What Does Addiction Really Mean
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic medical disease that entails complex interactions within brain circuits, environmental factors, and unique life experiences. They continue to say that people with addiction use substances or participate in compulsive behaviors regardless of dangerous consequences.
If you consider addiction using their framework, compulsive behaviors in your relationship can include:
- Continuously rescuing the narcissist from their problems.
- Repeatedly giving the narcissist money .
- Making excuses or lying about the narcissists behavior.
- Obsessing about the narcissists behaviors or whereabouts.
- Using drugs, alcohol, or food to cope with the stress of being with a narcissist.
- Allowing the narcissist to be in your life despite the negative consequences.
These behaviors can interfere with normal functioning, and thats when a dynamic often transforms from problematic to addictive.
Think about it. Instead of balancing your relationship with other responsibilities like work or taking care of your children, the narcissist consumes almost of your daily energy. They leave little room for anything else, and your relationship becomes the center of your world.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone using substances, even socially, should discuss them with a doctor to ensure safe use and monitor for signs or symptoms of addiction.
However, a person with addiction may not be ready or willing to seek professional medical help, regardless of the negative impacts it is having on their health and wellness.
If a person experiences a substance overdose, those around them should seek emergency medical assistance immediately. A person who has recovered from an overdose may want to seek professional help to treat their addiction.
When a person is ready and wants help with their addiction, they may wish to contact a medical professional to discuss options for treatment. These options include rehab, therapy, detox, and medication.
- medical devices to treat withdrawal
- treating related psychological factors, such as depression
- ongoing care to reduce the risk of relapse
Addiction treatment is highly personalized and often requires the support of the individuals community or family.
Treatment can take a long time and may be complicated. Addiction is a chronic condition with a range of psychological and physical effects. Each substance or behavior may require different management techniques.
A person with addiction can find many organizations that may help them. A person can also call a hotline for help with their addiction.
The following organizations can be helpful for a person with addiction:
Purported Addictive Personality Traits
While definitions of the term vary, the term addictive personality is usually used to suggest that people with certain clusters of personality traits are more likely to develop addictions. The term also suggests that people with this personality type engage in repetitive pleasurable actions and choose them over other important activities.
People who engage in these behaviors supposedly have a higher risk of developing addictions to food, sex, gambling, shopping, alcohol, and other substances.
While there is no clear consensus about what these traits are, they often include traits such as:
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Thrill-seeking or sensation-seeking
Critics emphasize that the label itself is harmful and should be avoided. Not only is the label not supported by research, but it also promotes the idea that people who develop addictions are all the same, which plays a role in stigmatizing and marginalizing people who have addictions.
Recovering From An Addiction To A Person
If you are struggling with this type of addiction, it can be helpful to reach out to a psychologist or counselor who specializes in this area.
If you are struggling with codependency, you can find local support on the Psychology Today therapist search engine.
If you are interested in trying online counseling, visit BetterHelp.com. Their main benefit is lower costs and high accessibility through their mobile app.
If you want a free trial, complete their online application here, then select the option stating you are unable to afford counseling, before entering your payment information.
As a BetterHelp affiliate, I may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided.
A key area to consider when recovering from codependency is asking yourself this simple question: What do I want?
Getting clear on your values allows you to regain your own sense of purpose, building a sense of independent identity. Ive written about values in my article on How to Stop Living in Your Head, where I share an exercise used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy :
If you find yourself drawn to valuing compassion, it is important to also consider whether or not your attempts to help others are genuinely compassionate.
My article, When Does Helping Become Enabling? takes a deep dive into the dynamics of helping vs. enabling, allowing you to better understand how to truly express compassion when trying to help someone.
When You Are Always Addicted To Something
For as long as I can remember, I have been addicted to something. Whether it was the rush of trying to steal things when I was a little kid. Or singing in front of crowds. Or gymnastics. Or starving. Or drugs. Addiction is just part of my make-up. I get intensely passionate about the things that matter to me and make me feel good because Im constantly chasing a high.
A lot of my friends didnt understand how when I started drinking and using drugs, I was able to eat more normally. Or why when I got clean, I all of sudden started working out more and eating less. Truth be told, I knew why. It was because something else was filling that space in me that needs to be fed. The part of me that thrives on an internal high. Of feeling like Im invincible and flying.
I constantly check in with myself because I know this about myself. I know that just because Im not ingesting substances, doesnt mean the addiction is better. It means Im not currently using those things. But it could very well mean Im running away from things or not eating enough. It could mean Im obsessing about anything or everything. Because thats what addiction is. Its wanting everything and nothing. Its never knowing whats too much.
If you know what Im talking about, youre not alone. If you dont, be grateful. The highs are great, but the lows are a whole other story.
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Getting Help For Addictions
Addiction is a treatable condition. Whatever the addiction, there are lots of ways you can seek help. You could see your GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping people with addictions.
You can use the following online directories to find addiction treatment services in your area:
Develop Tolerance To Marijuana And Need More To Get The Same Effect
Drug tolerance refers to the bodys ability to adjust and react less to a particular drug, as more is taken. When you get addicted to a drug, including marijuana, you will typically need higher doses of the substance just to get the same effect you once had. If you notice that you constantly need a higher or stronger dose of marijuana, this could be a sign of addiction.
Also Check: What Is The 12 Step Program For Addiction
What Is An Addictive Personality
An addictive personality is a hypothetical set of personality traits that may make a person more susceptible to addiction. While the term is quite popular, the concept itself is controversial and there is a lack of consistent evidence supporting the existence of an addictive personality.
Some personality traits have been linked to different types of addictive behaviors. However, it is important to remember that addiction is a complex brain disorder that is the result of a variety of factors. Genetic factors can play a large part in determining susceptibility to addiction, but other variables including family history, upbringing, environment, socioeconomic status, and drug availability also play a role in a person’s risk of addiction.
This article discusses some of the purported traits that are associated with an addictive personality and the effect that certain personality traits may have on addiction. It also covers steps people can take to help prevent risky behaviors from becoming addictions.
Signs You’re Becoming Addicted To Something
It’s easy to talk about addiction in a throwaway manner, as if just liking something quite a lot classifies you as an addict. Spoiler: it doesn’t. But social conceptions of how an addict looks and behaves still often look like something out of a Dickens novel, when the reality is more nebulous, less obvious, and more common. But how do you know if you’re becoming addicted to something or just having a good time?
The most commonly discussed area of addiction is drug and alcohol abuse the rehab organization Addiction Center estimates that 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction to alcohol or both legal and illegal drugs. When it comes to behavioral addictions, the lines are a bit less clear but from psychologically accepted problems like gambling to more contested definitions like sex addiction, it’s now no longer just substance abuse on the table when we talk about addicts.
If you’re worried you might be dependent on something â whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, or anything else â here are nine common signs you may indeed be addicted.
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You Suffer Withdrawal If You Attempt To Stop
Withdrawal is most well-known when it comes to substance abuse. It’s essentially your system becoming severely distressed when a drug or substance under heavy usage is taken away abruptly, causing it to recalibrate. The American Addiction Centers sum up the four main types of substance withdrawal: withdrawing from heroin and prescription painkillers causes two days of serious flu-like symptoms, cold turkey psychoactive drug addicts will experience seizures and anxiety for weeks, while going off cocaine causes 10 days of depression, and going off alcohol causes the famous “tremors,” which can last for up to a month. The heaviness of withdrawal symptoms depends on the strength of your addiction, and is often deeply unpleasant.
Withdrawal from non-substance based addictions, like gambling, tend to be more emotional than physical. Psych Central highlights “restlessness and irritability” as the key signs that a gambling addict is going through withdrawal.
What Heroin Does To Your Brain
Heroin is a powerful Opioid drug made from Morphine compounds found in the Opium Poppy plant. No matter how it is taken, when Heroin enters the body, it moves to the brain quickly and starts changing the way the central nervous system functions. In the brain, Heroin is converted back to Morphine before binding to specific receptors responsible for perceptions of pain and pleasure.
It doesnt stop there. While Heroin dulls sensations of pain and delivers a euphoric rush of pleasure, its also sending signals to parts of the brain responsible for the regulation of heart and breathing rates, memory, motor control, alertness, and emotional control . The limbic system, in particular, and the reward-response reactions that take place there, play a major role in the development of addiction. Heroin causes this system to release dopamine, leaving the individual with feelings of satisfaction and well-being for a short timedrowsiness and mental impairment follow for hours afterward. Dopamine-caused sensations evolved in all animals to reinforce behavior crucial to their survival. Though the amount and intensity of dopamine released is typically less, other actions that trigger a dopamine response include eating and having sex.
Break free from addiction.
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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 like marijuana or cocaine.
You can abuse a drug 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 like 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.
Signs Of An Addictive Personality
Individuals with an addictive personality can be identified by several traits. Experiencing mental conditions like depression and anxiety can, but do not always, indicate addictive personalities. There are a number of better indicators of addictive personalities, including:
- Comfort eating/binge eating
- Never feeling satisfied/needing more of a particular feeling
- An inability to stop using harmful chemicals
- An inability to curtail other harmful activities
Being able to stop and control ones actions indicates healthy boundaries and a lower level of attachment. If you or someone you know hides their harmful behavior, that could signal a problem needing intervention.
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Using Alcohol To Socialize
Socializing is one of the top reasons heavy drinkers give to explain their overindulgence in alcohol. A beer or a glass of wine can seem like a quick and easy way to lower inhibitions and have a laugh with friends. But all too easily, alcohol can become the only way to get along with people, leaving you feeling bored or anxious in situations where everyone is sober.
What Can I Do About My Drug Use
If you take drugs regularly and you have some of the signs listed here, its important that you talk to a doctor or a mental health professional as soon as you can. Continuing to take drugs might seem like the only way to feel better, but it can lead to some pretty serious consequences, including ongoing mental and physical health issues, or even death.
Recognising the problem is the first step in getting help for addiction. No one can force another person to undergo treatment for a problem they dont believe they have.
Talk to a doctor or a health professional
Try using ReachOut NextStep which will guide you through a few key questions and help you find the support that’s right for you.
Dont go cold turkey
It might seem easier to just stop taking drugs and to manage withdrawal on your own, but this is actually the most difficult way to go about it. It can also be physically dangerous, depending on the drug and level of addiction. If you dont feel comfortable talking to a health professional, start with a trusted friend or family member.
If you’re looking for more info on individual types of drugs, check out Your Room’s A-Z of Drugs.
Remember that if you do have a drug problem, the first step in overcoming it is to acknowledge it. You’ll find plenty of support services that can help you here, and you can filter by type of service and location.
Also Check: How Do You Become An Addiction Counselor
People With Higher Iqs
Theres a common misconception that addiction is more likely to affect those who are less educated and who come from a poorer background, but many addicts are highly-paid and have successful careers. Many professionals, from bankers and doctors to lawyers and CEOs, have fallen victim to substance abuse and its thought that the stress, isolation and failed relationships that are so often associated with these occupations can play a significant part in this.
Some studies also believe that children who have higher IQs are more likely to use psychoactive drugs such as marijuana, heroin and cocaine in their later years. One theory for this is that smarter people can intellectualise their drug use which is different from rationalisation and denial. However, without definitive proof of causation this is a theory that remains based upon conjecture.
Addictive Behaviors Vs Addictive Traits
Rather than focusing on personality traits when considering addiction risk, it may be more beneficial to observe and examine behaviors. If you tend to have a higher risk for developing addiction due to some of the factors above, engaging in certain habits or behaviors may be more problematic for you.
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You Do Things That You Would Not Ordinarily Do To Obtain The Drug
As the drug consumes you, you find yourself doing things that you would not ordinarily consider doing. A few of these things are:
- lying to friends and family,
- stealing from friends and family,
- denying that you are using,
- selling drugs,
- selling your possessions to pay for the drugs, and
- selling yourself to pay for drugs.
This behavior often becomes worse as the need for the drug becomes more intense. Most people find themselves in legal trouble because they break the law trying to get more of it.
Crack consumes everything in a persons life. Many users describe it as eating them alive or whole. Although there are many signs of addiction, someone who is actually addicted might exhibit some or none of these signs. When using a drug interferes or destroys aspects of your life, it is called an addiction. If you think that maybe you are addicted to crack or any drug, it is probably a sign to seek treatment for the addiction.
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