Understanding Addiction: 5 Things Everyone Should Know
Addiction is a nasty thing that plagues many people across the entire world. It's something that could have very negative effects on numerous aspects of a person’s life, their work, family, or health. In some cases, addiction can be deadly. The primary issue with addiction is that with enough time, exposure, and experience – people can get addicted to virtually anything. Everyone is well aware of the big three addictions, alcohol, drugs, and gambling. Still, many people undermine other, less prominent addictions such as a dependency on sex, adrenaline, or even social media. Deciphering and understanding addiction as a whole isn’t easy. There is a whole science constructed around dealing with addiction. Below, we’ll answer some of the most popular questions about addiction and debunk some common misconceptions about it.
Why Do We Get Addicted?Many things go into developing an addiction, and it starts at birth. Some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction and are naturally more susceptible to developing an addiction than others. Aside from genetics, the age at which people experience something that causes addiction is also a viable factor. Younger people are far more susceptible to developing an addiction when compared to their older counterparts. Social status, surroundings, and phenotypes also go into addiction development. If everyone around you is addicted to something, you’re far more likely to develop an addiction. Human beings, just like many species, mimic behaviours. Many people also develop an addiction due to exposure. Everyone is well aware of vices but tends to miss out when an occasional vice becomes a mandatory habit. If you experience a trauma, you might turn to vices to cope with it, ultimately resulting in an addiction. Lastly, another very prevalent reason why people develop an addiction is due to mental issues.
What Is Serotonin?Serotonin is a chemical in our brain, which is the main culprit behind causing happiness, euphoria, and mental wellbeing – and overexposure to serotonin can be extremely dangerous. Addiction, or physical dependency on a stimulant of some sort, is all about a chemical imbalance in the brain. A more scientific answer would be that the interference in serotonin modulation in the ventral pallidum and orbitofrontal cortex of the brain caused by a “high” is directly responsible for addiction development. When we’re exposed to too much serotonin, our brains start coping with the chemical influx. That means that when people don’t get the “high” of serotonin that they do with stimulants regularly, their body tends to seek it out, making people more susceptible to developing an addiction to the thing that caused the serotonin influx in the first place.
Is Addiction a Disease?Addiction is hugely debatable as a disease, if it was it would be one of the most prevalent diseases in the 21st century. Substance disorder is a condition that affects both your mental state, your body, and your brain. It can completely change a person in a short amount of time – and the impact it could have on a person and their lives are substantial. Addiction can ruin your education, family, prospects, motivation, achievements, and it can severely impact your judgment, further ruining your decision-making skills, so it is extremely harmful. Anything that induces a negative change in a person’s mind or body is considered a disease in some respect, and addiction does both. The model of disease is a concept though, if you cut someone open struggling with addiction, you wouldn't find any disease to remove? A hot topic of debate for sure.
What Factors Impact Our Chances of Becoming Addicted?One of the biggest issues with addiction is that it’s one of the most unpredictable conditions out there. You might get addicted to something – you might not. It’s a gamble. There are, however, numerous risk factors associated with addiction development, and we’ll list some of the most prominent below. Aside from listing the potential risk factors for addiction development – we’ll briefly explain each one.
1. Hereditary implicationsSome people are naturally prone to addiction more than others. That might be one of the leading causes of addiction globally.
2. Environmental conditionsDepending on your environment, surroundings, and social standard – you might be more prone to developing an addiction.
3. Substance of choiceSome substances are far more likely to cause addiction than others. Smoking crack cocaine is far more addictive than having sexual intercourse.
4. Exposure to addictive substancesIf someone is exposed to something that might cause an addiction, especially in early life, they’re far more likely to try it, thus augmenting addiction development chances.
5. Normalization of substance abuseThe normalization of substance abuse is a plague that significantly increases the chances of developing an addiction to something.
How Is It Treated?An addition is typically treated by addiction therapy. Depending on the type of substance abuse, this therapy could include pharmaceuticals. Addiction therapy is a long process that requires persistence, and that’s why so many people fail on their first try. A typical addiction therapy process includes:
- Detoxification and withdrawal from the substance causing the addiction
- The administration of pharmaceuticals that lessen withdrawal symptoms
- Professional mental assistance in the form of psychotherapy
- Reintegration into society and motivational support