Why We Could All Be Addicts

Credit: AddictionResource.Com

Sarah Maniago, Co-Editor

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When hearing the word “addict,” we all think of substance abuse. We think of the bottle of liquor, concealed in a paper bag being downed at ten in the morning, or the person whose parked car is filled with smoke the second they drop their daughter off at kindergarten. We see addicts as individuals who rely on substances in order to be able to function, whilst that might not entirely be the case. Although our definition of addiction may not necessarily be incorrect with those individuals being the most obvious and prominent addicts, we choose to exclude those who do not depend on a drug to live their everyday lives. Merriam-Webster’s definition of an addict is: “to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively.” Though in denial, we all can relate to the unwillingness and refusal to give up a certain action/behavior that we impulsively engage in on a day to day basis.

An addiction can be developed from any pattern of psychological behaviors. According to Healthy Place, addiction does not just stem from substance use, which makes behavioral addictions just as serious; said addictions include food, using computers/Internet, playing video games, working, exercising, spiritual obsession, pain (seeking), self-harm, and shopping. For a period of time, an addiction may be seen as normal. The person could be seen as just engaging in today’s 21st-century technology, playing video games as they do on a daily basis, or spending the day at the mall until they max out their credit cards.

One may engage in these activities as a way to pass time, a way to cope, or simply a way to gain pleasure and happiness. Whilst they may seem normal to outsiders, these obsessions could be signs of addiction. Although they may or may not be as serious as substance use, it is important to look for signs and symptoms of addiction in these behaviors. As reported by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), signs of addiction include:

  • Loss of control: Resulting in using an excessive amount, despite telling yourself otherwise
  • Neglecting Other Activities: Spending less time on activities that you find enjoyment in or that are important to you or others and replacing that time with the addiction.
  • Risk Taking: Taking risks to obtain drugs or alcohol (or in this case, anything needed for the behavioral addiction)
  • Relationship Issues: Those struggling with the addiction are known to act out against those closest to them, particularly when it is regarding their addiction being addressed
  • Secrecy: Hiding the addiction from others and/or the extent to which the addiction results in
  • Changing Appearance: Serious changes or deterioration in hygiene or physical appearance – lack of showering, slovenly appearance, unclean clothes
  • Family History: A history within families raises a risk of addiction in their children
  • Tolerance: Over time, in order to fulfill that same effect when using for the first time, they may need to use more for a longer period of time to have that same reaction.
  • Withdrawal: Feeling anxiety after not using for a while and feeling the need to use again
  • Continued Use After Negative Consequences: Usage continues, despite the negative effects on your life

Anybody can have an addiction, whether it may be as extreme as drugs and alcohol or as moderate as cell phone use. It is only a matter of recognizing it when what you are doing turns into a problem that can affect you and everyone around you.

If you think you may be showing signs or symptoms of an addiction, or know someone who might be, click here for more for helplines.

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