What is addiction?
An addiction is a state where your body craves a particular substance or behaviour. But addiction is generally defined as not having control over something you do, take, or use to the point where it could be harmful or even life-threatening. While some addictions are more common than others, it’s possible to get addicted to almost anything, but addiction is usually associated with:
What causes addiction?
There are plenty of reasons why addictions can start for anyone. They’re often associated with activities that bring short-term pleasure and release from everyday life and pressures or counteract feelings of depression or anxiety. Certain chemicals in our brains are stimulated by these activities and encourage us to keep going, enjoying the ‘highs’ or the rewards they give us.
These ‘highs’ result from the brain’s increased dopamine, a chemical that allows you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, or motivation, and endorphins released during pleasurable activities and help relieve pain or stress.
When life is mundane or stressful, or if you’re feeling depressed, these natural chemicals are in short supply. This natural ‘deficiency’ is when addiction, and the feelings of reward and motivation it brings, can start, helping to develop a habit you can’t stop. This addiction can eventually get out of control, leaving you needing more to satisfy your cravings and get that ‘high’.
How addictions can affect you
If someone is addicted to something, you’ll notice certain behavioural, emotional, or physical changes in them. Being dismissive about how their addiction is affecting themselves and others and a lack of emotion or self-control can be serious indicators, but other signs or symptoms can include:
- Erratic behaviour such as being secretive or unpredictable
- Blaming other people or situations for their issues
- Heightened anxiety, depression, or paranoia
- Weight loss, memory loss, insomnia, or other health issues
Addictions can also significantly impact your life, including your relationships, finances, career, and studies. But addiction will also affect your friends and family through trust issues, stealing, or even putting your children through traumatic experiences that could lead to PTSD.
Get help with addiction counselling & psychotherapy
Our team of experienced counsellors and psychotherapists at Devon Therapy Services have the skills to help you address and understand the underlying problems you’re facing that are attached to your addiction. Wherever you’re based in Exeter or Torbay, if you’re feeling helpless, our addiction counselling will get you on the path to recovery.
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