Understanding Addiction

Individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction often struggle with their actions and behaviour when they are around drugs or alcohol, or in certain situations or around some people. An addiction isn’t always to something a person uses (such as drugs and alcohol), but can include practically anything. From food and sugar to gambling, pornography, and the internet, a person can truly become addicted to anything. When a person becomes addicted to something, they have very little control over how they use it. They also become dependent upon it to function in daily life.

Are Some People More Prone to Addiction?

There isn’t a singular influence that makes someone more prone to addiction than others. While there are some people who can do certain things, or use drugs or alcohol without developing an addiction, there are a percentage of others who are predisposed to becoming addicted. There are certain risk factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction in their lifetime. These include:

  • Genetic Influence-A person’s genetic make-up accounts for approximately half of their susceptibility to addiction. A history of addiction in a person’s family will increase their vulnerability to becoming an addict. Not everyone who comes from a family where addiction was prominent will become an addict, but they are at increased risk for experiencing addiction.
  • Environmental Factors-What a person experiences in their immediate environment will often increase their chances of developing an addiction. Influences such as physical or sexual abuse, a person’s home environment, peer pressure, stress, and parental influence all play a major role in the development of addiction. Living in a community where drug and alcohol use is considered normal will also make a person more susceptible to developing an issue with substance abuse and addiction.
  • Trauma-One of the biggest risk factors for developing an addiction is because a person has experienced one or more traumatic events. Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse in childhood is a huge risk factor for addiction. It is believed that these traumatic experiences a person faces in childhood can shape the chemistry of a person’s brain, making them more susceptible to addiction when they are older.
  • Psychological Issues-People with issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, low-self-esteem, and bi-polar disorder are more prone to addiction than others. The negative emotions associated with these problems are often numbed through substance abuse or other forms of addictive behaviour. People with inadequate coping skills or those who can’t handle stress are also more likely to engage in addictive activity.

How Does Addiction Develop?

Addiction doesn’t happen overnight. For those who are more prone to addiction, it is something that will develop over time. The person who has experienced trauma or the individual who doesn’t feel like they belong might find that engaging in certain behaviours make them feel better. Whether this is through eating, spending money, being in a relationship, or doing drugs or drinking, they find a “solution” that temporarily makes them feel better.

Some people find this “solution” helps them avoid the emotional issues they’d rather not experience. Over time, they engage so much time and energy into this activity or substance they begin to need it to function normally. It gets to a point where the person no longer has control of whether they do it or not. They will often keep doing it regardless of the negative consequences it has on their life.

How Quickly Can a Person Develop an Addiction?

Many people assume that addiction happens fast, but there are many factors that determine how quickly a person will become an addict, regardless what type of addiction they have. Environment, age, genetic predisposition, severity and type of trauma they experienced, and family history are all factors that determine how quickly a person will develop an addiction.

There is no way of knowing beforehand how long it will take a person to develop an addiction. There are many variances to consider when it comes to addiction, as it is something that effects every person differently. Some people can casually use drugs and alcohol their entire life without developing a problem. There are countless people who don’t have issues with overeating, and not everyone who goes shopping is going to become addicted to it. Addiction is highly individual and is dependent upon a person’s own unique circumstances.

image showing a man relaxing while getting Drug and Alcohol Addiction Help
Why choose eata.org.uk?

If someone you care about is exhibiting signs of addiction – whether it’s excessive marijuana use, long-term dependency on pharmaceuticals, binge drinking of alcohol or even financially damaging levels of gambling – contact us for immediate rehabilitation help.

What Are the Different Types of Addiction?

The principal focus of addiction is often on drugs and alcohol. There are however, many other things a person can become addicted to that can negatively affect their life, as well as the lives of friends and family. There are basically two types of addiction which include substance dependence (drug or alcohol addiction) and behavioural addiction (shopping, gambling, etc.) Examples of some common behavioural addictions include the following:

Food

People addicted to food are often unable to control how much they eat or their eating habits. They tend to overeat or binge eat. Individuals who become addicted to food often eat to deal with past trauma or relationship problems. People with an addiction to food are often overweight, although they can be of normal weight as well. Not everyone who is overweight however, is addicted to food.

Gambling

Gambling is an addiction that can do irreparable damage to a person’s financial and emotional wellbeing. People who gamble often do so because of the excitement and risk that are involved with it. It is linked to a lack of impulse control.

Love/Sex

People who are addicted to love and sex may be dealing with intimacy problems. Becoming addicted to emotional intimacy is common in those who have suffered sexual abuse. They may seek the high they get from sex and being in love, putting themselves and others in danger of sexually transmitted disease, failed relationships, and custody issues when children become involved.

Shopping

Shopping is an addiction where people become unable to stop buying things regardless of how much money they do or don’t have. An addiction to shopping can be tremendously uplifting to those who feel inadequate in other areas of their life. It is also considered to be an “excellent” way to relieve stress. Compulsive shopping can lead to severe financial difficulties and even deeper feelings of inadequacy.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction and How to Fight It

When it comes to addiction, drugs and alcohol undoubtedly receive the most attention. While there are countless people who can do drugs or drink alcohol without having a problem, there are others who find it difficult to stop once they’ve started. Drug and alcohol addiction happens much easier than far more people realise, and is something countless people struggle with on a regular basis.

The Process of Substance Abuse and Addiction

Before an addiction actually becomes an addiction, there’s a process a person’s substance use goes through. And while some people are hooked the very first time they use a drug or have a drink, there is most often a series of phases a person will go through before they are truly addicted to drugs or alcohol.

No one starts using drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming an addict. For most people, an addiction will develop gradually as a person becomes accustom to using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis. When they find the substance makes them feel better, it ends up becoming the “solution” to their problem.

The four basic stages of addiction are as follows:

Experimentation

This is the first few times a person uses a mind-altering substance. If a person is particularly fond of the way a certain substance makes them feel, they’re likely to begin using it on a more regular basis.

Social and Personal Use

For the person who has found a substance they enjoy, they will begin to use it on a more regular basis. People who tend to avoid social situations might find increased substance use to help them feel more comfortable in the absence of other people, as well as in the company of other people. They might begin to use this substance simply to make them feel better on a day to day basis.

Habitual Use/Abuse

The habitual use of drugs or alcohol is when a person begins to use more heavily. This is because they have increased their tolerance to their substance of choice, which requires taking more and more to achieve the desired effect. When a person is abusing drugs or alcohol, they aren’t necessarily dependent on them, but their increased use often has a negative impact on their lives.

Addiction/Dependency

When drugs or alcohol are habitually abused over a period of time, a person can become dependent upon them to feel normal. Both physical and psychological addiction are facets of drug and alcohol addiction. When a person stops using they will go through a myriad of withdrawal symptoms dependent on the nature of their addiction.

Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

While each substance will have its own unique symptoms that come with it, some of the basic signs of a drug or alcohol include:

  • Using on a regular/daily basis
  • Not feeling “normal” without it
  • Strong cravings when not using
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Decreased performance at school or work
  • Problems in relationships
  • Poor hygiene and disregard for appearance
  • Spending all one’s money on drugs or alcohol
  • Doing illegal things to obtain drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing frequent blackouts
  • Engaging in risky behaviour while under the influence

Noticing any of these symptoms in yourself or someone you love who abuses drugs or alcohol are a definitive sign of a much bigger problem, and is something to be taken very seriously. If you feel you or someone you love is facing problem with addiction, please call us immediately for a confidential call that can help you turn your life around.

Learn the Dangers of Substance Abuse

An addiction to drugs or alcohol can cause irreparable damage. Addiction is a multi-faceted condition that has the possibility to completely ruin someone’s life if left untreated. An addiction to drugs and alcohol holds dangers on a variety of different levels.

Risky Behaviour

Aside from the many negative repercussions that an addiction entails, people who suffer from addiction will continue to use despite the consequences. Driving while under the influence becomes normal. Engaging in sex with multiple partners is common. Doing regular (and dangerous) activities while on drugs or alcohol is something addicts don’t think twice about. This not only puts the addict in danger, but the lives of others as well.

Health Problems

Drug and alcohol abuse also has adverse consequences on a person’s health. The health damage long-term addicts see is often irreversible. From kidney and liver damage to respiratory issues and heart disease, an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be life-threatening.

Mental and Emotional Issues

The long-term mental and emotional damage caused from drug and alcohol addiction can also be devastating. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause severe depression, anxiety, and isolation. It also has the potential to destroy the relationships an addict has with friends and family.

image showing young people enjoying their sober life after getting Drug and Alcohol Addiction Help

Addiction is dangerous, no matter how you look at it. From physical, emotional, and mental damage that can’t be undone to the worst possibility of a fatal overdose, drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most threatening conditions a person will face in their lifetime.

Drug Addiction Types and Effects

There are a variety of different drug addictions that are treated at drug addiction centres. Any drug or prescription medication that leads to an altered state of consciousness has the potential to become addictive. The most common types of drug addictions are as follows:

  • Heroin

Heroin is an opioid that is considered one of the most addictive substances there is. Heroin withdrawal is especially severe in comparison to other drugs. It is also one of the easiest substances to overdose on.

  • Cocaine/Crack

Cocaine and crack are stimulants that cause euphoria and increase heart rate. Crack is the more potent form of cocaine, with both substances posing grave possibility for addiction.

  • Meth

Meth is a stimulant that causes an intense feeling of wellbeing and euphoria. It is extremely addictive and withdrawal can be very difficult. Effects of meth can be felt almost immediately, and the high can last for up to twelve hours.

  • Cannabis

Although cannabis is not as addictive as some of the “hard-core” drugs that are available, the potential for abuse and dependency is very real. Those with a dependency to cannabis can find that it adversely affects their lives in a variety of different ways.

  • Prescription Pills

Illegal drugs aren’t the only substances that are dangerous and addictive. Prescription medication is widely abused and poses serious risk to a person’s health and wellbeing. Becoming addicted to legal prescriptions such as Valium, Fentanyl, Temazepam, Zopiclone, and Morphine is common. Other frequently abused prescription pills include stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse?

Just as there are a variety of different drugs that people abuse, there are a variety of different signs and symptoms of drug abuse and addiction. From physical to behavioural indications, the following are common signs of drug abuse.

Physical

Some general physical signs of drug abuse include chills, sweats, headaches, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Excessive energy or increased drowsiness are also symptoms to look for.

Psychological

Anxiety and depression are certain indications of drug abuse. Mood swings with extreme highs and very low lows also suggest that a person is abusing drugs.

Behavioural

Behavioural changes such a lying, being secretive, or becoming very aloof are all common amongst people abusing drugs. Engaging in dangerous or reckless behaviour while under the influence is another indication of drug abuse.

General Warning Signs of Drug Addiction

Everyone is different when it comes to addiction. Aside from the symptoms above, some general things to look out for include:

  • Experiencing money problems. The person may always be broke or borrowing money. Rent and bills may go unpaid.
  • Problems at work. Always late or calling in sick. Issues with superiors and co-workers.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Experiencing problems in relationships
  • Acting extremely secretive or shady

Alcohol Addiction: The World’s Daemon

It is estimated that more than 9 million people in the UK drink more than the recommended daily limit. Alcohol is easily accessible and even promoted as a way to relax and have a good time. Unfortunately, it is also 10% of the reason for disease and death throughout the UK. Alcohol addiction is considered the third largest lifestyle risk in the UK, coming right after obesity and smoking.

Recognising an addiction to alcohol isn’t always easy, especially when excess consumption of alcohol is often encouraged. If you believe that you or a loved one has a drinking problem however, it’s extremely important to recognise when social drinking has turned into something more serious.

Recognising Problem Drinking

If you or someone you care about is drinking excessively, this isn’t something to be ignored. Many people can drink socially and even to excess without having a problem, but for countless others it turns into something far more serious than the occasional hangover or embarrassing night on the town. If a person who has a problem with alcohol continues to drink excessively, they will eventually lose control. This happens to many people who ignore the signs of a serious alcohol problem until it’s too late. The first step in recognising a true problem with alcohol is to know what symptoms to identify.

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Regular abuse of alcohol happens before a person has an addiction. Symptoms of alcohol abuse can indicate that there is a more serious problem with someone’s drinking. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Experiencing problems with friends and family
  • Blacking out on a regular basis
  • Doing dangerous things while drinking
  • Regular drinking and driving
  • Problems at work or school
  • Always having a hangover

The steady abuse of alcohol can turn into a dependency or addiction problem before a person even knows it has occurred. Symptoms of addiction to alcohol include:

  • Drinking to get rid of a hangover
  • Hiding alcohol use
  • Drinking in increased amounts to feel an effect
  • Attempting to quit but thinking it is too hard
  • Drinking before doing regular activities (grocery shopping, doing laundry, etc.)
  • Drinking before work or school
  • Drinking before social activities in order to feel comfortable
  • Experiencing health problems because of alcohol consumption

Why choose eata.org.uk?

If someone you care about is exhibiting signs of addiction – whether it’s excessive marijuana use, long-term dependency on pharmaceuticals, binge drinking of alcohol or even financially damaging levels of gambling – contact us for immediate rehabilitation help.

Denying an Addiction

Addicts who don’t believe they have a problem with substance abuse or behavioural addiction are experiencing what is known as denial. Denial is a common trait found amongst many addicts, one that offers a host of different excuses for the negative conditions of their life, except for their problem with drugs, alcohol, or whatever their addiction may be. Denial is a tricky component of addiction because if a person can’t see there’s a problem, they don’t see the need to get help.

Being in denial is a rejection of seeing the reality of a situation. Addicts that suffer from denial are unable (or refuse) to see that they have a problem with drugs, drinking, shopping, gambling, sex, or whatever they’re addicted to. A person with an addiction who lives in denial truly can’t see that it is their addiction and compulsion issues that are causing a problem.

Oftentimes the only way a person sees the truth of their situation is by hitting rock bottom. When things become to messed up in their life from their addiction and it can no longer be ignored is when someone in denial tends to face the truth. While no one wants to hit rock bottom, it can be an excellent opportunity for a person with an addiction to seek the help they so desperately need.

Addicts aren’t the only people who experience denial when it comes to addiction. For family members of an addict, denial is often an easy escape from the reality of the situation at hand. It’s not uncommon for people close to an addict to make excuses for their behaviour and deny that they have a problem. Watching someone you love struggle with an addiction can be extremely painful to witness, which is why many people refuse to believe their loved one has substance abuse or behavioural addiction issues.

What Is an Intervention for Addiction?

It isn’t until an addict can readily admit to their problems with drugs that they will ever change their destructive behaviour. If you have a family member or friend who refuses to see the extent of their addiction problem, you can stage what is known as an intervention.

An intervention is when friends and/or family members get together to confront a loved one about their addiction. The premise behind an intervention is to help the addict realise that there is a serious problem so they can receive the help they need. When strategically organised, an intervention can be a formidable means of getting a person to agree to getting help.

When planning an intervention, it is important to be organised and clear with your intention. The intervention should take place in a neutral environment where a well-planned strategy for confronting the addict takes place. When this meeting takes place, different options for treatment should be offered to the individual in question. An intervention should also be done in the least judgmental way possible.

If you’re struggling with a loved one’s addiction and believe you need to have an intervention, please call us immediately. The support we offer isn’t just for addicts. It is for their family and friends as well. We’re here to offer the support you need to help your loved one through this very delicate time. We can not only outline the basics of the intervention process, but can put you in touch with professional therapists and counsellors who can help.

Why Is Addiction So Difficult to Overcome?

Addiction will completely change who a person is. No one chooses to be an addict. It is something that creeps up on people unexpectedly and completely hijacks the way the brain functions. Addiction is responsible for many changes in the body and mind. The chemical reactions and changes that take place in a person’s brain are ultimately what make an addiction so difficult to overcome.

Certain behaviours and substances are responsible for dramatically changing a person’s “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin levels are elevated when a person uses something that makes them feel better, and is what makes a person feel the “high” they do from a particular substance or action.

When the drugs or alcohol begin to wear off or the behaviour is taken away however, the levels of these chemicals drop down below normal levels. The only way to bring them back up is through by using or doing something again. When a person uses, these chemicals go back to their regular levels, making a person feel normal again…and such is the cycle of addiction. Because a person doesn’t feel normal unless they are using or engaging in the behaviour that makes them feel “better”, it can feel impossible to quit.

Why Getting Help for Addiction?

Getting professional treatment can help a person learn how to break out of the addictive cycles they are accustomed to. Because treatment identifies and works through all facets of a person’s addiction, it can be extremely beneficial in helping them realise that addiction isn’t necessarily the answer. Getting help can make a person realise what’s behind the addiction, so they can begin to take the steps necessary to overcome it for good.

An addiction to drugs, alcohol, or certain behaviours will eventually destroy a person’s life if left untreated. While some people can stop on their own, the majority of people suffering from an addiction will need to get help to successfully overcome it. Addiction is multi-faceted and needs to be addressed in various ways. Overcoming an addiction involves much more than simply never using or engaging in a certain behaviour again. When a person gets help for their addiction, they’re ensuring they’re equipped with all the tools necessary to overcome their addiction and avoid the triggers that lead to relapse.