The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward and motivation centers as well as memory. An addict permanently desires some substance or the implementation of other behavioral habits. He often ignores other areas of life to fulfill his desires.
General signs of addiction include:
lack of control or inability to abstain from some substance or behavior
socialization problems, such as abandoning commitments or ignoring relationships
ignoring risk factors such as sharing needles despite the potential consequences
physical effects such as withdrawal symptoms or the need to take a higher dose to obtain an effect.
These signs are usually combined. The severity of each sign may depend on how long the addiction lasts.
A healthy person can usually identify negative behavior and get rid of it. This does not apply to a person with an addiction. Instead of admitting that the problem exists, he finds ways to justify and continue the behavior.
Types of Addiction
Addiction is commonly associated with substance abuse, but behavioral addictions such as gambling are just as serious. According to ASAM, addiction occurs when a person is unable to consistently refrain from either behaving or taking a substance. This usually comes at the expense of her mental and physical health.
Research suggests that behavioral addictions are just as severe as addictions to substances, including alcohol, drugs, and drugs. Both types are addictive and have the same or similar negative consequences. Behavioral addiction can include gambling, work, sex, shopping, video games, internet or media use.
Regardless of the type of addiction, it is important to recognize the warning signs and seek help when needed.
Initial Character Identification
In the early stages, a person may not show the characteristic signs of full dependence.
Some early stage tips include:
- family history of addiction
- a particular attraction to an activity or substance
- looking for situations where a substance or activity occurs
- episodes of loss of control with little or no sense of remorse.
When it comes to common social behaviors such as drinking or smoking, it can be difficult to determine if there is an addiction problem. What appears to be addiction may be an experimental phase or a form of coping with stress. But true addiction, if left untreated, can turn into a debilitating habit or result in an increased risk of disease.
Tip: Look for Personality Changes
As a person goes through the experimental phase or the early phase of addiction, it is likely that they will exhibit severe personality or behavioral changes. At the beginning, these changes may appear infrequently. The warning signs include:
- lack of interest in hobbies or activities that were once important
- neglecting relationships or reacting negatively to loved ones
- failure to fulfill important duties such as work
- a tendency to take risks, especially to use drugs or to continue certain behavior
- ignoring the negative consequences of your actions
- marked shift in sleep patterns that leads to chronic fatigue
- lying about the amount of substance used or time spent on the activity.
You may notice that you become more alienated over time. Addicts tend to surround themselves with others who encourage them to continue their bad habits. When confronted, they may make excuses and try to justify their behavior.