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.
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.
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 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
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