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Addiction: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Types & Treatment

These changes do not only make a person crave their addiction, they can lead to emotional, psychological, and physiological dependence, affecting every aspect of a person’s life. Addicts find that they’re trapped in a complex from which breaking out seems impossible. When facing the challenges of addiction, seeking help and embarking on the journey of recovery is a courageous and vital step. Recognizing the need for help is the first stage in overcoming addiction. Once this recognition occurs, there are various treatment options, support systems, and resources available to guide individuals towards a path of recovery.

  • As time went on, I just needed more and more of the hydrocodone, eventually getting to the point where I couldn’t go on that way but I had nowhere else to turn.
  • Addictive substances or activities cause an intense, enjoyable feeling, creating a powerful urge to experience those feelings again.
  • They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to.
  • In contrast, others may start progressing through the cycle and form a substance use disorder.

While seeking relief, people with a SUD may begin obsessing about the substance and participating in ritual behaviors. After the triggering emotions or events, the individual will begin to seek relief from that internal pain or discomfort. This desire to stamp out negative emotions is a big part of the problem most addicts face. These events might look different for some people, but are fairly common amongst those struggling with addiction.. The addiction cycle describes the emotions and thoughts of an addicted individual and shows us why relapses are prevalent.

Three-stage cycle framework

Similarly, individuals can undergo negative social reinforcement by removing social isolation, such as going to the bar for a drink. Some people are able to adjust to controlled drinking, drug use, or addictive behaviors without becoming addicted. For others, abstinence is the only way to keep their addiction under control.

In essence, acknowledging physical dependency and customizing treatment to tackle this issue is a vital move in assisting individuals to recover from addiction and reclaim their lives. The algorithm is engineered to scrutinize a person’s drinking patterns meticulously. It takes into account factors like the kind of alcohol consumed, whether it’s strong spirits or cocktails, and the amount consumed. This data is pivotal in assessing the person’s risk factor for developing alcohol-related issues.

Treatment Options

As time went on, I just needed more and more of the hydrocodone, eventually getting to the point where I couldn’t go on that way but I had nowhere else to turn. Then after a while, as I was struggling with strong feelings of depression and anxiety, the doctors gave me a citalopram prescription. “You’ll need to be on this as long as you’re on opioids, and maybe even longer than that.” I didn’t realize how many people have to take medications to function, and even though my father had taken a hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination as long as I’d been alive, I just didn’t see medicine as something I would ever need. Medications such as naltrexone can reduce cravings and reduce alcohol consumption. Talk to your doctor if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol.

The prevailing myth in society is that “problem drinkers” have a moral weakness. ‘They’re not tough enough’ or ‘they don’t want to get better’ are commonly held misperceptions among family members, cops and doctors—myself included, until I learned about alcohol’s effects on the brain. In low to moderate amounts, wine or beer for instance can help people feel happier, relaxed and social. This is because alcohol activates the brain’s reward system by increasing the release of the “pleasure” neurotransmitter, dopamine. The relapse stage is sometimes included in the stages of change model, in recognition that a person might have some, or even many, small lapses, or even relapses—periods when the addictive behavior is taken up again—before maintenance is achieved. The “stages of change” or “transtheoretical” model is a way of describing the process by which people overcome addiction.