What is the Definition of an Addict?

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What is the Definition of an Addict?

This seems like a simple question, an addict is someone who has a condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. But what is addiction? According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is defined as a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.

 

For hundreds of thousands of years, our brain’s reward system ensures our survival by rewarding us when we engage in survival related activities, such as eating, mating, or even escaping. This system has been working for us all of this time, though it sometimes can become smart for its own good by finding ways to exploit the reward system. This often can happen by taking external substances. Unfortunately, with an overabundance of reward chemicals in the system, our bodies would respond to it by reducing the natural reward production, or reducing the receptors involved in the reward system. Slowly, the body builds tolerance to the external substances, causing the need for higher dosages. This forces the user to chase a high that cannot be reached, but yet they cannot function without it, gradually forming a disease called addiction. Addiction often leads to changes in behavior and emotional responses that can cause dysfunctions in personal relationships. If addiction goes untreated, it can become dangerous and in some cases, lethal.   

Signs of an Addict?

  1. Inability to quit using the substance or partaking in an activity.

  2. Impairment in behavioral control

  3. Withdrawal and cravings

  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems

  5. A dysfunctional Emotional response.

 

Am I an Addict?

No one intends on being an addict, we are often convinced that we can handle it, or can stop at any time. Which could be the case when starting out, but slowly the dependency builds up, and it becomes an addiction. Recognizing the addiction is the first step you can take towards a positive and healthy way to manage it. Below is a list of questions that can help you recognize the addiction.

  1. Have you failed repeatedly to resist the impulses to use?

  2. Do the impulses come frequently and become stronger the longer you resist?

  3. Do you go through cycles of multiple attempts to stop, only to relapse?

  4. Do you spend a lot of time to obtain and engage in a specific substance or activity?

  5. Do you neglect your responsibilities and obligations in favor of your addiction?

  6. Have you engaged in destructive behavior, knowing in advance that it would have negative effects on your social, financial, academic, and physical endeavors?

  7. Do you find the need to increase the dosage, frequency, or intensity and risk partaking in destructive behaviors to satisfy the impulse?

  8. Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when the impulse to engage was not met? Such as distress, anxiety, or violence, etc

I might be an addict, what do I do now?

There is no magic bullet, coping with addiction requires commitment and a long-term plan to maintain it. You do not have to try and tackle the problem alone. Reach out to your close family and friends as well as a professional in the field of addiction. Consider the social networks you are engaged in. Quit those which may have a negative impact on you and join those which you feel may help. It is important to have family and friends that would support your commitment and not encourage and enable the addiction. Surrounding yourself with positive influences and people you can turn to for encouragement and guidance greatly increase the chances for recovery.

 

For Mental health and healthcare resources click here

 

For more information on different types of treatment available at a safe and reliable location, visit: http://elitecaretreatment.com/

http://www.asam.org/quality-practice/definition-of-addiction

https://www.rightstep.com/alcohol-and-drug-addiction/am-i-an-addict/

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/overcoming-drug-addiction.htm