If you are in a bad situation and wish to improve your life, Overcoming addictions will need to be a major step in your self improvement journey. From hard drug addiction, smoking, gambling, and social media addiction; we humans have a tendency to develop some nasty habits and get hooked on things that can eventually destroy our lives or the lives of those around us. While everybody is prone to some sort of addiction the good news is that there has been a great deal of research on overcoming addictions and we know a lot more today than we did even a few years ago. If you have an addiction or know somebody that does, what do you need to do to deal with it? How do you overcome addiction before it overcomes you? Or the better question, are you even willing to deal with it? If a person is truly willing to deal with their addiction and face their problems head on, ANYTHING is beatable and overcoming addictions is entirely possible.
Nicotine Addiction part 1 of 4
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Nicotine Addiction part 4 of 4
What Is Addiction?
What is addiction? How do you define it? How does it begin and how do you know if you are already addicted to something? The American Society of Addiction Medicine has this definition for Addiction:
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can involve cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
Most experts break addiction down into two basic types: substance or chemical addictions (for example, alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, and
) and process addictions (for example, gambling, spending, shopping, and overeating). Substance addiction means that when a person is addicted to something and then the addictive substance is suddenly withdrawn or discontinued, the person suffers physical pain and discomfort. When overcoming addictions to illicit drugs like heroin or crystal meth, professional medical attention may be required to deal with extreme withdrawal symptoms that literally cause extreme physical illness.
The most common example of a chemical addiction is nicotine, which is a drug found in tobacco products. Users experience extreme relief when drawing on a cigarette because it temporarily silences nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Process addictions are attributed to what is known as the dopaminergic system, or the brain’s ability or lack of ability to produce dopamine, a pleasure-inducing substance. This kind of psychological factor is considered as a way to escape the realities of life and deal with underlying problems such depression, anxiety, or low self esteem. There is very little difference between chemical and process addictions as far as the end results are concerned. The difference lies in the causes and characteristics of each of these two types, and with the types of treatment that will be used for each of them.
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How Does Addiction Begin?
An addiction starts in the mind and with the emotions that a person feels. The trials and struggles that one has to deal with on a daily basis eventually become too much and an addiction arises as a way of coping. The underlying causes of all destructive addictions are the negative emotions of depression and anxiety (or manifestations of depression and anxiety) Addiction usually begins with just a look, smell, feel, touch and then a taste – a taste of “something better”. A pleasant and blissful feeling overcomes the person and they soon taste again and again until it becomes an “addiction.” Remember, addiction isn’t necessarily focused on hard drugs, as there are other types of addictions that people can and do fall into in an attempt escape from their problems. Addictions such as non-stop work, internet gambling, and compulsive shopping are consuming the lives of millions of people even as we speak.
Overcoming addictions is something that EVERYBODY should focus on from time to time. Now, not everybody is a strung out junkie, but everybody has an addictive vice like biting finger nails, compulsive spending, being glued to a smart phone, frequently overeating… you get the point. Think of a particular behavior you have and ask yourself what would happen if you suddenly stopped this behavior. The real question would be: Are you willing to stop? Can you stop doing this even for just a minute? If you feel that you can’t, then there is definitely an addictive pattern.
As stated earlier, addictions arise as a way of dealing with primarily the negative emotions of anxiety and depression. Social pressure, money problems, stress at work, or the feeling of boredom (which is actually a form of anxiety) are very common catalyst for negative behaviors that eventually lead to addictions.
If a long day at work leads to frequent “happy hours”, which leads to going home slightly drunk on a regular basis you might want to examine your working environment. If feel that you have to have two cups of coffee to start your day, then you might need to take some steps to reduce the stress of your mornings. Whatever bad habit you have; it is most certainly the end effect of a root cause. Take some time to explore and deal with the root cause and you’re on your way to living a little cleaner and happier!
A Final Word on Overcoming Addictions
A lot of issues and addictions can be addressed and solved just by applying some self help and self improvement techniques. However, there are addictions that will require professional assistance and are beyond the scope of Improve-The-Self. If you feel that you require professional assistance PLEASE get the help you need, then come back here and help others.
Learn more about pain killer addiction here!