Addiction: Drug Addiction and Addiction Branches

?Addiction When many people think of addiction dependences on alcohol or drugs often come to mind. There are a vast number of other activities however, that can be just as addicting if abused. Here in America, we are taught at early ages to steer clear of drugs and alcohol due to their addictive nature. At home, our parents admonish us about the dangers of drugs and drinking and we are enrolled in D. A. R. E programs while in school. Furthermore we are reminded to “stay above the influence” while watching television as anti-drug and alcohol campaigns air in between our favorite shows.

Parents, teachers, and Uncle Sam instill in us the terrifying ramifications of becoming dependent on such substances and make it clear that addiction is nothing to play with. While all of these practices are very beneficial, it is also just as important to note that addiction branches out much further than just drugs and alcohol. By definition, “addiction is the habitual compulsion to use a substance, or to engage in an activity without much regard for its detrimental effects on a person’s physical, mental, financial, social, and spiritual well-being.

” As easy as it is to misuse and become dependent on drugs and alcohol, a person can just as easily do the same with things such as sex, video games, shopping, and etc. It is important to remember not to over indulge in anything because as the old saying goes, sometimes even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Millions of people across the globe, from various backgrounds and walks of life suffer from one or more addictions of some sort. America alone serves as a prime example of the many different substances and activities that can easily become addicting.

In a convenience centered culture where there is ubiquitous access to a multitude of pleasurable outlets, there is no wonder that addiction is as prevalent as it is. A list compiled by Masters in Public Health states that the ten most common addictions plaguing health in America today are media, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, food, gambling, prescription drugs, bulimia, cocaine, and hallucinogens. Other prevalent addictions rampant in America are excessive engagement in activities such as watching pornography, video gaming, exercising, shopping, and etc.

With such a large array of activities that can be considered addictive, it is very difficult to find an accurate count of the amount of people suffering from a form of addiction. Likewise, many of these people do not find their engagement in said activities as addictive. When it comes to alcohol and illicit drugs, however, according to a 2010 National Survey of Drug Use and Health there is “an estimated 22. 1 million persons aged 12 or older [who] were classified with substance dependence in the past year.

” Add this number to the millions of unreported and unknown accounts of addiction and you have a general idea of the many people in our nation alone suffering from addiction. As this number continues to grow with each passing year, it is becoming increasingly evident that addiction is a problem that spans across all ethnic groups, races, social class, and etc. Likewise, addiction is a problem that has adverse effects on more than just the person partaking in the abuse. The calamities of drug abuse extend to the families of the users, their friends, their communities, and etc.

This is the very reason that I find interest in this topic. I would like to gather as much information on the subject as possible in order to help those who suffer from addiction to overcome their dependence and become productive members of society. America is already such a great country, imagine how much greater it could be without such a large portion of its citizens suffering from addiction. In order to one day do this; I know that I will need to have a thorough understanding of addiction about everything from the risk factors to the symptoms and more.

The first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that it exists. This being said, it is very important to know and recognize the symptoms of an addiction. Many people suffering from addiction are delusional to the fact that they are indeed addicted to whatever vice it is that they choose to indulge in. Acknowledging that the symptoms and signs are present is the first step to recovery. As said by Elizabeth Hartney in an article about addiction, all dependences, be they substance or behavioral, “involve both physical and psychological processes.

” These aforementioned processes are the signs and symptoms that an addiction is present. In this same article Hartney further explains that no matter how unique a person’s drug or behavioral addiction may be they all usually involve a certain group of symptoms and signs. As previously said, there are signs and symptoms that tend to be commonly exhibited across addictions. One prevalent symptom of addiction is difficulty or inability to meet responsibilities in other aspects of life such as school, work, family, or etc.

Addicts tend to fixate on their addiction and find it hard to function without it. Likewise, withdrawal occurs when the person does not partake in the activity or substance. They often become preoccupied with their addiction and spend a great deal of time engaging in the activity or substance. Often times, addicts will place getting a fix as their number one priority. Another symptom often experienced in addicts is continued indulgence in an addictive behavior or substance despite dangerous, immoral, or disruptive consequences. Addicts may go through extreme and/or dangerous lengths to feed their addiction.

One last symptom present in most addictions is one or more failed attempts at stopping the addictive behaviors or substances. While addicts are slow to admit that they do indeed have an addiction, they often know that they need their vice. This is why they often hold it to a higher significance than anything else. Although they may often vocalize that they do not “need” it, their actions show otherwise. Along with the symptoms that have been previously discussed. There are many other signs that can be exhibited if a person has an addiction.

According to Elizabeth Hartley, some signs you may see in addicted person are extreme mood changes, noticeable changes in sleeping habits, changes in energy, weight gain or loss, secretiveness, lying, stealing, financial problems, repeated unexplained outings, changes in health, and changes in social groups. While not all of these signs may be observed, the presence of three or more of them may be the indication of a problem. After noticing the symptoms and signs of addiction, it is very imperative to proceed with caution when reaching out to the individual of concern.

It is equally important to know the background of the person being approached in order to ensure that help is rendered rather than exasperating the situation. Knowing more information about addiction and its different causes can help a person approach an addict with understanding and proper discernment on enlisting the best help. There are multitudes of factors that can push a person into addiction. Some of the most common ones are genetics, environment, and peer pressure. Genetics are a very important factor in addiction; however, it is important to also remember that this does not mean that addiction is inevitable.

Genes can cause an individual to be more susceptible to certain addictions than others. This means that there are specific “addiction genes” that make a person more vulnerable to addiction. This genetic susceptibility “is the result of the interaction of many genes. ” Scientists have discovered through constructing pedigrees of large families with histories of addiction (and other experiments), that various genes can be passed down from generation to generation. These genes can be substance-specific and some play larger roles than other.

Some genes can influence pathways to the brain while some may deal with mood. Genes work together in a variety of different ways to make a person susceptible to addiction. This factor, accompanied with others, is a very important factor when considering the cause of an addiction. Another factor that has a major role in contributing to the likelihood of developing an addiction is environment. “The environment which surrounds the individual, especially during the very critical formative years, can influence the likelihood of whether or not an addiction will be developed later on in life.

” Many things in a person’s environment can push them to behavioral addictions or substance abuse. Individuals who witness or experience physical abuse may turn to drugs or addictive behavioral practices as a way of escaping their grim realities. Likewise, people who live in drug infested environments may turn to them out of curiosity or as a result of simply being so familiar to them. People who have access to a great deal of financial resources may just as easily become addicted to activities such as shopping or gambling due to simply over-indulging in said activities and receiving a high from doing so.

There are a variety of ways that environment can play into forming an addiction. In the same way that environment and genetics can play a huge role in the development of an addiction, peer pressure can also play just as big of a role. It is possible to have no family history of addiction and to live in an environment that is not conducive to developing one and still succumb to addiction due to pressure from peers. Interaction with other people plays such a huge role in everyone’s life; it is not hard to believe that through the influence of friends addiction is possible.

This is especially true when the individual being influenced spends a lot of their time with the influencer or thinks highly of them. “The findings from a National Drug Agency (AADK) study done in Malaysia revealed that of 26,841 drug addicts surveyed between 2007 and 2008, 55 percent became hooked on drugs after being introduced to the substance by friends. ” This should serve as no surprise, considering that people often find the opinions of their peers as very important. Article Source: http://EzineArticles. com/853514

By Patrick Mclemore nov 27 2007 IV. Treatment for addiction a. AA (12 step program) b. NA c. OA d. Individual e. Group V. Summary/ Conclusion http://www. webmd. com/mental-health/addiction-directory http://www. webmd. com/mental-health/substance-abuse http://www. egetgoing. com/drug_addiction/drug_addiction_information. asp http://dictionary. webmd. com/terms/addiction http://www. thegooddrugsguide. com/addiction-types/index. htm http://www. mastersinpublichealth. net/10-most-common-addictions-in-america/ http://addictions.about. com/od/howaddictionhappens/a/symptomslist. htm.

http://helpguide. org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment. htm APA format: Genetic Science Learning Center (2011, January 24) Genetics is an Important Factor in Addiction. Learn. Genetics. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://learn. genetics. utah. edu/content/addiction/genetics/ MLA format: Genetic Science Learning Center. “Genetics is an Important Factor in Addiction. ” Learn. Genetics 20 October 2011.

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