what is addiction?

What does it mean to be addicted?

An addiction is a long-term malfunction of the brain's reward, motivation, and memory systems. It's all about how your body desires a substance or habit, particularly if it leads to a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of "reward" with little regard for the consequences.

When someone has an addiction, they will:

  • be unable to refrain from using the substance or quit engaging in addicted behavior

  • show a lack of self-discipline

  • have a stronger desire for the substance or activity

  • Ignore the possibility that their actions are producing issues.

  • a lack of emotional reaction

Addictions can drastically disrupt your daily life over time. People who suffer from addiction are prone to relapse and remission cycles. As a result, they may alternate between heavy and light use. Regardless of these cycles, addictions usually increase with time. They can cause long-term health problems as well as significant repercussions such as bankruptcy.

clear glass tube with white plastic tube
clear glass tube with white plastic tube

That is why it is critical for anyone suffering from an addiction to seek help. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, call 800-622-4357 for confidential and free treatment referral information. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at this number (SAMHSA). They'll be able to provide further details, such as preventative tips and advice on mental and substance abuse illnesses.

What are the different kinds?

One in every three persons in the globe suffers from an addiction. Addiction can manifest itself as a substance or a behavior.

Drug and alcohol addictions are the most well-known and dangerous. Nearly one out of every ten Americans is addicted to both. More than two-thirds of those who have a drug addiction also abuse alcohol.

The following are the most frequent drug addictions:

Nicotine is a substance present in tobacco.

THC is a psychoactive substance present in marijuana.

narcotics (opioids) or pain relievers


Substances or activities that have the potential to lead to addiction

caffeine or coffee


anger as a coping mechanism





Some habits or social actions have the appearance of addiction. When a person is addicted, however, they will often respond negatively if they do not receive their "reward." Coffee addiction, for example, can cause physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as severe headaches and irritability.

What are the telltale signs?

The majority of addiction symptoms are related to a person's inability to retain self-control. This includes the following modifications:

societal, such as going out of one's way to find conditions that encourage the use of a substance or a particular habit

enhanced concealment as a behavioral trait

sleeplessness or memory loss are examples of health-related issues.


Even if they are aware of the problems their addiction is producing, someone with an addiction will not change their behavior. They may also show signs of a lack of control, such as utilizing more than is intended.

The following are some of the behavioral and emotional changes linked to addiction:

inaccurate or erroneous appraisal of the benefits and drawbacks of consuming substances or engaging in certain actions

blaming their difficulties on other factors or persons

Anxiety, depression, and melancholy are all on the rise.

heightened sensitivity to stress and more extreme reactions

Having difficulty recognizing emotions

Having difficulty distinguishing between emotions' feelings and bodily sensations