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All about Addiction: What You Need to Know

Posted on :  June 16th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Addiction” is a word many are happy to throw around without much regard for its actual meaning and application.

As a result, it can be useful for you, if you happen to be suffering from addiction, or know someone who is, to have a reference overview of its hallmarks, causes, and the areas in which it can strike.

A key part of recovery revolves around understanding your affliction so here’s a quick fire fact sheet which aims to debunk some of the myths surrounding addiction.

What is it? What causes it?

Addiction is best thought of as a compulsion. Those who exhibit addictive behaviors may find themselves unable to control themselves or resist exposure to something.

Addiction can take two forms:

  • Substance Dependence: a self-created biological imperative, where the sufferer finds themselves with a substance dependence, which in turn will mean they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, for example.
  • Behavioral Addiction: a psychological dependence, where the sufferer may be drawn to specific activities, rather than substances. Famous common examples include gambling, sex, exercise etc.

Though superficially different, both forms of addiction yield the same results: that the sufferer develops a need for the activity or drug such that they cannot function in daily life without it, and thus, their pursuit of it becomes uncontrolled and compulsive.

This fact sheet will concentrate mostly on physical dependence, as it is probably the most widespread form of addiction and perhaps unsurprisingly, also the most misunderstood.

The relationship between habit and addiction

For the most part, people are capable of engaging in certain activities (such as exercise) or use substances (such as alcohol) without the risk of it developing into a compulsion.

Others, however, may not be able to engage in such activities. The difference between these people can be highlighted with the habit-addiction distinction.

Where a habit represents engagement with an activity out of choice, addictive engagement represents a lack of choice: in other words, the sufferer is unable to control their actions.

While the causes of addiction are often disputed, they generally stem from a combination of physical predispositions, environmental influences and emotional states.

“One thing that is for sure, though, is that addictive behaviors will not go away on their own.”

Addiction leads to a higher tolerance, and an increased quantity of engagement with the substance or activity in order to feel satisfied.

What to look out for

If you worry that you, or someone you love, may be suffering from addiction, here’s what to look out for:

  • An inability to stop
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Appetite increase
  • Increased solitude
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Substance use as a response to interpersonal problems
  • Denial
  • Sacrifice of social activities
  • Financial problems

If any of these symptoms sound familiar and you’d like to find out more, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. (TRC) is an Ontario addiction treatment centre with the philosophy to help individuals take control of their addiction and help them rebuild their lives and careers.

Don’t hesitate to call us! We’ll be happy to help you.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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