Addiction refers to a difficulty in controlling certain repetitive behaviours to the extent that they have harmful consequences. They are the result of powerful compulsions to use and do certain things excessively, often out of a need to escape from upsetting emotions/situations. These compulsions can trigger a self-perpetuating process, which can cause pain and suffering not only for those addicted, but also for their friends and family.
Addictions can develop from many activities, including drinking alcohol, taking drugs, eating, gambling, having sex and using the Internet. Often addictions begin as a result of how these activities make people feel emotionally and physically. These feelings can be pleasurable – triggering a powerful urge to carry out the activity again to recreate this ‘high’. This can develop into a repetitive cycle that becomes very hard to break.
The first step in seeking help for addiction is usually to speak to someone about how you are feeling. If you are nervous about speaking to a loved-one, there are various charitable organisations that have been set up to help people with addictions. You may also want to consider visiting your GP who can answer any questions you may have about your condition. Most medical professionals should be comfortable dealing with people with addictions, and will be able to provide a safe and non-prejudiced environment for you and/or your loved ones to express concerns.
The main way to beat an addiction is through addictions counselling as they can target the problems that have caused the addiction in the first place. Seeking out counselling is a difficult thing to do because it starts with the addict admitting that they have a problem.
The counsellor will assess exactly what type of problems the addict is suffering from. For some it’s depression, which could be over a loss of a family member or over the meltdown of a long term relationship. Other people may just be angry, but they aren’t releasing their anger into the world so they are just using their addiction in an attempt to feel some sort of release. Some even suffer from both as they are depressed yet they are angry that they are depressed as the belief is that they are weak to suffer from an addiction.