What is Addiction?
As long as humans have existed so has addiction. Some of the earliest descriptions of addiction come from the Greeks as well as the Bible. However, addiction to alcohol, drugs and certain behaviors such as eating, gambling, sex, etc. has become a silent epidemic in our modern society. How do people become addicted to alcohol, drugs and other behavioral excesses in life?
Many times people incorrectly believe that those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs or certain behaviors are either lacking in moral values or willpower ……..assuming that they could simply choose to change their addictive behaviors. Nothing can be further from truth..!!!
The fact is that like so many other illnesses (asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) addiction is a chronic disease that affects one of the most important organs of the human body, the brain, and shows symptoms in the form of repetitive compulsive behaviors even in the face of dangerous and destructive consequences.
It’s true that initial engagement in addictive behaviors is under voluntary control for the most part but over time the changes that occur in an addict’s brain can make it more and more challenging to exercise self-control in resisting the powerful impulses to reengage in those same addictive behaviors.
Addiction is a complex disease which is known for its intense and, often, overpowering urges to repeatedly engage in alcohol and substance abuse and other maladaptive behaviors which stubbornly persist despite potentially devastating results………… Addiction is a disease which involves many brain areas especially those involved in pleasure, reward, gratification, learning, memory, and ability to exercise control over certain behaviors.
For the most part, the problem of addiction goes untreated. US Government surveys tell us that in 2007 almost 24 million individuals (about 10% of the total population) needed addiction treatment for alcohol or substance abuse. However, only 2.4 million (10%) of these 24 million individuals actually received treatment for their addictive disorders. Put another way, more than 90% of the individuals who needed treatment for their addiction problem never received any..!! ..And, unfortunately, the story is no different for the years prior to or since 2007.
So, if you or one of your loved ones struggle with addiction problem, you are not alone, as there are millions just like yourself….the only thing that matters is whether you or your loved one will continue the course of self-destructive addictive behaviors or be among those lucky ones who chose the path to addiction rehab and recovery with a life of sustained abstinence, health, happiness, fulfillment and joy….we definitely hope it’s the latter..!!