Addiction is one of the world’s most sensitive problems. We see it and hear about it on a daily basis. So, I decided to answer the most common questions about this awful condition, which are:
- What is Addiction?
- How it develops?
- Who does it affect most?
- Is it curable?
There are many definitions of addiction, but I’ve found the shortest way to describe it.
What is addiction?
Addiction — is a repeated powerful motivation to engage in a purposeful behaviour that has no survival value, acquires as a result of engaging in that behaviour with significant potential for unintended harm.
In other words, it’s a chronic disease when your body and brain repeatedly urge you to do some addictive act you’ve done before, despite harmful consequences.
How it develops?
The development of addiction is a very complicated process and a variety of individual factors like genetics, stress, age and even metabolism play a role in forming it.
When a person is addicted to something, that object of his addiction affects the brain’s reward system. That’s when ΔFosB comes in. It is a protein which in excess triggers a series of transcription events, that ultimately produce an addictive state and because of it’s quite long half-life it can sustain for months, causing all the withdrawal symptoms. Addiction can often lead to tolerance, which means that gradually the person needs more and more of whatever they’re addicted to. Despite the progress in the research it’s still not clear why some people develop addiction very easily and some just don’t. And here comes our next question:
Who Does It Affect Most?
As I wrote earlier there is a variety of factors that can make a person an addict. However, there are some groups of people who become addicts more often that others.
The first risk factor is age. Teenagers are extremely vulnerable for developing addiction and once they have formed it, they become more resistant to the treatment.
Genetics can also contribute to development of addiction. For example, children with an addicted parent are four times more likely to become addicts themselves, than children without addiction in tha family history.
And finally — environment. Factors like physical and sexual abuse, stress, depression and peer pressure can easily turn someone into an addict.
BUT, it’s important to note, that even without any of those factors, anyone can become an addict. Addiction is a chronic brain disease and no one can c̲h̲o̲o̲s̲e̲ to become an addict. It can strike anyone at any time, so you can’s prevent it by just stopping doing the harmful deed.
How to deal with it?
Unfortunately, like with most chronic diseases there is no cure for addiction. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
The first and most important step of the treatment for the person is acknowledging the problem. Treatment options depend on the type of substance the patient is addicted to. Typically, it includes a combination of impatient and outpatient programs, psychotherapy, self-help group and medication. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioural therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.
As you can see, addiction is a very individual issue and that’s the reason why it has become a global problem. Unfortunately, too many people become addicted because of their vulnerability, psychological issues or just not fitting in. And one bad decision can turn their lives upside down in a blink of an eye. So, if you know anyone who’s right on the edge or worse — if you are that person, don’t waste a minute and GET HELP!