Addiction is a serious condition that can result from a number of things. Drug addiction could result from ingesting addictive substances such as alcohol, nicotine, prescription medications, or illegal drugs. You can also become addicted to certain activities, such as gambling, sex, or shopping.
Specific symptoms exist that correspond to each unique substance or behavioral activity addiction. However, there are also many universal symptoms of general addiction. These include:
- A craving or compulsion to use the substance or engage in the activity
- Symptoms of withdrawal, such as irritability, anxiety, tremors, or nausea
- The inability to limit use of the substance or activity on your own
- Increases in the amount of a substance needed to achieve the desired effect
Addiction results from repetitive exposure to a substance or activity. Your brain releases endorphins that produce pleasure when you are using or participating in the source of your addiction. Individuals repeat activities to produce this euphoric release again and again.
Treating an addiction is possible, but you will need outside help to do so. If you are addicted to a substance, your body will begin to go through withdrawal whenever you attempt to stop using, which has both physical and psychological symptoms. These can include nausea, vomiting, chills, sweats, muscle cramps, aches, and sleeplessness. Other symptoms include shifts in heart rate, fever, depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. While the symptoms of withdrawal will typically only last three to five days, medical supervision is recommended, since this can be a very difficult period for an addict to overcome.
Behavioral therapy is also an important component of addiction treatment, which provides counseling about your addiction and helps you identify more healthy ways of coping with situations that are most likely to lead to abuse of the drug or activity.
Self-help groups can also be very beneficial for overcoming an addiction, as this helps you to identify with others who are also suffering from the same addiction.
The best way to prevent being addicted to a drug or activity is to avoid it in the first place. However, if this isn’t possible, make sure to take care when in these situations. If you are prescribed a highly addictive prescription drug, speak with your doctor about your addictive tendencies.
If you have already been addicted to a drug, the best way to prevent a relapse is to stick with your treatment plan, avoid high-risk situations, and get help immediately if you start to use the drug or engage in the activity again.