What is addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease or dysfunction of the brain systems that control reward, memory, and motivation. This dysfunction affects how someone reacts to stimuli and causes the addict to crave it obsessively and the pleasure response it creates. Addiction is also characterised by the continuance to abuse a substance despite the negative consequences of doing so. 

  • Being unable to stay away from the substance or behaviour
  • Having an increased need for the substance or behaviour
  • Withdrawal from normal social activities
  • Dismissive of how their behaviour may be causing problems

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    What are the effects of addiction?

    More often than not, addictions can lead to serious problems in health and day-to-day life. Those who are addicted are also likely to relapse when attempting to stop. This can mean addiction can cycle between mild and severe rapidly, though most will worsen significantly over prolonged exposure to the addictive substance or behaviour. 

    Addiction can fundamentally change a person, impacting how they feel, act, and think. Those who do not get help for their addictions can end up isolating themselves from their loved ones.

    Most of us will face the temptation to abuse substances or try risky behaviours at some point in our lives. While it may seem harmless, addictive tendencies can progress quickly, especially with substance abuse like drugs and alcohol.

    Knowing the signs can help those in need get treatment

    Warning signs of addiction

    While it may not always be possible to spot addiction, there are some red flags to be mindful of if you suspect someone is abusing a substance. Always bear in mind that everyone is different, and these indicators may not be present in all people suffering from addiction.

    Some people may not be aware that they have an addiction, or have not attempted to stop abusing a substance long enough for withdrawal symptoms to kick in.

    Being secretive about parts of personal life

    Withdrawal from social contact

    Mood swings and changes in behaviuor

    Issues at home, work, or in education

    Weight loss or changes in physical appearance

    Addiction comes in many forms

    Balanced can help you overcome addiction