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Addiction

Addiction is described as actions that or substance taking that become compulsive or habitual, taking precedence over other needs, often with serious adverse consequences.  Addiction is not limited to abuse of substances (alcohol, tobacco, other drugs) but also includes participation in compulsive behaviours (shopping, cleaning, gambling, work, pornography).

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The common feature of the various types of addiction is that all produce a rewarding effect such as endorphin release or drive reduction.  Do you suffer from acne and need acne treatment? In addiction, this rewarding effect can become so strong that satisfying it overrides normal daily activities such as eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom.  For example, in animal addiction studies, subjects were attached to an electrode that would stimulate reward centres in their brains when they pulled a lever.  These subjects pulled the lever until they were so exhausted and spontaneously fell asleep.  Many addictions function in a similar manner, stimulating what are called reward pathways.

Addiction
Addiction


Coupled with the direct rewarding effect addiction, there is usually also a process of adaptation.  When the drug is given or behavior performed repeatedly, cessation of the drug or behavior has a negative effect, Withdrawal symptoms, associated with physical dependence, formerly known as physical addiction, is one manifestation of this type of habituation.  The intensity and nature of physical withdrawal symptoms depends on the addiction, though drug addiction is probably the most well known and documented, particularly marked with opioids such as morphine and heroin.  Psychological addiction is often associated with behavioural addiction or compulsions.  These behavioural addictions may encompass serious inconveniences, time loss, and physical injuries.  In practice, the two kinds of addiction are not always easy to distinguish as addictions often have both physical and psychological components.

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There is no single cause for addiction.  Some schools of thought argue genetic reasons; others believe addiction is a disease that can be cured; others include experiential reasoning, cultural factors, etc.  The constant point in these arguments is that in every culture there is a form of addiction.


Treatments of addiction vary as widely as experts reasoning why addiction is present.  Initially medical interventions are often used to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms but following this point, it is often psychological treatment and personal support that is required to help eliminate the specific addiction.