Addiction and Dependence


Addiction is described as compulsive use of a substance or behavior to increase pleasure or a need that is not usually present. Habits can be physical (including dependence on drugs and alcohol) or psychological. People can begin to develop addictions at any point in life, but they most commonly appear during adolescence and young adulthood. Adolescent and young adult addictions are most likely triggered by psychological factors, such as stress at home, school, or in the neighborhood. Other common causes of addictions include social and technological activities, work, hobbies, and relationships.

While they may take time to acknowledge that they have a problem, they often feel the need for drugs and secretly consume them. It is not uncommon for them to keep their addictions and withdraw from society to maintain their habits. Because they are usually kept so busy with their addictions, they can rarely form and maintain healthy relationships. In some cases, they become so withdrawn from the life that they start to show signs of clinical depression.

Although addiction is considered a brain disease, there is no medical test for addiction. However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states, “Some degree of dependence may be present when patients do not respond adequately to a specific stimulant drug or another psychostimulant.” The symptoms are not specified, but the diagnosis is based on three specific criteria: tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and motivation to return to previous levels of drug use or behavior. While drug abuse can lead to dependence, this is not a normal part of the addiction process.

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Some of the symptoms of addiction include insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Physical symptoms include muscle aches, nausea, headaches, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, and frequent urination. Behavioral symptoms include impulse control, reckless behaviors, social withdrawal, irresponsible sexual behavior, substance abuse, and gambling. The severity of the signs and their duration varies from person to person and from time to time and depends on the specific drug of abuse and the amount of alcohol consumed.

Drug addiction and dependence begin as acts of compulsive behavior. For example, drug abuse can turn into an uncontrollable desire to become dependent on the drug of abuse. Such compulsive behavior can result in personality changes and changes in the brain’s chemical activity. The brain’s reward system initiates feelings of pleasure, thereby increasing the need for the substance of abuse. As a result, drug withdrawal symptoms manifest, which can eventually lead to an intense craving for the importance of abuse.

Treatment options for alcohol or substance use disorders vary from individual to individual. Anabolic Steroids Treatment options are almost limitless, as each person responds to treatment in different ways. In general, however, individuals with a substance use disorder exhibit specific common symptoms, including depression, hopelessness, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, compulsions, guilt, and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. Treatment options range from simple self-help programs to inpatient rehab services and support groups.

Symptoms of substance abuse and addiction may go beyond those listed above. Some of these may include a loss of appetite and weight, increased dependence on drugs or alcohol, sleep, brain function changes, and severe physical health problems, such as heart and blood pressure problems, immunity deficiencies, and developing illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis. In some cases, symptoms may even encompass the onset of severe mental health problems, such as depression, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior. They still may be at risk for developing addiction and dependency. For this reason, ongoing treatment is essential.

Substance abuse and addiction can have severe and harmful consequences. If you or someone you love is showing signs of being addicted or dependent on drugs or alcohol, you should seek professional help. Treatment centers provide safe and useful resources that can help individuals reclaim their lives and health.