There are many misconceptions and a fair bit of uncertainty about the nature of addictions, how they’re caused, what course they follow and how best to treat them. This section will shine some light on the key issues.
Addictions are one of the most serious problems of the society in the modern era, affecting not only the persons in lack of control, but also their families. Consequently, the social environment gets deteriorated and inappropriate for the new generations. The topic of addictions is surrounded by misconceptions and indistinctness about their causes and the best available treatment.
Here are the most important aspects of addictions:
To begin with, addictions cannot be controlled. Never mind the type of substance used, people addicted to it will probably say that even though they want to stop using it, they are unable to do so. Studies show that the number of people having difficulties in their professional or personal life due to abusive use of substances is on the rise, especially in countries with mature economies. The best example to show the nature of addictive substances is to look at cigarette smoking. Smokers admit that the strong sense of ‘needing’ to light up a cigarette is particularly in situations when this is not allowed, such as on a flight or in a public building. Compulsive behaviour constitutes the physiologic aspect of addictions and how a substance has impact on the brain. With smoking, it is the effect that nicotine has on the brain that a person feels in need of. Nevertheless, there also are psychological aspects that can trigger the use of addictive substance: the illusion that smoking helps to concentrate or to feel integrated in a social group.
Another aspect of addictions is the state of dependence they create. Practically, this means that one feels that he/she needs to use the substance they are addicted to for being able to carry on with work or in order to survive. However, this does not necessarily mean that dependence is exactly the same with addiction. Those two words should not be regarded as absolute terms: there are many types of dependence and certainly different levels of intensity. The substance’s toxicity, its use, the physical or mental problems it causes and how the person’s social relationships are affected by its use will determine the severity of the addiction.
Furthermore, addictions develop over a certain period of time. When starting to use addictive substances, the majority of people think that they can stop and break free from this behaviour whenever they want. This is most of the times not true and what happens is that the more a person consumes an addictive substance, the more he/she will need to use it. After the first try- most of the times caused by the desire to experiment new sensations- one might start consuming the substance occasionally, or even regularly. Meanwhile, the body becomes more tolerant to the new substance, and in order to achieve the desired effect, one has to increase the dose.
Finally, the damage caused by an addiction cannot be measured only by considering its impact on physical health, but also the implication addiction has on one’s personal and professional life. In the majority of cases, addictions become all consuming, leading to self-destruction.