Research has shown that over 2 million people have some type of addiction, whether it be an addiction to a substance or an activity. This is one of the most complex illnesses someone can have, with many underlying issues.
An addiction involves not being able to stop using a specific substance, or partaking in a particular activity constantly. For example, over 300,000 people in the UK have addictions to drugs. This type of craving had a physiological basis as a result of the impact it has on the brain, and can take over someone’s life in the worst-case scenario.
However, there is a very fine line between an addiction and someone who innocently craves something. As a result, it can be hard to treat an addiction until absolutely certain that that’s what the problem is. If you think you may be suffering from an addiction, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you use a particular substance to get a desired effect?
- Do you feel sick or unwell if you don’t have the substance in question?
- Do you have an overwhelming urge to have the substance?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to each of these questions, then you are likely to be addicted to something. Help can be found in many different avenues, although it’s a good idea to first look at how you became addicted and why this came about.
An addiction to a substance quite often starts because of someone wanting to feel better, relaxed, powerful and/or excited. The person feels that the only way this feeling can be achieved is by taking the substance, and they therefore become reliant upon it, and consequently addicted.
An addiction takes over someone’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour, disturbing their perception of things in life. The amount someone changes through an addition is dependant upon how much it affects their brain. Feelings those with an addiction experience often make them:
- Depressed– this feeling can either be slight or severe, ranging from simply being unhappy to feeling suicidal and wanting to end your life.
- Angry– again, this ranges from feeling annoyed by people and situations at one end of the scale, to not being able to stand people and getting angry at them, at the other end of the scale.
- Anxious– from feeling like you can’t trust people, right up to paranoia and complete distrust of someone/something in all situations.
- Low confidence– feeling worthless and anxious at the thought of coming into contact with others.