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What is Addiction? What Causes Addiction?


People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate - in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

In the past addiction used to refer just to psychoactive substances that cross the blood-brain barrier, temporarily altering the chemical balance of the brain; this would include alcohol, tobacco and some drugs. A considerable number of psychologists, other health care professionals and lay people now insist that psychological dependency, as may be the case with gambling, sex, internet, work, exercise, etc. should also be counted as addictions, because they can also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, despair, failure, rejection, anxiety and/or humiliation.

When a person is addicted to something they cannot control how they use it, and become dependent on it to cope with daily life.

A habit may eventually develop into an addiction

Many of us can use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. Some people, however, may experience damaging psychological and/or physical effects when their habit becomes an addiction.

 


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