Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, even health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction Cycle
Addiction Cycle
  • Thirst, craving or impulsiveness to make use of the substance or carry out an activity.
  • Lack of ability to limit use of a substance or activity beyond need leading to clinically significant impairment
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Sleeping a lot more or less than usual or at odd times
  • Unexplained variations in energy levels
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Coughs or sniffles
  • Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
  • Expanded or contracted Pupils of the eyes
  • Secretiveness and evasiveness
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Financially unpredictability
  • new and odd friends, peculiar phone conversations
  • Repeated unexplained trips, often with a sense of urgency
  • Drug paraphernalia such as unusual pipes, cigarette papers, small weighing scales, etc
  • “Stashes” of drugs, often in small plastic, paper or foil packages
  • Recurrent use of the drug or activity escalates to achieve the desired effect, indicating tolerance.

Types of Addictions

People can be addicted to many different substances, from alcohol and illegal drugs to prescription medicines, as well as to some types of behaviour.

  • Alcoholism
  • Amphetamines These synthetic drugs are used as stimulants. It is a drug formerly used to treat depression and as an appetite suppressant, or any of its derivatives.
  • Cannabis. A drug produced in various forms from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, smoked or chewed. Its recreational use is illegal in many countries. It causes psychotic illness.
  • Cocaine one of the most dangerous drugs, an addictive narcotic drug obtained from the leaves of the coca plant, taken illegally as a stimulant (Formula: C17H21NO4)
  • Ecstasy an illegal drug used as a stimulant and relaxer of inhibitions (Formula: C11H15NO2), immediate or short-term effects include an increased heart rate and raised blood pressure
  • Gambling
  • Heroin  renowned for being one of the most dangerous drugs, a white powder derived from morphine that is a highly addictive narcotic drug. It is prohibited for medical use in most countries.
  • LSD  A hallucinogenic drug made from lysergic acid that was used experimentally as a medicine and is taken as an illegal drug
  • Legal highs. Medicines like cough syrups etc, used as drugs
  • Mephedrone and Naphyrone  Stimulants with effects similar to amphetamines, ecstasy or cocaine
  • Methadone. A synthetic narcotic drug that is similar to morphine in its painkilling effect. Used as a substitute for heroin in the treatment of addiction.
  • Nicotine  one of the most powerfully and widely used addictive drugs
  • Painkillers May result in a silent addiction
  • Sex addiction
  • Tranquilizers May be used to relieve anxiety or induce sleep
  • Internet Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction

Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment Cycle
Addiction Treatment Cycle

Addiction is difficult to treat, furthermore, addicts and their families are usually ashamed to accept their addiction. Addiction also relapse, if there is not a proper monitoring and support system for the addict. Addiction is a disorder and it must be treated as early as possible. Addiction Treatment Cycle indicates steps that are involved in addiction treatment.

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