Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of the brain. There are two signs when it comes to addiction.
1. Using more than you would like to use
2. Using even with the negative consequences you experience
From the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to qualify as an addiction, it required to have three of the following.
1. Tolerance- Do you use more over time? The ability to handle more drugs or alcohol with minimal effect?
2. Withdrawal- experience emotional or physical withdrawal when you stop using or doing something? Do you experience irritability, nausea, anxiety, vomiting, shakes and sweating? Emotional withdrawal is also possible.
3. Limited Control- Do you use or do something more than you would like? Do you regret your actions after?
4. Negative Consequences- Do you continue your habits regardless of the consequences?
5. Neglected or postponed activities- Do you ever put off household duties or recreational activities due to your habit?
6. Significant time or energy spent- Do you spend a lot of time trying to hide or make excuses for your habit?
7. Desire to cut down- Have your tried to stop your addiction or cut back but have been unsuccessful?
If you said yes to three or more of any of those questions above provided by the APA and WHO you may have an addiction problem. There are different stages of addiction. You want to seek help as soon as possible because while it’s never easy to quit the consequences won’t be a severe early on. The longer you wait the worse it will get. Did you know that addiction to drugs or alcohol is more common than diabetes?
Causes and Risks-
1. Family: having a family member with an addiction makes you 50% more likely to develop an addiction also.
2. Poor coping skills: stress can be a major risk factor for addiction. This is especially true when you are unable to find healthy ways to relax.
3. Anxiety or depression: 15 to 30% of those who suffer from depression may also have an addiction problem.
4. Negative thinking: when looking at the negative things tend to go that way. You want to find ways to help you escape and relax.
When you think of addictions most people think of drugs and alcohol. There are actually many different types of addictions. There are 3 categories: substances, impulse control, and behavioral.
Substance addiction includes:
4. Prescription drugs
Behavioral addiction includes:
3. Video games
Impulse control addiction includes:
Chronic alcohol use can interfere with your physical and mental health. Alcohol can reduce your anxiety, your feeling guilt and impair your judgment. Alcohol can damage your vital organs such as your heart, liver and brain. They symptoms of alcoholism includes:
• Increasing tolerance
• Wanting to drink more often
• Arguing about having a drinking problem
• Issues with relationships, jobs and law enforcement
• Hiding alcohol from others
• Losing control when drinking
There are five types of alcoholics:
1. Young adult alcoholics
2. Young antisocial alcoholics
3. Functional alcoholics
4. Intermediate familial alcoholics
5. Chronic severe alcoholics
Negative effects of alcohol include:
• Slow reaction time
• Changes to emotion
• Loss of balance
• Slurred speech
• Blurry vision
• Increase in urine production
• Lower body temperature
Alcohol poisoning can be deadly if not treated immediately. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning are:
• Extremely intoxicated
• Memory loss and confusion
• Turning blue
• Irregular breathing
• Unconscious and wont wake up
Tobacco or nicotine dependency is a addictive substance. Meaning you have a hard time not using regardless of the harm it’s causing you and those around you. Nicotine produces toxins that affect your mood temporarily. This makes you want more because of its “high” affect. Those who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease, cancers like lung or throat. It’s possible to stop smoking even though it’s very difficult. The longer you smoke the harder it is to quit.
Symptoms of nicotine dependency include:
1. Attempting to stop smoking but unable too.
2. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back or quit.
3. Continuing to smoke regardless of health problems
4. You give up other activities so you can continue to smoke.
Important facts about nicotine
1. Nicotine is one of the most used, addictive drugs in the United States.
2. The CDC stated there are more than 440,000 preventable deaths causes by nicotine every year.
3. Nicotine can decrease the ability of sperm to fertilize eggs up to 75%
4. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constricts. Its advised women who are pregnant no smoke because it can cause less nutrients and oxygen to your baby.
Shopping addiction is also known as compulsive shopping or over-shopping. A shopping addiction is not considered a mental health disorder. Many medical professionals think that is should be a disorder. How do we know the difference between shopping and a shopping addiction? A shopping addiction is defined when it has a negative effect on your life. Shopping can cause money problems and relationship issues because of your shopping problems. Those with shopping problems have trouble controlling their spending. They also tend to be very materialistic and are very impulsive.
Living with a shopping addiction would be very difficult because we have to shop for items for our lives. Whether it be groceries, household items, clothes, gifts , things for our kids. Some ideas for when you have to go shopping if you do have a shopping problem.
• Take someone with you so you can only get the essentials.
• Cancel store credit cards to avoid unnecessary shopping.
• Only take a certain amount of cash into a store. If you are just shopping for fun that way you only have a certain amount to spend.
When trying to overcome your shopping addiction make a spending plan. Those with shopping problems usually end up having financial problems. To help with your financial issues you can consider selling some of the items you have bought that you wont use. You may not get 100% of what you bought it for but you can get something back. Its better than sitting in the back of the closet. You could also consider therapy.
A food addiction is the compulsive consumption of high fat and sugar foods. This activates the reward system regardless of the consequences.
While those who struggle with food addiction crave things like sugar, salt and fats. They may also struggle with their weight due to their need to eat. When those who try to cut back or stop their addictive food choice they may experience withdrawal symptoms. such as:
• Mood changes
• Shame and fear about food
• Secret eating
Going to therapy can help with this addictive behavior tremendously. Since we all have to eat. There are programs that can help you get back on track with eating correctly and healthy. As with any disorder, mental or physical you need a support system to be there for you.
Gambling addiction is also known as a “hidden illness”, there are no physical symptoms. There are many signs of someone with a gambling problem. This includes :
• Being secretive, hiding or lying about the fact that you’re gambling
• Gambling even when you don’t have the money. Gambling away bill money.
• You cant control your gambling problem.
• Your family and friends are worried you have a problem with gambling.
• Gambling can land you into debt. Bailing someone out of debt who has a gambling problem is like providing alcohol to someone with a drinking problem. Are you being helpful? Yes financially but they will most likely end up in debt again.
• You don’t have to gamble daily for it to become a issue.
• Many problems can be caused from gambling. Financial issues can be a major issue. It can cause relationship issues, problems with your job. It can also cause anxiety and depression. In severe cases those have been known to commit suicide.
• Anyone can develop a gambling problem. No one is more prone to a gambling addiction over someone else.
There are ways you can help yourself to stop gambling. It can be tricky because there are many reasons someone gambles.
1. Reason people gamble:
2. You get that adrenaline rush
3. Some find it relaxing after a stressful day
4. Some try to use it as a way to solve their financial issues.
5. It can be used as a social gathering
6. Used to drown out your problems.
There are some way to do and find those same things but without gambling your money away. For those who like that adrenaline rush you could find things to do. Go dirt bike riding, rock climbing or if you want to be very adventurous you could go sky diving. When wanting to find ways to relax try taking a bath, getting a massage, go to the gym and workout.
When trying to solve financial issues, make a budget. If you are having serious problems consider contacting a financial adviser. When wanting to be more social consider volunteering, going with friends to a concert or a show.
A lot of people will say they don’t have a gambling problem but here are some signs that say you may have a problem:
1. Feeling irritable when you try to stop.
2. When you try to win back your loses.
3. When you lie to cover up how much your gambling
4. Gambling when anxious or upset
Those who have serious gambling problems tend to have suicidal tendencies. Suicide is NOT the solution. You are able to overcome any addiction with help and a support system. It will be a process and not a overnight thing so be patient with yourself.