What is Addiction?

Addiction is not an indication of weakness. It is not a mark of immorality, nor is it any kind of deserved consequence of unsavory behavior. Addiction is a serious condition that requires immediate, long-term treatment.

Addiction is a highly complex and not fully understood phenomenon; it is estimated that between 70 and 80 percent of individuals who use controlled substances do not fall into addiction. Unfortunately, there is not yet a definitive explanation as to why the remaining 20 to 30 percent do become addicted. However, there are underlying physical, neurological, psychological, and biochemical factors operating underneath the surface of every person with an addiction.

You might have heard it said: “If you think you might be addicted, then you might be addicted.” While it may not be the case 100% of the time, if you’ve been concerned enough about your reliance on a substance or activity to ask yourself the question, you should certainly explore your behaviors further.

Although becoming dependent upon chemical substances or certain behaviors can certainly be highly destructive, there are many levels of dependency. When that dependency becomes central to the patient’s life, immediate intervention is necessary.

Addiction vs. Habit

What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?

  • Habit: Habits differ from addiction in that there is a much stronger element of choice involved in engaging in a habit. For example, a person experiencing chronic pain may grow to rely on pain medication in order to alleviate that pain. However, if patient discovers drug-free treatments which effectively ease that pain, then that patient will no longer feel compelled to take the medication, therefore no intervention would be necessary.
  • Addiction: Addiction involves physical and psychological drivers. The substance or behavior becomes an essential tool in the generation of feelings of real pleasure, and/or the alleviation of emotional pain. Unlike the cessation of a habit, which can be done without enduring any kind of trauma, patients who suffer an addiction cannot cease their behaviors without experiencing either severe physical withdrawal symptoms, or overwhelming and unendurable anxiety. Even if the addicted patient realizes that the addiction is seriously interfering with his/her health, relationships, or ability to support him/herself, that person will nonetheless engage in the damaging behaviors regardless of all consequences.

If you currently engage in behavior that disrupts your ability to live your life healthfully and safely, don’t hesitate to contact us today to discuss your treatment options.