What is addiction?

What is addiction?

Addiction is a complex chronic brain disease affected by genes and the environment. It is characterized by substance use or compulsive behavior, although harmful consequences continue.

For a long time, addiction means the uncontrollable habit of using alcohol or other drugs. Recently, the concept of addiction has been extended to include behaviors, such as gambling, as well as material, and even common and necessary activities, such as exercise and eating.


Although addiction to substances usually seems clear, there is some controversy as to which substances are truly addictive. The current guidelines in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are diagnostic tools for diagnosing different types of mental health conditions. The guidelines indicate that most psychoactive substances, including drugs, are potentially addictive .

Addiction and substance use disorder

The term addiction is used to describe compulsive drug-seeking behavior that continues despite negative results, but it is important to note that addiction is not considered a formal diagnosis in DSM-5.

DSM-5 does not use the term “addiction”, but classifies substance use disorders. Although the diagnostic criteria are different for each type, DSM-5 describes these diseases as problematic patterns of the use of toxic substances, causing significant damage and suffering. These symptoms can lead to impaired control, social disturbances, risky use, and tolerance/withdrawal.

Although these conditions may be informally called addictions, your doctor will formally diagnose you with some form of substance use disorder or one of two behavioral addiction disorders officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Substance use disorder

Different substance use disorders were found in DSM-5:

  • Alcohol-related diseases
  • Caffeine related diseases
  • Cannabis-related diseases
  • Hallucinogen-related diseases
  • Opioid-related diseases
  • Sedation, hypnosis or anti-anxiety related illnesses
  • Doping-related diseases
  • Tobacco related diseases

Behavioral addiction

DSM-5 also recognizes two types of behavioral addictions:

  • Gambling addiction
  • Internet gaming disorder


Signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of addiction, but some common addiction symptoms include:

  • Can’t stop
  • Changes in mood, appetite, and sleep
  • Despite the negative consequences, continue
  • deny
  • Engage in dangerous behavior
  • Feeling preoccupied with matter or behavior
  • Legal and financial issues
  • Lost interest in other things that I liked before
  • Put material or behavior before other parts of life, including family, work, and other responsibilities
  • Keep secret
  • Use more and more substances
  • Taking more substances than you expect
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Define the characteristics of addiction

All addictions have two things in common:

  • Addictive behavior is unsuitable. This behavior can cause problems for the individual or those around him. Therefore, it does not help people cope with situations or overcome problems, but rather tends to weaken these abilities.
  • The behavior is persistent. When people become addicted, they will continue to engage in addictive behaviors despite causing trouble. Therefore, the occasional weekend self-indulgence is not an addiction, although it can cause different types of problems. Addiction is characterized by frequent participation in behaviors.

Addiction and dependence

It is important to distinguish between dependence and addiction. When people become dependent on a substance, it means that they have experienced drug tolerance and drug withdrawal:

  • Tolerance means that the body has adapted to the presence of the drug, so more drugs are needed to produce the same effect.
  • If the use of the substance is suddenly reduced or stopped, withdrawal will occur when people experience certain physical and psychological symptoms.

A person can rely on a certain drug without becoming addicted, although these two conditions often happen at the same time. Addiction occurs when people continue to use drugs compulsively regardless of harmful consequences.


The diagnosis of addiction usually requires recognizing that there is a problem and seeking help. Substance use is not always a sign of addiction, although in addition to the risk of addiction, drug use also brings many health and social risks.

Once a person determines that they have a problem and need help, the next step is to be checked by a healthcare professional. This involves questions about behavior or substance use, checks to assess overall health, and the development of a treatment plan that best suits the individual’s specific addiction.

The exact diagnosis a person receives will depend on their addictive nature. Commonly misused substances that can lead to addiction include:

  • alcohol
  • cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalant
  • marijuana
  • Ecstasy and other club drugs
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opioids
  • prescription
  • Steroid
  • Tobacco/nicotine

Since certain substances may cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms, it is very important to obtain a proper diagnosis for the best treatment.

If you think you might be addicted

It is very common to go through the stage of drug addiction or addictive behavior without believing that you are addicted, even if it is abnormal. In fact, this is so common that it has a name, pre-contemplation.

If you start to think that you may be addicted, then you may have entered a stage of contemplation. This is a good time to learn more about the substance or behavior you are engaged in and to honestly reflect on whether you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of addiction.

Many people subsequently decided to make a change. For some people, this is easy and easy to manage. For many others, quitting smoking leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, and even behaviors can trigger the uncomfortable feeling of being comforted or suppressed by addictive behaviors.

If this happens, or if you have been drinking alcohol or using drugs, such as opioids (illegal or prescription drugs, other prescription drugs, stimulants, cocaine, or methamphetamine), you should seek medical help immediately.

Stopping certain drugs and then recurring may increase the risk of drug overdose, mental health problems, or other life-threatening medical complications, and should be performed under medical supervision.


Substances and behaviors can cause physical and psychological heights. Over time, people develop tolerance, which means that more things are needed to achieve the same initial effect. Some factors that can lead to addiction include:

  • Brain: Over time, addiction can lead to changes in the reward circuit of the brain.
  • Family history: If your family also has addiction, you may be more addicted.
  • Genetics: Research shows that genetics increases the likelihood of addiction
  • Environment: Exposure to addictive substances, social pressure, lack of social support and poor coping ability can also lead to the development of addiction.
  • Frequency and duration of use: The more someone uses a substance, the more likely they are to become addicted to it.

Addiction takes time to develop. A person is less likely to become addicted after using a certain substance once, although mental health problems or death from overdose or other complications may occur after using certain substances once.


Addiction can be treated, but not all recovery pathways are the same. Relapses are not uncommon, so the journey may take time.Some common treatments that may be used include:

  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used to address the thought and behavior patterns that lead to addiction. Other therapies that may be used include emergency management, family therapy, and group therapy.
  • Medications: This may include medications to help treat craving and withdrawal symptoms and other medications to treat underlying mental disorders (such as anxiety or depression). Medications that can be prescribed include methadone, buprenorphine, nicotine replacement therapy, and naltrexone.
  • Hospitalization: In some cases, people may need to be hospitalized to treat potentially serious complications during the detoxification process.
  • Support groups and self-help: Face-to-face and online support groups can be important resources for education and social support because people can learn new coping methods during recovery.

Although some schools emphasize the need for total abstinence, many people can learn to control addictive behaviors, such as drinking, eating, shopping, and sexual behavior. The best method for you depends on many factors, and it is best to decide in collaboration with your doctor or therapist.of


In addition to getting proper treatment, there are steps you can take to help you cope more easily and help you recover.

  • Identification mark. People’s addictions are usually so ingrained in their lifestyle that they never or rarely experience withdrawal symptoms. Or they may not realize what their withdrawal symptoms are, and attribute them to aging, working too hard, or just not liking the morning. People can last for many years without realizing the extent of their dependence on addiction.
  • Learn about addiction. Remember, help is always available. Self-education is a good start. You can greatly reduce the harm to yourself and the people around you, and maybe one day you will be ready to change forever.
  • Develop coping skills. When addiction is the main way a person copes with other problems, the harm caused by addiction is especially difficult to identify. Sometimes other problems are directly related to addiction, such as health problems, and sometimes they are indirectly related to addiction, such as relationship problems. Cultivating new coping skills can help you deal with life stress without relying on substances or behaviors.
  • Get support. Social support from friends and family is very important. Joining a support group is a great way to connect with people who have shared experiences.

Very good sentence

Many people are afraid of the word addiction and consider it a failure or worthless performance. Addicted people often stigmatize their behavior, leading to shame and fear of seeking help. The world is changing, and you may find that getting help for withdrawal is the best thing you have ever done for yourself. At the same time, we hope that self-education can help you on your way to health.