A Brief Portrait of Addiction
We can only live to the fullest if life itself is balanced. Every day, it’s like we’re walking on a tightrope of interests and needs. If we promote excess in one aspect, we threaten to topple over and fall. Most people carefully go through life and are able to control their impulses. However, a number of people aren’t able to do that. They walk the rope and they repeatedly sway to a certain force. Every day is one in which they fall. These are the sufferers of addiction.
Addiction is more than simple overindulgence, as many people ignorant to the issue are apt to believe. Addiction is knowing that we need to walk the straight and narrow but being physically incapable of doing so. The body and mind are entirely hooked on an experience. Addiction is extremely prevalent in our society with many factors isolated that can cause it. They vary in both their extreme and in their style, but the result is the same: a lack of control over their destiny.
Different Types of Addictions:
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) identifies three main forms of addiction: Substance, Behavioral, and Issues of Impulse Control. Combined, these three formats offer a range of 26 different recognized addictions. Although this may seem narrow, this list is actually extremely comprehensive. It recognizes a number of general acts and behaviors. Substances include items such as opium, cocaine, and hallucinogens. Impulse control issues can include pyromania. Behavioral issues, however, offer the largest range of items. Things that can be determined to be objectively bad (such as pain as seen in Masochism) are addicting, but so can things that are considered good such as exercise and working. Recently, following the pattern of societal obsession, Internet and electronics addiction was recognized and added to the list.
What Causes Addictions:
There are a number of different reasons why people become addicted. Excess stress may force people to look for releases. Escape is common for those addicted to virtual worlds. However, there are three main camps explaining why people become addicted. The proclivity is viewed through a biological, genetic, and/or sociological paradigm. Those who argue for the genetic viewpoint believe that the predisposition to become addicted is found in our genetic code. For instance, a recent study on Ozzy Osbourne’s genes determined that he was able to intake more of certain illegal substances than other human beings.
Biologists look to how the brain treats addiction. Instead of acknowledging the danger of the fall, the brain only registers the adrenalin rush. Endorphin’s are released when one partakes in their vice of choice. These pleasure chemicals are extremely addictive. The brain will seek out ways to acquire them.
Sociologically, addiction can be described as a means to fit in or to escape. Over 90% of teenagers in high school admit to trying an illegal substance. The drug of choice is alcohol or tobacco, however a third have experimented with marijuana. Statistics show that those who try drugs early on have a higher likelihood of addiction later in life.
Addiction by the Numbers:
Due to the varying degrees and types of addiction, there are no numbers as to how many total people are addicted. However, statistics exist for significant addictive issues– such as people being hooked on cocaine. In 2009, there were nearly two million people who used cocaine regularly. The problem with the highest potential to cause large-scale harm is Internet addiction. 1 in 8 Americans suffer from some form of Internet dependency and this number is expected to rise. If one thing can be clear from all of the data, it’s that the individual struggle to find balance in life will continue for many generations to come.
The word “addiction” does not only refer to drugs or alcohol. These are the main addictions we hear about and for which we seek treatment. However, there can be many other types of addictions such as gambling, sex, internet, video games, shopping, or addiction to a sport such as golf. Addiction results when a person takes something to the extreme, when you feel like you have to have alcohol every day to function, when you have abused drugs so long that you have become physically and emotionally dependent on them, or when you have been obsessed with an activity that makes you neglect your daily responsibilities. A person can be addicted to illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine or they can be addicted to a legal substance such as nicotine, alcohol, or prescription drugs.
Living every day with an addiction, giving in to temptations, and neglecting responsibilities can result in the following:
- Declining physical health
- Mental health issues
- Financial problems
- Career failing
- No social life
- Emotional health problems
- Broken relationships with family or friends
There are many addiction triggers constantly present in this world in which we live and many of them are in the home where you probably think you should be safe from addiction.
Some of these triggers include:
- Family members causing you stress
- An unclean, cluttered atmosphere
- Drab, depressing living spaces
- Living alone and loneliness
You may not think of a family member, child, spouse, or significant other as being a threat of causing you an addiction. Someone who constantly tries to manipulate you, argues with you, has an addiction of their own, or simply is hard to live with can cause you to do drugs or drink alcohol in order to tolerate your home life.
An unclean, cluttered atmosphere or a drab, depressing living space can lead you to an addiction. You do not have to live in a mansion or even expensive home. If you live in an apartment that is constantly cluttered and not clean, you may live your life the same way. Surround yourself with positive things in your home, no matter how small it may be, and you will have a more positive outlook on life. Being surrounded by a drab, depressing environment can cause you to be depressed and possibly turn to drugs or alcohol. Lighten up your home and make it feel more inviting and comfortable. You will be more tempted to have friends or co-workers over and participate in activities other than just sitting alone and drinking or doing drugs.
There are also addiction triggers outside the home. Having friends who are involved with drugs or alcohol can make these substances awfully tempting to you. Many addictions start from peer pressure or just trying to have a good time and thinking drugs or alcohol will enhance this. Anyone who urges and encourages you to use drugs or alcohol is not a true friend. As they say “misery loves company.” This saying is so true when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Consider making new friends.
With addiction at such a high rate today, there are many different addiction treatment programs from which to choose. Each individual is different and each person deserves a treatment program which will fit their individual needs and preferences. There are holistic treatment programs, faith-based programs, secular programs, traditional, self-help, among many others. One-on-one counseling is offered along with group therapy. Some clients do better with the one-on-one counseling while others gain more from the group therapy sessions.
- Making the commitment to treatment is a personal choice that each individual person must make on his or her own. There is a program for each individual and a facility that suits your preferences and needs.
- Research the different addiction treatment facilities available. Have a well-trained counselor help you design a program which suits your lifestyle where you can flourish and grow as an individual.
Residential or Inpatient Rehabilitation Center
For individuals with a long-term or severe addiction, usually a residential or inpatient rehabilitation center offers higher success rates. An individual who cannot relocate to another area or who has responsibilities at home such as school or a job can benefit highly from outpatient addiction treatment.
Whatever your circumstances or addiction, there is a facility to help you recover.