What is the meaning of Addiction?
An addiction, broadly speaking is a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance such as heroin, nicotine,or alcohol.
It is characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Broadly speaking, it’s a persistent compulsive use of a substance, known by the user to be harmful.
In this book, we will include behaviors that are indulged in compulsively,that are known to cause harm.
Examples of these might be binging (food),overspending, anger; in fact, any behavior that is harmful and over which the user has no apparent control.
There’s a great definition in a book by Gerald G. May called Addiction and Grace. He says that addiction is any “compulsive habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire. It is caused by attachment, or nailing of desire to specific objects.”
Dr. May also declares that action is essential to addiction. In other words, the person needs to act on his attachment.
For example, an addict using cocaine may experience the desire to escape the situation by getting high, but unless he actually acts on the desire, he is not behaving or acting out his addiction.
Dr. May also includes thinking as a behavior or a “doing,” and he claims that certain feeling-states can become objects of attachment.
Examples may be anger, that can give the addict a feeling of power, and bliss that ignores reality(rose-colored glasses). Any emotion that gives the feeling of well-being can be addictive. When trying to attain these feeling- states at all costs,we’re no longer free.
Who Is An Addict?
In general, an addict is someone either with a psychological or a physical dependence to something that he or she is unable to stop, despite the negative consequences.
Some addictions like drug or alcohol addiction can even lead to death.
Food addiction is currentlybecoming a more dangerous addiction, especially in the United States. Statistics are showing an increasing problem with obesity, with life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart-attacks and stroke.
In more recent years, compulsive behaviors like gambling, sex and “retail therapy” have also fallen under the banner of addiction in cases where the behaviors become uncontrollable by the affected person.
How Do I Know If I’m Addicted?
A good way is to go back again to Dr.May’s definition. There are actually five criteria that can help you see if you’re addicted.
The tolerance to the substance of abuse increases. In other words, it takes more and more indulgence in the addiction to reach the same level of satisfaction.
The person suffers in some way or experiences dis-ease when the substance or behavior is removed or denied.
The mind deceives the addict with obsessive thoughts about the substance as well as about reality. The thinking then becomes a problem, and it’s frequently called “DENIAL,” an inability or unwillingness to face the truth or reality of the situation.
4. Loss Of Will Power
One part of the addict really wants to be free and realizes there might be a problem, but a bigger part is held captive by the addiction.
5. Distortion Of Attention
All the attention and energy is focused on how to find the next fix or act out the next behavior.
Analyzing the behavior against these five criteria can be a simple way to find out if, in fact, either the substance or the behavior is a problem.