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Addiction is a term defined as “a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning.” When the substance is removed, it causes withdrawal symptoms. Another way to describe it is a recurring compulsion by a person to engage in a specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual’s physical or mental health or social life. The term “addiction” is most often used to refer to drug or alcohol addiction, but people can get addicted to all sorts of things, such as gambling, compulsive overeating, sex, pornography, or shopping. In addition, there is a slight difference between substance abuse and addiction. Substance abuse means using an illegal substance in the wrong way. Addiction may begin as substance abuse, but in addiction, the person has no control over whether he or she uses the drug or drinks alcohol. Someone who is addicted feels he or she has to have the substance. Addiction can be physical, psychological - or both.

Physical dependency or addiction:
Physical dependence or addiction is defined by the appearance of characteristic withdrawal symptoms when the substance is suddenly discontinued. Physical addiction also means the body builds a tolerance to the substance, so that the person needs a larger and larger dose than before to get the same effects. Common withdrawal symptoms include shaking, diarrhea, nausea, and generally feeling awful. The speed at which an individual becomes addicted to various substances varies with the substance, the frequency of use, the means of ingestion and the individual person’s genetic and psychological susceptibility.

Psychological dependency or addiction:
Psychological dependency is a dependency of the mind, and leads to psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, irritability, insomnia, depression, etc. Psychological addiction is very complex. In theory, this type of addiction can be derived from any rewarding behavior. Even pleasurable activities can become addictions, if they become uncontrollable, such as gambling, Internet addiction, sexual addiction, overeating, work addiction, pornography addiction or exercise addiction. It is considered possible to be both psychological and physically addicted at the same time. Some professionals make little distinction between the two types of addiction.

Recognizing there is a problem is the first step in getting help. Many people think they can kick the addiction on their own, but that usually doesn't work. Overcoming addiction is not easy. It is not a sign of weakness to seek professional help from a trained drug counselor or therapist. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, a school counselor, doctor, teacher, or clergy person. Addiction recovery groups are often very helpful. These groups are voluntary associations of people who share a common desire to overcome an addiction. There are different groups that use different methods that range from completely secular to explicitly spiritual. Many individuals find success with twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Co-Dependents Anonymous.


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