We hear addiction discussed often, but you may wonder, just what is addiction? Teenadvice.about.com indicates that, “Addiction is a physiological dependence on something. It is both physical and psychological in nature. When you are addicted you literally need whatever it is that feeds that addiction. Addiction is not limited to drugs or alcohol. Addiction sneaks up on you. People who are addicted often don’t see that they have a problem. They think everyone else is the problem. Addiction differs from abuse. You can abuse drugs and not be addicted. The two most important factors in determining addiction are tolerance and physical dependency. Addiction is terribly destructive. It hurts you and those who care about you. It is not easy to overcome but once you have accepted it as a problem in your life you can get help. There is pending research that forced rehabilitation can work in certain people.“
Recently, more and more types of addiction have been identified and discussed in the media. Among these are: drug abuse & alcoholism, but also exercise addiction, food addictions, sexual addictions (including pornography addictions), computer and or gaming addictions, and gambling addiction. Wikipedia indicates that, “habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).”
In an article (2010) recently published by Jann Gumbiner titled Psychoanalytic Theories of Addiction, addiction is defined as being a defense against anxiety.
Gumbiner indicates that, “addicts abuse alcohol or other substances to protect themselves against overwhelming anxiety and other painful emotions such as loneliness and depression. A common acronym in addiction circles is H-A-L-T, meaning Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These are emotions leading to vulnerability and subsequent substance abuse. Unfortunately, when alcohol is used to avoid anxiety-evoking situations, the abuser never grows up. He/she never develops appropriate coping mechanisms. For example, the solitary drinker who stays in bed all day watching TV avoids going for a job interview, making friends, and learning how to deal with rejection. The alcohol is (thought) to dampen anxiety and avoid threatening situations.”
There are many theories about the causes of addictions and the reasons why addictions to so many things seem to be on the rise. But it is certain that addictions usually do much more harm than good in the long term.