Defining Addiction

Drug addiction

In this day and age, the word “addiction” is thrown around rather casually. Without thinking twice, people say things like “I’m addicted to chocolate.” They listen to songs with lyrics or titles like “Addicted to Love” and “Addicted to You.” So, anyone who is concerned with the serious problem of drug addiction needs to ask themselves the big question: How do we define addiction? What’s the difference between simply liking something and being addicted to it? Is there a difference?

12-step programs provide a good starting point for defining addiction. There are two concepts in these programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous: the physical side of addiction and the mental side of addiction. The physical side is called a “craving.” This is the part of addiction that makes every addict unable to control or moderate how much drink or drug they use. For example, most alcoholics have gone out to parties or bars, intending to have only one drink. Addicts go over a friend’s house and plan on only taking one hit. Yet, they take one drink or drug and lose all control. Despite all their effort, they wind up blacking out, unconscious or at least getting more intoxicated than they’d wanted. Drug addicts likewise make dozens of ATM runs per night until they’re out of money — this is the physical part of addiction, “craving.”

If craving makes an addict unable to control their drug use, then the only other option is to stop altogether. However, the mental side of addiction, the “obsession,” makes this impossible. Addicts and alcoholics often try to stop once they realize they have a problem. Whether it’s problems with the law, their family, health, work, or school, they often have good reason to stop. However, they are bound to come across drugs or alcohol at some point — whether they’re hanging out with friends or simply walking past a bar. Once they see it, smell it, or hear it, they will either use or obsess about using drugs. Their situation is hopeless; they are powerless over that first drink or drug.

The problem of addiction is in an addict’s mind and body: his mind cannot resist getting high, and when he gets high his body cannot control his use. There is only one solution to this problem and it all starts with treatment. There, the body is separated from drugs and the mind learns to live without drugs.

To find a treatment center near you, call Recovery Hub today at 888-231-9174!

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