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How To Define Addiction

Addiction is a conflict of interests within a person. Even though they may know an activity is not healthy for them and could have serious consequences, they still opt to participate. Why they do these things may seem to be beyond cognitive thinking and a weakness in character yet addiction is a serious disease just like diabetes, heart disease or asthma.

The seriousness of addiction also does not effect only those with alcoholism or drug abuse but also encompasses many forms. What are the main forms known in addiction?

  • Gambling
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Kleptomania
  • Food
  • Sex
  • Prescription Drugs

About The Addiction

These addictions can also be related. Some may begin stealing to fuel a drug or gambling addiction, or over eat when they are not drinking and have a sex addiction that is caused by excessive drinking or drug use. All of these actions produce a stimulating effect in the brain that makes one crave the substance of their addiction and fuels their disease.


Addiction, as a disease, has two main forms. One type in which a person has an addictive personality, is easily addicted to many things and can just as easily be addicted to shopping or exercise as alcohol. The second type of addiction disease stems from social use of a substance that creates an addiction due to physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms such as can be caused by the use of heroin. Heroin can have a wonderfully high effect for those who try it and even after one use, one can become seriously addicted because of the downward spiral created by “coming down” or the effects of the drug as it begins to wear off. Many will feel nausea, depression, anxiety, headache and body aches, which in course causes them to crave or want more to make the pain go away.

This is also a main component in the addiction to prescription pain pills and the adverse over-all effects it has as one begins to ween themselves off the drug. As they soon realize the new pain they suffer initially that was not even related to why they took the pain pills in the first place, causes them to keep taking them. It is very important when stopping any medication or drug that a physician be used to help aide in the process and to make a healthy transition with as little side effects as possible.

The over-all definition of addiction encompasses any habitual activity that is potentially harmful or injurious. An addiction is also termed as a physical form while dependency is of a psychological nature. In each, addiction and dependency, their is cause for concern as both are definitive diseases on their own and need clinical attention.

What are the Costs of Addiction?

Many may think that their dependency or addiction is not that big a deal, while family members and friends will often cover to hide the actions that ensue. While any addiction is very harmful to ones own well-being it’s also very stressful and hurtful to family, friends and even the economy. It is based that in the U.S. alone an estimate of $600 billion dollars is lost to the illicit use of drugs and alcohol. Tobacco alone is estimated at $193 million in costs for health care, loss of jobs and death. This estimate does not even cover the broader spectrum of alcohol abuse which is measured at $235 billion without the cost of domestic violence and child abuse added into this figure. In addition the illegal drug use estimate of $193 million also forgets to add theft, insurance increases in health costs, family dis-function and violence.

Addiction Hurts Everyone

This, outside of the personal impact an addict can have on loved ones, paints a very broad and depressing picture. It should, because every time the cops are called for an alcoholic abusive husband fighting with his wife or children, it costs money. It costs every tax-payer money to care for this addict. It costs tax-payers money to pay for the police force, it costs money to help feed their child who is receiving free lunches at school and to pay for their health care. Why? Because the alcoholic is not able to hold a job. It costs money in overly high health insurance premiums to everyone when this person hurts themselves, a loved one or an innocent bystander and they need care. This is why it is important to everyone, to be an enabling factor to help any addict as best they can.

This does not mean you should cover for your buddies when

  1. He is late to work because he has been on a drinking binge.
  2. Or for your girlfriend who is out smoking pot on her break.

You need to be an active force in helping them to recognize their addiction and to seek help and guidance where it is available. There are several free, as well as paid avenues for an addict to seek help. Many employers even offer assistance through various work and health programs that allows one to keep their jobs and their health insurance while getting the help they desperately need. Whether it be a friend, sibling, spouse or yourself, the time to seek help is now, before it is too late.