Addiction is such as harsh word, and it carries with it a number of negative implications. For example, some people categorize an addict as someone that doesn’t care about themselves, their family, or life in general. Or, an addict is the homeless person down the street. Or, addicts just don’t try hard enough at life. But addiction can happen to anyone –doctors, lawyers, pastors, housewives, college students – and people shouldn’t be too quick to categorize.
Perhaps you’re struggling with thoughts of addiction. Maybe you know deep down that you are addicted to something. These thoughts may be your first step toward recovery. No one likes to admit that they have an addiction problem, but until the issue is brought to light, the grip of the addiction will continue to grow stronger and stronger.
There are actually two ways a person can be addicted to a substance. First, and more clearly, a person can be physically addicted. This is when their body has built up such a tolerance and actual dependence on the substance that if it doesn’t get it, the body suffers withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol and heroin are examples of substances that cause great physical addiction and are hard to stop without great pain and suffering.
The other way a person can be addicted is psychologically. This is often harder to manage. A person that is psychologically addicted has severe cravings and an uncontrollable desire to obtain the substance, and will often go to great lengths to get their hands on it. An example of this is cocaine. Cocaine does not produce very severe withdrawal symptoms, but a person that is addicted to it cannot seem to pull themselves away. The intense cravings that go along with withdrawal are hard for an addict to overcome. The drug becomes necessary in their life, and they will do anything to get it.
Symptoms of Addiction
So how can you tell if you are addicted? Where is that fine line between recreational use of alcohol and addiction, or between pain management and addiction to painkillers? While most addicts know they have an addiction problem, it might happen so gradually that they honestly don’t know they’ve gone so far. If an addict would take a step back and look at their life, they may find the following to be true: They have built up a tolerance for the substance, so that more of it is needed to get high. They may have the desire to quit, but are unsuccessful. They will spend more and more time trying to get the substance, including illegal behavior. They will give up things that were once important to them if it stands in the way of using their substance. They will continue to use the substance even after being made aware of its impact on their life and their loved ones’ lives.
If addiction has become part of your life, remember that it can be treated. With proper help, addicts can get sober and start living a life free from their addiction.