Saturday, April 1, 2017

Addiction Is...

Today is the first day of the April Blogging Challenge. Are you excited? Today is the letter A. My posts throughout April will be about Addiction and Recovery. Today my post is called, Addiction is...

What is an addiction? Who can be affected?

Ask anyone going through addiction or those who love someone suffering from addiction and we will tell you, it is pure hell.

Many of us really do not understand what addiction is. In searching the Internet the search engines will come up with a lot of
information on what addiction is, but sometimes reading about it feels like I almost need to have a degree in words I cannot understand. Why do they talk in scientific language? I want to know what it is in words I can understand. Don't you?

Now, if you are living this addiction yourself, or with someone you love, you can think of many words to express that relates to addiction. So, just what is an addiction anyway?

There are so many addictions but this month you will read a lot about heroin and opiate addiction. Addiction especially to heroin is something that many of us wish we never knew anything about.

So, just what is an addiction anyway?

Webster says addiction is being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs).

This definition sounds pretty vague in description.

Wikipedia has this to say about addiction Like I said, often the words and terms are hard to understand.

The NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse says this:

"When people who use drugs can't stop taking a drug even if they want to, it's called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm. When people start taking drugs, they don't plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug. However, drugs change the brain. Those who use drugs start to need the drug just to feel normal. That is an addiction, and it can quickly take over a person's life.
Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person's life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy.

A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lying, stealing or hurting people—to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested. Addiction is a brain disease. Drugs change how the brain works. These brain changes can last for a long time. They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.

Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young."

Addiction has already been defined as a brain disorder and not a behavioral issue, a family problem or a social disorder as the stigma and society once led us to believe. As early as 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine changed the way it should be looked at. Society and stigma still continue to see it as a social disorder. Unless you are directly affected by this, why would you care to see this as a disease of the brain?

If addiction were any other disease or disorder Americans would be calling for more scientific studies, more patient trials, more telethons to raise awareness and money for the cause. Instead, more and more Americans use it as a punchline to a joke. Or on social media when they believe the state has used enough money towards addiction. Or when they say the nastiest things to a family who has just lost a loved one to this disease.

It is time to end the stigma and stop the shame.

Who is affected?

Everyone even if you think you aren't affected by this, you are. When it ravages your community like it has here you can no longer say it isn't in your backyard. They are dying in the backyards all across town. Figures state that 29 Million Americans are affected by addiction. Another 85 Million Americans are just like my family. We love someone suffering from addiction to dangerous drugs and substances.

The term junkie used to be used to describe those addicted to heroin. Some still use that slang. Personally, I hate the word. No one reading this post right now is immune to its power.

If you have a problem with drugs or you love someone addicted to drugs don't try to do everything on your own. Visit my page at ASK FOR HELP for more information.

Sound Off 

I am wondering about your opinion. Opinions mean a lot and they do count. After reading, Do you think addiction is a disease? 

Do you think that addiction is a disease? free polls
I will reveal the answer later in another post after the April Blog Challenge

Throughout this month I will be sharing highlights of many of the groups locally and more in much more detail and taking a candid look at the work they are doing for our area.

Do you feel this best describes what addiction is? How would you describe the word, addiction? Are you affected in some way by the disease of addiction? Do you know someone who suffers from an addiction?

Thank you for reading. If you have a question or comment, please feel free to leave it below in the comment section. I hope you return on Monday to read a very special post about a local group here in the fight against heroin and addiction from the WV Chapter of Bikers Against Heroin. 

If you are looking for more interesting blogs to read stop by the April A-Z Blog Challenge for the letter A to find a lot of interesting topics. 

Credits and Information for this post found @
American Society of Addiction Medicine (pdf read only)
NBC: Addiction is a Brain Disorder
NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse
pic found @ paradigimalibu
Letter pic Blogging A-Z
This post: © 2017 Gossip Girl


  1. Following the link about how addiction is now classified as a brain disorder rather than behavioral issue, I'm inclined to agree with it. "But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions." I heard a long time ago that some people are "wired" to become addicts, for lack of a better term. Meaning they have addictive-prone personalities and are more likely to become addicted to something, whether drugs/alcohol/gambling/whatever. The article seems to bolster that theory, which previously I hadn't known if it was true or not. I find it encouraging if it is. If it can be classified as a neurological disorder, perhaps better treatments can be developed.

    1. Sara thanks for stopping by and reading today. I apologize that today's post was lengthy. I had started a post Ask For Help (Letter A) and this one, Addiction Is I decided to combine the two posts.
      So much info is out there, but yet so many disagree with the new information. There is still so much I could say about addiction. After A-Z I have a few drafts from last year to finish on the subject. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, porn, sex (etc) all tease the brain centers and cause and cause pleasure. Each addiction triggers different parts of the brain, but with the same intent. For instance drugs and alcohol affect the frontal lobe and trigger dopamine a natural chemical in the brain to over sensitize. Once it repeatedly happens the brain becomes dependent on it.
      Now, in heroin addiction I often wonder about other things for instance what is known as cotton fever. Cotton fever happens among needle users. They pull the heroin up through a cotton ball. Little fibers get into the syringe which is then injected into the blood stream. Once there a body doesn't have a way of really getting rid of the foreign material so it can cause a fever. I only know of it to be cotton fever. Maybe that is the term used among those who are heroin addicted. I actually think this could be something that my own son is dealing with which seems to us as just brain damage. IDK. Anyway sorry to ramble on about it. Thank you for reading my post today.

  2. Interesting. Addiction is terrible, destroys the person and their families. My ex was a alcoholic - I am a proud Alanon. So glad you got out. One year, my family lost 3 young people to addiction - accidental overdoses. 2 were in the same day, lived many states apart.

    My theme this year, is about Baby boomers and the baby boom years we grew up in. Grab some cookies and milk, and come on over. Atomic Bombs


    1. Debby Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I wish I could say that I got out. I wish I were not here. Sadly this is something that affects my family and on a daily basis.
      I am sorry to hear about your family losing to overdoses. So many have been lost in their fight. That is why we continue to stay in this fight. I used to say "until there were none" I actually don't know if that will ever happen. Thank you for sharing. Yes indeed will stop by your blog.

  3. It certainly affects the brain and judgement. Puts the addict in a vicious cycle that's hard to break.

    1. Hi Alex- Long time no speak. Yes you are spot on. Heroin has "hooks". One time is normally all it takes with heroin and it can either hook you and eventually kill you or kill you just using once. If it doesn't yes, it is a vicious cycle of use and abuse. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

  4. Kudos to you for tackling this difficult topic. Looking forward to the rest of your series.

    1. Deborah thank you for stopping by and reading my post today. I have a month of exciting posts hoping you stop back by to read.

  5. Never easy. Always fighting. Keep moving forward.

    Co-Host, 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

    1. Heather The addiction to heroin is something I wish I didn't know nothing about. Sadly I cannot say that. My goal this month with the A-Z Challenge is to blog about community, Hope, Healing, Recovery and public awareness to this crisis. Thank you for stopping by and reading.

  6. Keeping all of you in my's a huge challenge to overcome additions

    1. Beth Thank you. It is a challenge our loved ones fight daily- active user and those in recovery. Thank you for stopping by and reading.