What is addiction?
Addiction is the habitual, frequent and uncontrollable act that involves the use of alcohol, drugs and/or centers around a certain behavior. Typically, two symptoms must be present to constitute an addiction.
- The behavior is counterproductive and harmful.
- The behavior is a constant.
Addiction differs from obsessive-compulsive traits in that an addiction centers on deriving and anticipating pleasure. An obsessive-compulsive disorder stems from compulsion and relief. There may be a fine line between the two and only a licensed therapist is able to make a diagnosis.
Addiction affects not only the person who suffers from the addiction, but also the people that surround him/her. An addict may blame other people or outside circumstances for his/her detrimental behavior. Often time’s addiction is the result of a person feeling there is no escape or better way to cope with the issues he/she is experiencing. When someone feels that addiction is the best means of coping with an issue – e.g., child abuse, a family member’s death, trauma, etc. – it is because the addiction allows him/her to escape reality, distracting him/her from the deep-rooted issues he/she is avoiding.
There are several different types of addiction, including, but not limited to:
- Alcohol Dependency – Can the person stop drinking if he/she wants to?
- Drug Dependency – This includes illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and legal drugs, such as painkillers.
- Compulsive Behaviors – This includes gambling, video game addiction, shopping, exercising, sex addictions and overeating.
Additionally, addiction effects many people but requires three types of central figures:
- Victims – Those people that wallow in constant self-pity.
- Enablers – Always provide excuses for the addict.
- Persecutors – Put the addict in defense mode, which makes him/her seek out a method for relieving the pain.
Since addiction rarely involves treating a single individual, but requires family members and friends to receive treatment to stop the victim, enabler and persecutor cycle, it is important to seek the advice and guidance of a professional licensed therapist or counselor.
There are varieties of therapies someone can consider, especially in the state of Utah. This includes visiting a Utah substance abuse counselor, family counseling in Utah and even couples counseling in Utah. Working with a licensed professional will help someone forge a path that leads towards recovery.