What Is Addiction?

What is addiction? Whether you know it or not, you probably know someone who struggles with an addiction of some sort.  This website will provide in depth explanations of all different types of addictions, as well as treatment for those addictions. This page is just a brief overview of some of the aspects of addiction. 

The Merriam-Webster definition of addiction is pretty on point - exhibiting a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity.  While the actual definition of addiction is a good place to start, it doesn't even begin to explain what addiction really is and how it effects people. 

What Is Addiction, Really?

So what is addiction, really? Addiction destroys lives and it does not discriminate. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, it doesn't matter where you live, and it doesn't matter that you never thought you would be addicted to something. People just like you and me lose their homes, their families, and their lives to addiction all the time. 

It's insidious - sometimes by the time you realize you are addicted to something, it's a little bit too late to 'just stop' doing it. It can sneak up on you slowly, but once you become aware of it, it never goes away. 

Addiction is not being able to stop drinking even when you want to. Addiction is waking up in the morning and promising yourself that you won't drink or do drugs that day, but you do it anyway. Addiction is disappointing the people around you, disappointing yourself, and throwing away opportunities because something else has such a strong hold on your life and becomes more important than anything else. 


How Do You Know if it's Addiction?

Addiction can be one of those things that you'll know it when you see it, but that's only if you're ready to see it. Whether you're worried about you or a loved one being addicted to something, you must really be ready to face it and acknowledge it before you'll recognize the behaviors as addiction. 

So again, what is addiction? What behaviors  should you be looking for when trying to figure out if you or a loved one is addicted to something? Let's use drugs as an example, since that's one of the most common addictions.

  • you can't stop thinking about using or obtaining drugs
  • you're constantly worried about running out of drugs, even when you have some in your possession
  • you miss important appointments because you're busy doing drugs or you just have no motivation to participate in any of your day to day responsibilities 
  • you're falling behind on bill payments because your money is being spent on drugs
  • you're lying about your drug use so that people don't know how much you're actually using
  • you do things that you promise yourself you wouldn't do in order to obtain drugs
  • you continue using drugs even though you want to stop
  • you continue using drugs after promising yourself that you won't use them anymore
  • you're depressed and have a complete lack of motivation to do anything productive 

The list above is most definitely not exhaustive, but it's a good start for behaviors to look for when you're trying to figure out what addiction really is.  

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