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What is Addiction?

What is Addiction?

Addiction is the regular use of alcohol, drugs, nicotine etc despite adverse effects and consequences. People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, talking or using.

Addiction is a developmental disease – typically begins in childhood / adolescence. It is classified as chronic relapsing disease (like diabetes, hypertension) that is more about the neurology of the brain rather than the outward manifestations of behavioral problems.

There are two types of dependence in addiction –
Psychological dependence

Physical dependence.

Psychological dependence is a need for a particular substance because it causes enjoyable mental affects. Although the person has been told about the relationship between his substance use and physical or psychological harm, he continues to use the substance. For example: A young man had road accident under alcohol intoxication and he was also noted to have liver and digestion problem. The treating doctor advised him to stop using alcohol but he still continues.

Physical dependence is physiological craving for particular substance and absence of which causes withdrawal symptoms. This is described as an intense desire to take the substance. This can happen with triggers or can occur without any such triggers. Common triggers are stress, locations where person previously used the substance, extremely happy or sad events, mood changes, etc For example:. A patient says he wants to quit and has tried many times, but ends up using the substance. It has happened many times.

What can lead to addiction?

The Gate way to addiction is something which increases the likelihood of developing the disease. No one would ever like or called to be an alcoholic or substance abuser (drug addict) if he knows when their first TRY may develop as a habit which could progress till the terminal. The common factors THAT CAN LEAD TO ADDICTION:

Peer Pressure (forced by friends, relatives, colleagues. )
Disturbed Childhood
Early start of usage of drugs
Stress / ADHD (childhood disorder)
Family Behavior
Genetics susceptibilities
Other mental disorders like Depression, Anxiety


COMMONLY USED TERMS in association to addiction

Abuse: Self-administration of any alcohol or a drug in a culturally disapproved manner that causes adverse consequences.

Addiction: A behavioral pattern of alcohol or drug abuse characterized by overwhelming involvement with the use of a drug (compulsive use), the securing of its supply and a high tendency to relapse after discontinuation.

Dependence: The physiological state of neuroadaptation produced by repeated administration of a drug, necessitating continued administration to prevent the appearance of the withdrawal syndrome.

Rebound: The exaggerated expression of the original condition sometimes experienced by patients immediately after cessation of an effective treatment.

Relapse: The re occurrence on discontinuation of an effective medical treatment of the original condition from which the patient suffered.

Tolerance: Tolerance has developed when after repeated administration, a given dose of a drug produces decreased effect, or conversely, when increasingly larger doses must be administered to obtain the effects observed with the original use.

Withdrawal: The psychologic and physiologic reactions to abrupt cessation of a dependence-producing drug.


Common Addictive substances:

Depressants or Downers: These drugs slow / calm down the brain functions and help a person to relax and feel sleepy if not abused. Initially these drugs make the user less shy and more talkative but abuse of the same will result in blabbered speech, awkward and erratic behaviors. These are also addictive and high usage will cause liver failure and respiratory arrest.

Cannabis ,Hash, Charas or Ganja / Marijuana
Sleeping pills
MS Contin

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Stimulants or Uppers: Stimulates and speeds up the user functions. These drugs give a high and speeds up the user blood pressure, heart beats, thoughts and a feeling which misleads him think stronger, excited and wide awake but in control for a while. But actually it is forcing your body to do more compare to the normal level. But soon when it begins to wear off he will crave to have more to get going in the same speed. If not he will feel depressed, tired & exhausted. These are very much addictive and extremely difficult to stop. This can cause serious health issues such as heart disease, strokes, kidney failure & seizures.

Cocaine (coke or crack)
Amphetamines (crystal, crank or speed)
PCP (Phencyclidine)
Ketamine (a drug in anaesthesia)
Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)

Psychotic drugs


Narcotic Analgesics

Natural: Poppy plant Opium, Morphine / Codeine
Semi synthetic: Morphine, Heroine, Brown sugar
Synthetic: Meperdine / Methadone

Prescribed (drugs used as medicines) abused drugs

Cough syrups(Corex)



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