Addiction has been defined as the uncontrollable habit of using drugs, alcohol, and certain substances. Drugs and alcohol are the two most common types of addiction. People have been known to suffer from addiction to other substances and activities such as gambling, sex, and even work.
Many people often mistakenly see addiction as the habit of people who have no moral principles nor the willpower to control themselves. In reality, addiction is a lot more than an uncontrollable habit. It is a condition that requires deep understanding.
Let us break the stigma of addiction and learn what we need to know about it as a disease.
Is Addiction a Disease?
Yes, addiction is classified as a chronic disease. It changes how a normal brain functions and interferes with the body’s ability to control itself. In extreme cases, it renders an individual completely dysfunctional, crippling one’s motivation and drive to perform their daily responsibilities and putting them in a mind space where all that matters is the substance or activity they’re addicted to.
How Does Addiction Affect Your Brain?
Addictive substances trigger your brain to release dopamine, a hormone, and neurotransmitter associated with pleasure senses, which plays an important part in the brain’s reward system.
In day-to-day situations, dopamine helps you stay motivated. However, when you consume addictive substances such as heroin or cocaine, your dopamine levels increase, putting you in a “high” state. This hacks your reward system and impairs your ability to make sound judgement.
Due to the intensity of the stimulation, your body then craves the “reward” that is caused by drug consumption. Addiction now overcomes your mind by changing how you perceive pleasure. You only recognize pleasure when you take the substance and feel totally empty without it.
Can Everyone Develop an Addiction?
Yes. Anyone from any background or socioeconomic group can develop an addiction. Though there is a 50% higher chance, not all who are born from families with a history of addiction develops one. There is no single factor that mainly contributes to the risk of developing an addiction. There are several others to consider: stress, trauma, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, and peer pressure.
In addition, individuals struggling are seen to have other mental symptoms such as post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.
Can Addiction Be Prevented?
Yes. Education and open communication are two of the most effective ways to prevent your loved ones from falling into the deep hole that is addiction. Parents, relatives, and teachers play important roles in keeping communication lines open. Educating children about the effects of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and guiding them on how to handle peer pressure will greatly help in preventing the development of addiction.
Can Addiction Be Treated?
Absolutely. All types of addiction are manageable and treatable. Addiction treatment is individualized and focused on helping the affected to manage their drug-seeking behavior through psychotherapy, medical services, and support groups.
How Can You Deal with Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, tremors, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, sweating and congestion, and changes in mood and appetite. In severe cases, it causes hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and depression.
While symptoms vary, coping with it generally requires taking medications, developing healthy habits, and seeking support.
- Medications – Medically-assisted withdrawal, especially for those with severe symptoms, is a safe way to minimize symptoms. Medical professionals may prescribe medications to manage anxiety, sleeping problems, nausea, and vomiting. It all depends on your current state.
- Healthy Habits – Adhering to a structured sleep schedule, eating nutritious food, staying hydrated, engaging in exercise, and mindfulness meditation greatly help in getting through the withdrawal process.
- Support Group Through Rehab Centers – Getting external support also helps in managing withdrawal symptoms. Rehab centers help men and women who are struggling with addiction by providing a supportive, nurturing environment.
Where to Seek Help?
As people understand addiction more and more, misconceptions and stigma will eventually dissipate. Again, addiction is a chronic disease but is highly treatable. Individuals who are struggling with addiction need help more than ever.
If you are or you know someone who is struggling with an addiction problem, visit Haven House, a recovery center around Murfreesboro that offers a holistic approach to addiction treatment. For more information, please explore our website.