What is Addiction?
Addiction occurs when a person cannot stop using drugs or alcohol even if he wants to and even if the substance use is negatively affecting his life. Addiction take its toll on the person using and everyone around him. It can cause a person to lose nearly everything – family, friends, a job and anything else the user holds dear.
In the beginning, drug or alcohol use is often seen as a form of escape, from the stresses of life, from difficult circumstances or from boredom and loneliness. Over time, use of the substance becomes more important and starts to encompass every corner of the person’s life. At some point, substance use becomes about more than feeling “good” and starts to be about feeling “normal.” At this stage, most people will require professional treatment to overcome the addiction and discover a new life of sobriety.
Symptoms of Addiction
There are a number of criteria that are used to determine whether a person has an addiction:
- Limited Control – drinking or using more than you planned or wanted to
- Tolerance – needing more of the substance to get the same effect
- Desire to Stop – inability to stop using even if you have a desire to stop
- Withdrawal – experiencing negative symptoms if you stop using
- Negative Results – continued use even if you have experienced negative consequences to your using
- Withdrawal from Friends, Activities – neglecting professional or social responsibilities to have more time to use
- Time Spent on Using – significantly more time spent getting, using and recovering from the substance
Effects of Addiction
People use substances because they stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. However, that stimulation also changes basic brain chemistry and function, so you continue to crave the substance even after you begin to experience negative effects of using. Other effects of addiction can be extreme mood changes, depression, anxiety, paranoia and hostility.
Physical effects of addiction can be just as devastating. Substance abuse can lead to damage of vital organs like the heart, kidneys and liver. Use can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke and some types of cancer. In some cases, the damage can be too severe to be reversed, even if the substance is stopped.
Addiction is a serious disease with long-term ramifications. It is important to seek professional help for your addiction so you can successfully conquer your substance use and move to a healthier, happier life of sobriety. To get the help you need today, contact The Last Resort at 512-750-6750.