I hope that based on the poems we can all agree that my next couple of post will be about addictions.

Now, there many, many, and I mean MANY addictions. Let me explain what an addiction is. According to the DSM ( which like the Bible of psychology, and right now we are on number 5),  addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive seeking and usage of substance or behavior, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because the substance or behavior literally changes the brain; it changes the brain structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.

Like I said before there are many types of addictions (click on the link to see the picture). Ever heard of a workaholic, shopaholic, sex addict? These are all addictions.

But wait. The American dream is to work like mules to have a better future; how can work be a harmful “addiction?”

Think about it, you work like mules for little to no reward. Money is just money (this can also be an addiction more commonly know as greed). Work causes problems when it comes first before personal health and relationships that are important (like family and mainly children).

I will state, that I personally believe that eating disorders, self-harm, and other types of mental conditions are, could, and should be considered addictions. However, for the following posts, I will be focusing on substance addictions and talk about behavioral addictions in later topics.

For this, topics will include alcohol, opium and narcotics (pills), cocaine and amphetamines, hallucinogens, Cannabis (marijuana, pot, weed, etc), and two stimulants: nicotine and caffeine (I pledge guilty on the charge of caffeine addiction). Leave me alone, I am,sometimes most regrettably, human.  

Before I end this post, to educate you a little, I leave you with six terms that might be useful to know as we tackle the world of addictions.

Addictive behavior– behavior based on the compulsive need for a substance.  

Substance abuse– when usage of substance causes potentially harmful behavior (driving when you are drunk or high) and when substance is used even when it causes social, psychological, occupational, and health problems (your partner left you, you have depression, you lost your job, and your liver might blow up any minute, yet you don’t stop drinking).  

Substance dependence– this is when your body physically needs the substance, and you have developed a tolerance for it. It also means that if you don’t get it you go into withdraws (these could be very, very painful sometimes).

Tolerance– when you start to develop higher and higher tolerance it means that there is a biochemical change in your body and brain. Both of these need higher and more frequent amounts of the substance to achieve…whatever it is that one wants to achieve (i.e. become more social, better dancers, forget problems and life, get that A on the paper due in less than 4 hours, etc).

Withdraw– this is referring to the physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, insomnia,headaches, etc that occurs with abstinence from the substance. Withdraws can and usually are very painful and some withdraws can kill.

Co-morbidity– this is the presence of one or more additional disorders (or diseases) co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder. (Depression and substance abuse typically go hand in hand).

Now you know a little bit more, and I hope you and I  will learn a little more as time goes on.

How to end this, well I could say “Don’t get addicted,” but chances are you are addicted to something already even if it’s small like caffeine or books or socks or coins or cats (Crazy cat ladies) or dogs (crazy dog gentlemen). So I close this post with the most creative way I can think of at the moment (I am writing this at one in the morning have been awake about 21 hours). I bid you a great night and leave you with a quote by a great man:

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

Edgar Allan Poe Addictions

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One thought on “Addictions: We all have them

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