Food, sex, video games, gambling, alcohol, shopping, drugs – what do you all have in common? The answer is, any person can get addicted to these things.
Before proceeding further, it is important to understand what exactly is addiction? Simply put, it is a disease that occurs due to changes in your neural pathways. And certainly, it is not a lack of will, weakness of character, or moral degradation.
Dr. Yusuf Merchant, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, says that addiction should not be seen as a character weakness.
Anyone who is an addict is looking for a solution. Why not solve his addiction? Basically what we do is isolate the person, which makes them feel even more lonely.
According to Dr. Merchant, addiction is just a symptom of the problem.
Addiction: a disease of the mind
Bhang was consumed by 87 lakh people, 625 lakh people took alcohol, and the remaining 20 lakh people used opium or other intoxicants. According to government data, 3,647 people have committed suicide in India due to drug abuse and addiction.
Addiction is also a type of disease. such as heart disease.
They disrupt the normal functioning of basic organs, have serious consequences, and can be prevented and treated, but can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Working in partnership with Harvard Medical School, addiction is defined as a “chronic disease” that causes changes in “both the structure and function of the brain”.
Just as heart disease damages the heart, diabetes damages the pancreas, so any type of addiction controls the brain. This happens because a whole range of changes takes place in the brain, starting with the recognition of pleasure and ending with repeated behaviors.
How and why does addiction occur?
The environment is a very important factor in the initiation of addiction, but the biological causes of addiction are given little weight in relation to its actual role.
According to biological psychologists, genetic abnormalities are more responsible for pushing some people towards addiction and doctors also agree with this.
Yes, some people are biologically more prone to addiction. The prefrontal cortex plays an important role in this. It is mostly seen that people who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, Behavioral Problems, Pimples Control, and who have a passion for adventure or a tendency to worry. Such people can quickly become addicted to drugs.
It is possible that some people are more prone to addiction because they get less pleasure from natural sources – such as their work, friendships, and romantic relationships. Perhaps this may explain why they are thrill-seekers or “thirsts for a catalyst”.
Over-sensitivity to drugs in a person is 40-60 percent depending on genetic reasons.
In addition, the presence of mental health problems and a young age further increase the risk of addiction.
Why is every person addicted to different things.?
These may include peer pressure, a strong desire to take drugs, the desire to perform better or to feel better.
Broadly speaking, there can be two types of reasons that lead to addiction:
Environment: This may include social environment, family background, peer pressure.
Biological: There may be genetic makeup, age, and even gender and ethnicity.
stages of addiction
A tremendous yearning is found in addiction, and this yearning has to be fulfilled by going beyond its limits, due to which a person becomes completely dependent on that thing. Coming in contact with that thing, the brain releases the ‘feel-good hormone dopamine. In addition, over time, dopamine ceases to be released on any other activity that previously provided pleasure.
The result of this is that the person becomes completely dependent on his addiction to get pleasure. As if this is not enough. Over time, the same amount of intoxicant stops releasing the same amount of dopamine as it used to release. This is called tolerance.
Due to this tolerance, it becomes necessary to increase the amount of intoxication to get the same pleasure as before. The effect of the drug on the person decreases, but the desire to attain the initial level of pleasure remains.
Dr Sameer Malhotra, Psychiatrist at Max Hospital, summarizing addiction, says, the use of the term dependency in psychotherapy includes the following:
- Use more than prescribed quantities.
- Initiation of addiction and loss of control over its quantity.
- Ignoring other priorities because of its excessive use.
- The same quantity does not give the same pleasure, so its use increases with time.
- There is an interruption in everyday functioning and the biological rhythm of life is disturbed, including the time of sleep and wakefulness.
- Anxiety at not getting the drug.
What after addiction?
Even for a person who has recovered from addiction, it is very easy to return to the same path. The yearning that first brought him to this swamp has the power to turn back again.
Memories and adaptations associated with that era can add to it. For example, something related to that period of addiction—a credit card with which he was a shopping addict or, in the case of alcohol, a glass of wine—could trigger a relapse after several years of abstinence.
Dr Malhotra says that all addictions, whether it involves taking drugs or any other activity like shopping, are the same in principle.
There are subjective differences in patterns or manifestations and differences associated with the drug, yet changes in basic biological mechanisms remain the same.
Proper medical treatment needs to be done in the same way as treatment.
Addiction should be seen as a chronic and progressive disease. Chronic because once a person is addicted to something, there is always a possibility of getting addicted again
And ‘progressive’ means progressive because if it is not treated then this addiction will increase.
Scientists also say that if a person gives up addiction and spends five years properly, then his chances of becoming a victim of addiction again decrease.
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