.
Moreover, they need a great deal of confidence to cope with the inevitable changes in their appearance. They can suffer because of this and alleviate the suffering by consuming alcohol and drugs, or engaging in risky behavior.
Polytoxicomania is common among young people. The term refers to combining different drugs, or drugs, alcohol, and medications, in order to intensify their effects.
If you suspect that your child may have an addiction problem, seek help as soon as possible. The longer you hesitate, the less likely it is to get successful treatment.
How are addictions treated?
Although it isn’t simple, our many decades of experience have shown that it is certainly possible. It depends on the type of substance and the personality of the addict. Essential to treating addiction is strengthening the internal motivation of the addict with the aim of keeping them in treatment.
Our experts are trained in various treatment methods and techniques, from using antagonists and other withdrawal prevention and alleviation methods to psychotherapeutic support and psychodynamic executive coaching.
Sociotherapy is also important in addictions. It is necessary to include the family in the treatment in order for the addict to more easily and quickly overcome the difficulties that he or she naturally faces during abstinence.
Step one is certainly finding out more about addictions and seeking how to get help with addiction. The sooner you ask for help, the more successful the treatment.
Contact us now so that we could inform you about what you need and what will be effective in your concrete case.
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