What Is Addiction?
“Not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted. But it can happen to anyone and at any age.” https://tinyurl.com/y8rrzyz4
“Addiction is a medical condition that is characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction
We often hear people use terms like addict and junkie in jest, “I’m addicted to chocolate”, “I’m addicted to shoes”, “I’m a sports junkie”, “I’m a food junkie”, to describe some amusements and desires, but these references can be very deceiving. Actual addiction is not at all fun. No child looks forward to becoming an addict when they grow up. No adolescent tries drugs with the intention of becoming an addict. The casual use of these terms can undermine the truly devastating affects of addiction. Addiction is far from being a benign condition and trivializing the terms does nothing more than perpetuate the misunderstanding of the seriousness of the condition and the profound implications for everyone involved.
Addiction has plagued humans for centuries and despite our intellectual advances the epidemic continues to spread. No group of people, regardless of financial status, level of education, devotion to family, or to religion, is free from addiction. Chronic pain, anxiety, toxic relationships, physical illness or injury, adolescent experimentation, trauma, video games, gambling, sex, drugs, food, body image, and social media, can all lead to addiction. One thing has changed though, the concept of treatment and recovery has taken root.
Through no fault of our own, for many of us and those we love, life proves to be far more difficult than it is for some others. We all know that. Even if it is not us suffering, we all have family or friends who are coping with various tragic circumstances, and how do we respond, we comfort and encourage them of course. We praise them for their bravery and determination, but when it comes to addiction society treats sufferers with scorn and impatience. In reality, all of us are dealing with a variety of idiosyncrasies that can complicate our lives in unexpected ways, but it’s in the recognition and exploration of these peculiarities that awareness is born, emotional intelligence. This is how we learn how to negotiate our world, our relationships, our responsibilities, our opportunities to engage, respond and connect with others.
“Addiction is when you can’t stop. Not when it puts your health in danger. Not when it causes financial, emotional, and other problems for you or your loved ones. That urge to get and use drugs can fill up every minute of the day, even if you want to quit.”
Addiction is brutally profound in its scope. It hijacks a person’s character and it makes destructive physical changes in the brain that the addict will struggle with for a lifetime. With effort and support, one day at a time, a person can emerge stronger, and able to not only cope, but actually wise enough to lead others. Addiction is a condition you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Addiction can destroy the life of the most unsuspecting people. People just like us.