What is Addiction?

What is addiction? The science of understanding addiction can be very complicated as there are many factors that contribute to causing addiction toward certain substances and behaviors. What is addiction is often asked by those who think they might be addicted, or know someone that might have an addiction.


Addictions to drugs and other substances can create devastating effects and even lead to a drug overdose and death in some individuals that become addicted to drugs. Methamphetamine is often the most widely used drug to cause addiction in those that use it. Addiction can happen quickly when it comes to drugs, alcohol and other substances. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of addiction, what causes it and how to get over addiction to drugs and other substances.

What is Addiction?

Scientists, medical professionals and researchers have redefined the meaning of addiction time and time again as new research to support the underlying causes and effects of addiction continues to emerge. Understanding the answer to what is addiction is a good start for those scientists, medical professionals and researchers to be able to determine the best approach to treatment and therapy to help those who are addicted to abusing drugs and other substances get on the road to recovery to become free from addiction. 

Addiction is often referred to as a disease because of the way that it mentally causes damage to the brain and the rest of the body along with the damaging effects that the substance or drug itself has on the overall health and mental wellbeing of the individual. Many researchers believe that addiction is actually considered a disease over which the addicted person finds themselves powerless to overcome. That is when programs like the 12-step program in Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are used to help assist the addict in their recovery as the addict is usually virtually incapable of getting over their addiction on their own. 

Signs of Addiction:

The first signs of addiction present themselves when the person who is addicted is unable to control their need for alcohol or drugs despite negative consequences like failing health, damaging relationships with loved ones and their ability to hold down a job or avoid legal repercussions of their illegal drug use. The addiction is further defined as the illness becomes more and more difficult to treat for the addict and related health problems arise like organ disease and heart failure. 

The biggest thing to remember about addiction is that the disease gets worse and worse over time. Symptoms of addiction include tolerance, which means the addict will build up a tolerance to their current level of drug or alcohol use and will need to consume more drugs or alcohol in higher volumes in order to achieve the same level of high or drunkenness. With a higher volume of these substances, the more damage that is being done to the body's organs, which can essentially provide a slow death for the addict. 

Symptoms of addiction include tolerance building and withdrawal symptoms like panic, anxiety, nausea, headaches and other physical symptoms if the addict tries to stop using the drugs. Many addicts do not realize they have a problem, or if they do realize it, they might refuse to admit it. Instead, they risk severe health problems, losing their job, causing strain and irreparable damage to loving relationships and friendships as well as legal repercussions by refusing to admit they have an addiction to their choice of drug or alcohol. 

Addiction Recovery:

While it is not an easy road, many addicts are fully capable of recovering from their drug or alcohol addiction with the help of programs, group support, family and friend support and possible therapy treatments. Drug rehab centers can also help those interested in recovering from their addiction make it through the withdrawal symptoms, which is often the most difficult part of recovery. From there, the addict can continue treatment and therapy to deal with the emotional struggles included in the recovery process. Getting help the sooner the better is always the best option when it comes to addiction. 

Sources: na.org, hbo.com 

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