7 Important Factors To Know About Addictions

What is an addiction? 

An addiction is described as “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. NHS states that 1 in 3 people are addicted to something.

Addiction is about having no control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you. It is commonly associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol, and nicotine but it is possible to be addicted to other things. 

Different types of addictions

  • Work: some people become so obsessed with their work that it affects them physically. It may take over family life as well.

  • Internet: as computer and mobile use has increased, so has internet addictions. People may spend hours of the day surfing the internet, gaming and therefore neglecting other aspects of their life.

  • Solvents: this is inhaling substance such as glue, aerosols, or petrol to give you a feeling of intoxication.

  • Shopping: this becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t want or need in order to achieve the buzz from doing so.

  • Porn: increased activity of watching porn will create unrealistic expectations of sex.

What causes addictions 

There are many reasons why addictions begin. When considering drugs, alcohol and nicotine, it is important to note that these substances affect the way you feel, physically and mentally. Eventually, these feelings can be enjoyable, therefore encouraging you to use again.

Gambling can also be a result of a similar high after getting a win, following a strong urge to try again and recreate the feelings and emotions. 

Becoming addicted to something means when you do not have it, you get withdrawal symptoms or a come down, making it easier to carry on having and doing what you crave. An addiction often gets out of control because you need more and more to satisfy the craving or gain the high.

Some studies suggest addiction is genetic, but environmental factors such as being around others who have an addiction will increase a persons’ risk.

Unemployment and poverty can trigger addictions, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.

How addiction can affect you

Strain of management of addictions can cause damage to your work life or personal life and in the case of substance misuse, it can lead to psychological and physical effects.

Addiction is also a way of blocking out painful or difficult events or issues which  happened or are happening in your life.

How to help someone suffering from an addiction

Although it is important for people with addictions to feel a certain level of discomfort from their addiction before they feel motivated to seek help, there are many ways in which the process can be facilitated.

Loved ones and friends can stop covering up for the individual experiencing the addiction. They can stop cleaning up the mess or stop making excuses for the individual with the addiction.

Besides, it is important to be aware that many people experiencing addiction will feel embarrassed about this and therefore do not want to talk about it. How you deal with and speak to someone with an addiction, will affect the response you get. Here are things to concern when addressing addiction: 

  • Letting the person know you are concerned and ready to listen to them.
  • Provide them with information, encouragement and recovery stories.
  • Help with problem solving and develop skills to deal with tempting situations.
  • Try not to argue with them, blame or judge them, this will push them further away

Interventions like this will help an addicted person see and understand all the consequences of their addiction.

  • How to protect yourself from addiction

Research has identified factors that can help protect children and teens from developing addictions, these include: 

  • Having a good adult role model
  • Having strong and open family relationships
  • Having good relationships in schools and communities
  • Having goals and ambitions for the future
  • Being involved in extra curriculum activities like sport, farming or cadets
  • Having these in plan will not guarantee addiction will not happen, but it will reduce the risk.

Recognising signs that someone has an addiction

If you or someone you know has an addiction, you will likely notice the following signs: 

  • Withdrawal from activities they used to do.
  • Lose of control of self in some situations.
  • Engaging in risky behaviours.
  • Financial trouble
  • Neglecting themselves or family.
  • Isolation
  • Development of unhealthy relationships

It is important to remember addiction is often linked to mental health problems and sometimes it may start as a way of coping with feelings that you felt unable to deal with in another way.

Services to help and support addiction: 

www.mind.org.uk

https://www.nhs.uk/

http://addictionni.com/

www.actionaddiction.org.uk

www.drinkaware.co.uk

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