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The word addiction is tossed around quite liberally these days; in fact, you have probably said that you are addicted to a certain TV show, song or food before. It is easy to forget just how seriously debilitating addiction can be, especially in light of the misuse of the word in our society today. So what exactly is the definition of addiction, and what does it feel like to be addicted to something, be it alcohol, drugs, or anything else?

Everyone has compulsively craved something at some point in his or her life, which can easily be mislabeled as an addiction. However, being addicted to something is a completely devastating experience, as it completely interrupts life and can even cause physical damage if left unchecked. A simple definition for addiction can be found on Wikipedia, which describes it as uncontrolled, compulsive use of a substance, despite harm. In other words, if doing a certain action causes you physical, emotional, or mental damage, yet you just do not care, it is highly likely that you are an addict.

It is a popular misconception that addicts are simply bad people who are too lazy or unwilling to discontinue abusing drugs, alcohol, or food. So why would an addict continue to engage in unhealthy behavior if they know that it is bad for them? Research has shown that addiction (particularly drug abuse) can biologically alter the chemistry of an addict’s brain – in other words, it is difficult for an addict to stop the unhealthy behavior because his or her brain has been programmed to need the desired object as deeply as fundamental needs like food and water. It is almost impossible to understand how difficult it is for an addict to discontinue drugs or alcohol without experiencing relapse; thus, research on the nature of addiction is essential not only for the development of medications to battle the disease but to educate society as well. After all, an addict needs the support of friends and family members in order to quit just as much as medication.

Additionally, addicts can become physiologically addicted to an unhealthy behavior or object simply because it makes them happy. This is especially true of any food addictions, as food cannot alter the biochemical composition of the human brain. However, an addiction to food might make an addict feel happy due to an underlying psychological or emotional need that is only met when engaging in unhealthy behavior. It is not difficult to see that in order for an addict to successfully alter his or her behavior, it is necessary to address the underlying issues that are causing the unhealthy actions in the first place.

So, if there are so many different causes for addiction, what is the most effective way to treat an addict? Many experts tend to disagree, which is often a direct result of the lack of information that is available on how addiction physically, emotionally, and mentally affects an addict. It takes a two-pronged approach to the problem: the medication can redress the abnormal biochemicals within the brain that are causing the addiction, while therapy can tackle the emotional and mental issues that led to the addiction in the first place.

If you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any other substance, it is important to recognize that you are not alone. There are several options that you can utilize in order to tackle your addiction, many of which are offered as free services. Addiction is not a simple disease, nor is it a result of being lazy; it is a complicated beast that requires as much help as possible in order to overcome.

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