The Biochemistry Of Addiction
The brain responds to addiction based on a number of factors, such as the type and number of drugs used, the frequency of use, and the stage of addiction that has developed. If someone uses cocaine, for example, they will notice a feeling of euphoria. This occurs because cocaine is psychoactive and impacts the area of the brain that controls pleasure and motivation. There is a short and powerful burst of dopamine, the chemical that causes many to feel euphoric. This feeling can be so intense that a strong desire to continue using may form.
The more someone abuses a drug, the more they may continue using it unless they get help. Once the chemical has affected the brain, individuals can feel physical symptoms as well as the impact of the chemical throughout their nervous system. Symptoms can include a rapid heartbeat, paranoia, nausea, hallucinations, and other disturbing sensations the individual has little control over. The person may become consumed with abusing the substance no matter the cost. As a result of this powerful grip of substance abuse, individuals can begin acting in unrecognisable ways.
Signs Of Food Addiction
Researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.
Here’s a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. Do these actions apply to you? Do you:
- End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
- Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
- Eat to the point of feeling ill
- Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
- When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
The questionnaire also asks about the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Ask yourself if these situations apply to you:
- You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
- You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
- You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.
The questionnaire asks about psychological withdrawal symptoms. For example, when you cut down on certain foods , do you have symptoms such as:
- Other physical symptoms
The questionnaire also tries to gauge the impact of food decisions on your emotions. Do these situations apply to you?
How Common Is Addiction
Addiction is unfortunately very common. Around 20 million people in the United States suffer from a substance use disorder. A substance use disorder often refers to substances that unnaturally increase dopamine levels in the reward pathway. These substances include prescription painkillers, illicit substances, nicotine or alcohol . Substance addictions are the most well-known form of addictions but people can also suffer from behavioral addictions which include the following:
- Exercising or dieting.
- Video gaming and the internet.
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What Is Drug Addiction
For someone who is addicted to drugs, the need to use is ever-present. This person may feel a need to use drugs as soon as they wake up in the morning. In fact, they may plan their entire day around their ability to use drugs. For a drug addict, drugs have taken over a very prominent place in their lives. If they’re not using drugs, they just don’t feel right. Many drug addicts aren’t even able to function normally without them. They start to go through withdrawal as soon as the drugs leave their bodies.
Also, drug addiction is usually easily identified by a growing tolerance level to substances. As time goes on, it takes more of the substance to get the person high. The addict may need to mix substances in order to achieve a desired result.
Youve Lost Interest In Sex
If youre addicted to porn, youll likely lose interest in real sex. Not only that, but you may find your partner less attractive than you did before. You might become unresponsive to romantic advances from your partner. This can cause your partner to view you as distant or even uninterested when they try to engage with you sexually. You may require more stimulation than you had previously needed in order to become aroused.
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Look For Physical Signs
Drug or alcohol addiction can have devastating effects on physical health. Some of these effects can be observed by others in the persons life. An individual suffering from addiction may show any of the following physical signs:
- Broken capillaries on the face
- A husky voice
- Symptoms of withdrawal when not using the substance
- Track marks, or marks left by injection drug use
- Dilated pupils
- Dramatic weight loss or gain
Who Is At Risk For Developing A Drug Addiction
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted, but there are certain factors that put people at a greater risk for developing an addiction.
Family history of addiction: Addiction has a genetic component so if your parent or sibling has a drug or alcohol addiction, you are at increased risk.
Trouble at home, with friends, or at work: Being in an unhappy place in life might cause some people to seek out drugs as a way to deal with their problems.
Starting drug use at an early age: Drugs affect how young bodies and brains function and grow. This increases the chances of becoming addicted as an adult.
Mental health disorders: People with untreated mental health needs, like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher chance of becoming addicted because they may use drugs as a way to cope. Drug use and mental health disorders affect the same parts of the brain.
Physical health problems: In the event of an injury or surgery, pain medication, such as OxyContin, Percocet, or Vicodin, may be prescribed for short-term use. However, these opioid drugs can be highly addicting.
Peer pressure: Hanging around other people who encourage drug use can be a strong factor in developing an addiction.
Type of drug used: Using certain drugs like stimulants, cocaine, or opioid painkillers, can develop an addiction more quickly than other drugs.
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Signs Of Opioid Abuse
Taking a substance in larger or longer amounts than intended: Prescription painkillers are meant to be a short-term fix extended use can signal trouble. Typically, people dont need opioids for more than three days, Morrow says. Only in rare cases should use exceed a week, he adds.
Unsuccessful efforts to curb or control substance use: Even if a person wants to quit, this can be harder for some individuals. Thats because genetic, environmental and psychological factors put some opioid users at an elevated risk for addiction.
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction How To Tell If Someone Needs Help For A Drug Problem
Understanding the science behind addiction can be complicated. Some people might think that people become addicted if they dont have any willpower or good morals. In actuality, addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease that can affect people from all backgrounds. It can happen to anyone at any age.
Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted because drugs have a different effect on everyone. Some people use drugs experimentally on occasion in a social setting. However, if usage becomes more regular, some people lose the ability to control when and how much they are using. Over time, drugs change behavior and how the brain, body, and mind function. This is how drug addiction, medically known as substance use disorder, develops. These changes can be long-lasting and cause stressful problems like missing work, legal issues, physical health problems, and trouble with family and friends.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Though it is gaining traction in the mental health field and recently added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a disorder that needs more research, a standardized diagnosis of Internet Addiction Disorder has not been discovered. This is also a significant contributing factor to the overall variability in the disorder as a whole and wide range of prevalence in the population from 0.3% to a whopping 38%.
One of the more accepted diagnostic assessments of Internet Addiction Disorder has been proposed by KW Beards 2005 article in CyberPsychology and Behavior. Beard proposes five diagnostic criteria in the identification of Internet Addiction Disorder in the general population:
- Is preoccupied with the Internet
- Needs to use the Internet with increased amounts of time to gain satisfaction
- Has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop use of the Internet
- Is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to control Internet use
- Has stayed online longer than originally intended
In addition, Beard suggests at least one of the following must also be present in a diagnosis of Internet Addiction Disorder:
- Has jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of the Internet
- Has lied to family members, therapists, or others to conceal their involvement with the Internet
- Uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or to relieve a dysphoric mood
Understanding The Severity Of Your Addiction
If your life and relationships are being negatively affected by your substance use, you probably have an addiction. Addiction is diagnosed on a spectrum. The criteria for addiction can help you determine if your addiction is mild, moderate or severe. There is a total of eleven criteria, including:
- Lack of control
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Addiction: What Is It
Addiction is a common problem, but help is available.
Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.
- work some people are obsessed with their work to the extent that they become physically exhausted if your relationship, family and social life are affected and you never take holidays, you may be addicted to work
- internet as computer and mobile phone use has increased, so too have computer and internet addictions people may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or gaming while neglecting other aspects of their lives
- solvents volatile substance abuse is when you inhale substances such as glue, aerosols, petrol or lighter fuel to give you a feeling of intoxication
- shopping shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you don’t need or want to achieve a buzz this is quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame or despair
What Should I Do If I Have An Addiction To Drugs Or Alcohol
Recognizing that you have a substance addiction is the most critical step in reaching recovery. Answering yes to some or all of the questions above could indicate that you have a substance abuse problem. If you identify any similar patterns to those above in your own habits, treatment for drug or alcohol addiction may be the right course for you.
Medical Disclaimer: DrugRehab.com aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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Drug And Alcohol Addiction Self Test
Identifying when substance abuse has turned to addiction can be complicated, especially when you are trying to evaluate yourself. When a medical or psychological professional wants to determine if someone is addicted to a substance, they use the criteria for substance use disorders established in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition . The following questions in this drug and alcohol addiction self test draw on the DSM-5 criteria to help you determine whether or not you need help overcoming addiction to drugs or alcohol.
If you answer yes to 3 or more questions per self test for drug and alcohol addiction, you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs. If a question isnt applicable, select no.
What Are The Potential Consequences Of Sex Addiction
Sexual addiction is one of the behavioral addictions with the most potential consequences. A survey of individuals being treated for sexual addiction found that 38 percent of the men and 45 percent of the women had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
In addition, other consequences of sex addiction include:
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Risky sexual behavior could lead to unwanted pregnancies, and 70 percent of the women surveyed admitted to having risked this potential outcome at one time or another.
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Why Do I Feel Like Ill Never Be Able To Stop
Substances of abuse deliver an intense sensation that creates a neurochemically driven motivation to repeat the experience again and again. At the same time, the repeated use of a substance that delivers the intense reward of a chemical high weakens the decision-making and impulse-control centers of the brain, making it difficult to resist cravings.
Many drug users have made many promises to themselves to stopand broken them as well, leading them to believe they are incapable of stopping. Users, too, commonly experience negative life effects of addictionwhether to relationships, work, or in other domains, and the painful feelings of self-disappointment and shame trap them in negativity that further erodes hope and finds fast relief in the drug high.
How Common Is Internet Addiction
Most prevalence studies show that somewhere between 1% and 10% of the population experiences Internet addiction. Researchers in Asia, however, have found rates as high as 25%. Most research about Internet addiction has focused on young adults or adolescents, so less is known about the prevalence in older populations.
There is no single measure that all researchers use for distinguishing between normal and addictive Internet use. Also, internet addiction may look different depending on the person, as people are addicted to different facets of Internet use, such as social media, shopping, pornography, or gaming. Internet addiction is also associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health challenges.
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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, like your parent or school counselor. It may seem like 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.
How Can I Tell If Someone Has A Problem Drinking Or Taking Drugs
There are both physical and behavioral clues that someone might be experiencing a problem with substance use. None of them is definitive, and there may be many other causes, but the presence of multiple signs merits special consideration. On the physical side, a sustained neglect of personal appearance, poor hygiene, and listlessness may be signs. Bloodshot or glazed eyes and slurred or rambling speech can result from drug use. Sweating, body tremors, or even vomiting can be signs, as can weight loss or gain.
Behaviorally, significant changes in activity patterns, social groups, and school or work performance could result from problems with drug use, as can an increased desire for privacy. Behavior in general can become unpredictable, and people may frequently call in sick to work or school. Drug use can push people to borrow or steal money or other valuable items, and to neglect ongoing financial obligations. Irritability and mood swings, problems recalling information, and shifts in sleep-wake patterns are other common accompaniments of substance use. Also among the warning signs is a tendency for those experiencing problems to deny or get highly defensive about observed changes in behavior.
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Drug Addiction And The Brain
Addiction impacts the brain on many levels. The chemical compounds in stimulants, nicotine, opioids, alcohol, and sedatives enter the brain and bloodstream upon use. Once a chemical enters the brain, it can cause people to lose control of their impulses or crave a harmful substance.
When someone develops an addiction, the brain craves the reward of the substance. This is due to the intense stimulation of the brains reward system. In response, many users continue use of the substance this can lead to a host of euphoric feelings and strange behavioural traits. Long-term addiction can have severe outcomes, such as brain damage, and can even result in death.