Understanding Addiction and What It Feels Like to Be Addicted

Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse

Understanding Addiction and What It Feels Like to Be Addicted

Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to.

In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.

Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.

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What Is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.

The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.

These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a «relapsing» disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It's common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn't mean that treatment doesn’t work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.

What happens to the brain when a person takes drugs?

Most drugs affect the brain's «reward circuit,» causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine.

A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones.

Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.

As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it.

This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high.

These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, food, sex, or social activities.

Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:

  • learning
  • judgment
  • decision-making
  • stress
  • memory
  • behavior

Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction.

Why do some people become addicted to drugs while others don't?

No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:

  • Biology. The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person's risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
  • Environment. A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s lihood of drug use and addiction.
  • Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more ly it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.

Can drug addiction be cured or prevented?

As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isn’t a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.

People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.

Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.

More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.

Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use.

Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.

  • Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
  • Brain changes that occur over time with drug use challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease.
  • Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment.
  • Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.
  • Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high.
  • No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
  • Drug addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
  • More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.

Learn more

For information about understanding drug use and addiction, visit:

For more information about the costs of drug abuse to the United States, visit:

  • www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics#costs

For more information about prevention, visit:

  • www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/prevention

For more information about treatment, visit:

  • www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/treatment

To find a publicly funded treatment center in your state, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit:

  • https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NIDA. 2018, June 6. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

NIDA. «Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts.» National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 Jun. 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

NIDA. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction. June 6, 2018

Источник: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

Dealing With Addiction

Understanding Addiction and What It Feels Like to Be Addicted

Jason's life is beginning to unravel. His grades have slipped, he's moody, he doesn't talk to his friends, and he has stopped showing up for practice. Jason's friends know he has been experimenting with drugs and now they're worried he has become addicted.

Defining an addiction is tricky, and knowing how to handle one is even harder.

What Are Substance Abuse and Addiction?

The difference between substance abuse and addiction is very slight. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance or using a legal substance in the wrong way. Addiction begins as abuse, or using a substance marijuana or cocaine.

You can abuse a drug (or alcohol) without having an addiction. For example, just because Sara smoked pot a few times doesn't mean that she has an addiction, but it does mean that she's abusing a drug — and that could lead to an addiction.

People can get addicted to all sorts of substances. When we think of addiction, we usually think of alcohol or illegal drugs. But people become addicted to medicines, cigarettes, even glue.

Some substances are more addictive than others: Drugs crack or heroin are so addictive that they might only be used once or twice before the user loses control.

Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who's addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.

Physical Addiction

Being physically addicted means a person's body becomes dependent on a particular substance (even smoking is physically addictive). It also means building tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than ever before to get the same effects.

Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes may experience withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.

Psychological Addiction

Psychological addiction happens when the cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by the desire to have a drug. They may lie or steal to get it.

A person crosses the line between abuse and addiction when he or she is no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high, but has come to depend on it. His or her whole life centers around the need for the drug. An addicted person — whether it's a physical or psychological addiction or both — no longer feels there is a choice in taking a substance.

Signs of Addiction

The most obvious sign of an addiction is the need to have a particular drug or substance. However, many other signs can suggest a possible addiction, such as changes in mood or weight loss or gain. (These also are signs of other conditions too, though, such as depression or eating disorders.)

Signs that you or someone you know may have a drug or alcohol addiction include:

Psychological signals:

  • use of drugs or alcohol as a way to forget problems or to relax
  • withdrawal or keeping secrets from family and friends
  • loss of interest in activities that used to be important
  • problems with schoolwork, such as slipping grades or absences
  • changes in friendships, such as hanging out only with friends who use drugs
  • spending a lot of time figuring out how to get drugs
  • stealing or selling belongings to be able to afford drugs
  • failed attempts to stop taking drugs or drinking
  • anxiety, anger, or depression
  • mood swings

Physical signals:

  • changes in sleeping habits
  • feeling shaky or sick when trying to stop
  • needing to take more of the substance to get the same effect
  • changes in eating habits, including weight loss or gain

Getting Help

If you think that you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, recognizing the problem is the first step in getting help.

Many people think they can kick the problem on their own, but that rarely works. Find someone you trust to talk to.

It may help to talk to a friend or someone your own age at first, but a supportive and understanding adult is your best option for getting help.

If you can't talk to your parents, you might want to approach a school counselor, relative, doctor, favorite teacher, or religious leader.

Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not easy. Quitting drugs or drinking is probably going to be one of the hardest things you or your friend have ever done. It's not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program to do so.

Tips for Recovery

After you start a treatment program, try these tips to make the road to recovery less bumpy:

  • Tell your friends about your decision to stop using drugs. True friends will respect your decision. This might mean that you need to find a new group of friends who will be 100% supportive. Unless everyone decides to kick their drug habit at once, you probably won't be able to hang out with the friends you did drugs with.
  • Ask your friends or family to be available when you need them. You might need to call someone in the middle of the night just to talk. If you're going through a tough time, don't try to handle things on your own — accept the help your family and friends offer.
  • Accept invitationsonly to events that you know won't involve drugs or alcohol. Going to the movies is probably safe, but you may want to skip a Friday night party until you're feeling more secure. Plan activities that don't involve drugs. Go to the movies, try bowling, or take an art class with a friend.
  • Have a plan about what you'll do if you find yourself in a place with drugs or alcohol. The temptation will be there sometimes. If you know how you're going to handle it, you'll be OK. Establish a plan with your parents, siblings, or other supportive friends and adults so that if you call home using a code, they'll know that your call is a signal you need a ride there.
  • Remind yourself that having an addiction doesn't make a person bad or weak. If you fall back into old patterns (backslide) a bit, talk to an adult as soon as possible. There's nothing to be ashamed about, but it's important to get help soon so that all of the hard work you put into your recovery is not lost.

Helping a Friend With Addiction

If you're worried about a friend who has an addiction, you can use these tips to help him or her. For example, let your friend know that you are available to talk or offer your support. If you notice a friend backsliding, talk about it openly and ask what you can do to help.

If your friend is going back to drugs or drinking and won't accept your help, don't be afraid to talk to a nonthreatening, understanding adult, your parent or school counselor. It may seem you're ratting your friend out, but it's the best support you can offer.

Above all, offer a friend who's battling an addiction lots of encouragement and praise. It may seem corny, but hearing that you care is just the kind of motivation your friend needs.

Staying Clean

Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction doesn't end with a 6-week treatment program. It's a lifelong process. Many people find that joining a support group can help them stay clean.

There are support groups specifically for teens and younger people.

You'll meet people who have gone through the same experiences you have, and you'll be able to participate in real-life discussions about drugs that you won't hear in your school's health class.

Many people find that helping others is also the best way to help themselves. Your understanding of how difficult the recovery process can be will help you to support others — both teens and adults — who are battling an addiction.

If you do have a relapse, recognizing the problem as soon as possible is critical. Get help right away so that you don't undo all the hard work you put into your initial recovery. And, if you do have a relapse, don't ever be afraid to ask for help!

Источник: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/addictions.html

Emotional Habits and Addiction | What is Emotional Addiction?

Understanding Addiction and What It Feels Like to Be Addicted

Addiction is a word we tend to associate with dependence on drugs or alcohol. It can also be associated with eating, gambling or even sex.

However, not many people realize that there is another type of addiction that is more internalized — Emotional Addiction. Many of us were taught to accept the ebb and flow of our emotions.

But sometimes emotions can present dangerous realities to the people who feel them.

Emotional addiction is different than addiction to drugs or alcohol because it presents as more pervasive and less obvious. It colors how you view the world and respond to circumstances. To break emotional addiction, you must become conscious of these unhealthy patterns and learn to adapt these feelings with more constructive responses.

What Is Emotional Addiction?

Emotions are extremely powerful. When properly managed and integrated with cognitive functions logic and reason, your emotions expand your capacity for productivity, self-care and healthy relationships.

Because emotions evolved as primitive instincts, they can bypass logic and reasonable considerations, often leading us to disregard consequences.

When someone has an emotional addiction, this is exactly what they experience.

Those who develop an emotional addiction become hooked to feeling a familiar way or responding to their powerful, innate emotions.

The brain gives off chemical reactions in response to certain emotions, similar to those experienced while taking part in other addictive behaviors or substances.

People with emotional addiction can become dependent on a certain emotion for comfort, relief, distraction or escape. The emotion grows into an obsession, a compulsion and an addiction.

Those who develop an emotional addiction might feel as if they live at the mercy of their feelings. Every circumstance is filtered through their default emotion and forms their worldview.

When emotions become idolized above healthier coping skills, the developed addiction can lead an individual to experience adverse side effects, such as:

  • Unwise decision making
  • Inappropriate behaviors
  • Faulty self-management or planning
  • Impaired productivity
  • Injured relationships

When someone is dependent on emotions for stress relief, they are ly to turn to other outlets of self-medication, such as drugs and alcohol, in times of extreme stress.

Another way to view emotional addiction is as an emotional habit. Habit forming takes place when repeated actions become second nature.

So, developing an emotional habit means unconsciously training yourself to respond to a variety of triggers with a default emotional reaction. Over time, that feeling becomes a baseline for how you respond to the world.

 If anger is your default emotion, you might find yourself turning to it whenever you’re uncertain. You may even feel a sense of calm as this emotion washes over you.

How to Break Emotional Addiction

The key to breaking emotional addiction and changing your emotional habit is to develop resilience to how you feel. This includes awareness of and control over your emotions. As you break the chains of emotional addiction, you give your body a rest from the chemical fixes it received from these emotional responses and allow natural healing to occur.

Here are a few methods of gaining emotional resilience and breaking emotional addiction:

  • Identify your emotional habit: Emotional addiction can feel it’s always been a part of you. However, as you observe yourself in the minutia of everyday life, you’ll see patterns to your reactions. Once you recognize these emotional habits, you’re ready to move forward.
  • Re-wire your brain’s reward system: Whether through meditations or daily affirmations, your goal is to gain the power to produce real change. When an emotion starts to overpower you, give yourself time to calm down, even if that means stepping away from a situation. Some people find mantras they can repeat in emotionally charged situations. 
  • Resist the urge to brood: When you brood over something distressing, you rarely gain insight over it. You just end up replaying upsetting situations in your head. If you catch yourself brooding, distract yourself with a positive activity — exercise, crossword puzzles or even TV.
  • Care for your self-esteem: When you discover an emotional addiction, you may feel shame. Try to show compassion and understanding to yourself. Self-esteem is an emotional immune system — if nurtured, it can provide strength. Move forward focusing on the things you appreciate about yourself and the hope of a better future.
  • Have patience: Most people develop emotional addictions after decades, so it’s unrealistic to expect instant change. Dedicate yourself to the process, but take breaks when needed. Re-programming how your brain responds to circumstances takes time. Keep your chin up and celebrate the small victories along the way.

Get Help for Co-Existing Emotional Addiction

Start Your Journey

Emotional addiction often co-exists with other addictions or mental illnesses. If you need help confronting the emotional habits standing in the way of addiction Recovery, contact 7 Summit Pathways today. As part of our evidence-based therapy approach, we focus on the 7 Dimensions of Wellness for each of our patients, one of which is Emotional Wellness.

Whatever emotional challenges you may be facing, we’re here to help. We invite you to schedule your appointment at our treatment facility in Tampa, FL.

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Addiction is far more common than we may think. Those with an addictive personality can start with inclinations for seemingly innocent things. From binge-watching TV to obsessive collecting to hours spent on social media, the issue doesn’t always start with drugs or alcohol.

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What Causes an Addictive Personality

The term “addictive personality” is actually a misnomer. Research has shown that there isn’t one generic personality type that’s more prone to addiction. Addiction is a complex health concern that can affect anyone, no matter their background or personality.

So why do some people develop an addiction to activities or substances while others can try them briefly then move on? Addiction is not a personality trait — it’s a disorder that affects the brain. The reward circuits in your brain can become rewired to constantly crave the things you’re addicted to.

Addictive Personality Traits

While an addictive personality is something of a myth, those who have a higher risk of succumbing to addiction often share certain common traits. Some things to look out for include:

  • Difficulty with impulse control
  • Lack of personal goals
  • Susceptibility to risky, impulsive or thrill-seeking behaviors
  • Failure to take responsibility for actions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Intense mood swings or irritability
  • Isolation or a lack of strong friendships
  • A close relative who struggles with addiction
  • Mental health conditions
  • A tendency toward obsessive or compulsive actions

Healthy Ways to Overcome Addictive Personalities

Whether it’s compulsive comfort eating or an obsession with social media, any addiction can be used to mask a deep, underlying need. Instead of feeding your addictive tendencies, you can take certain actions to feel healthier and more at peace:

  • Practice restorative activities, mindfulness meditation, yoga, relaxation in a hot bath, exercise or a good night’s sleep.
  • Connect with others through shared interests and activities that you enjoy.
  • Limit your non-work screen time as well as how much time you spend streaming TV or movies.
  • Avoid using shopping, sex or other substitutes to bolster your self-esteem.
  • Try seeking excitement through healthy avenues, trying a new activity, traveling or setting a goal for yourself.
  • Get professional help if you develop a Drug or Alcohol Addiction.

Help for Addictive Personality Traits at 7 Summit Pathways

If you have an addictive personality, you may feel you have no control over your Substance Addiction. You are not helpless or hopeless. At 7 Summit Pathways, we will work with you to address the unmet needs that may have led to a life of addiction. Our personalized treatment approach will give you the tools and support you need to start your Recovery journey.

Contact us today to speak with a compassionate and experienced member of our team. We will be with you every step of the way as you move toward health and healing.

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