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This article has been written to give general background information about Addiction. Additional information can be accessed from web site links shown below. Cyprus Samaritans can help by listening in confidence to anyone affected directly or indirectly by Addiction.
The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive physical or psychological dependence, such as , alcoholism, Internet addiction, money, work addiction, compulsive eating, gambling, psycho-
The term "addiction" was used almost exclusively for substance addiction/misuse, namely people who were very dependent on prescriptive or illegal drugs, nicotine, or alcohol. That form of addiction is now known as "substance addiction/abuse".
Experts also recognize that people can become addicted to certain behaviour. Some individuals may develop a dependence on gambling, shopping, sexual activity, eating, or many other activities.
Addictions cause enormous personal harm not only to the addict, but distress to their families and friends as well.
People who become addicted to drugs may develop any number of health problems. They may also experience personality changes and lose the ability to interact with other people socially.
Addiction is also responsible for a host of social problems, because many addictions are expensive, addicts may turn to crime in order to fund their addiction.
Addiction is a very complex behaviour. Experts have been trying to understand its causes for many years. At one time, moral weakness was accepted as the primary reason for addiction; nevertheless, health professionals no longer accept this theory.
Presently, researchers understand that a variety of factors can contribute to making a person an addict. Many events in a person's background may lead him or her to begin using addictive substances, some of these events include:
Addictions grow stronger over time. A person's body may become biologically dependent on the substance or behaviour.
People can also become psychologically addicted to substances and activities. That is,the substance or activity makes them feel happy, more self-
In order to keep experiencing these feelings, they believe they must continue to use the substance or activity that gave them these feelings. In this case, a person is said to be psychologically dependent.
In many cases, addictions involve both physiological and psychological aspects.
All forms of addictions have some common symptoms, including:
Diagnosis of an addiction may be made by a medical doctor or by a mental health professional.
Often, people go for help because they feel they can no longer deal with their addictive behaviour by themselves.
Sometimes family or friends intervene and bring the person for diagnosis and treatment.
In some cases, individuals are brought to the attention of professionals because of legal problems related to their addiction.
There are many treatments available for people who suffer from addiction.
These treatments are designed to deal with one or both forms of addiction: physiological and psychological. For example, people who are addicted to certain substances must often go through withdrawal therapy.
Withdrawal therapy involves placing patients in rehabilitation centers where they have no access to the substance to which they are addicted. Withdrawal therapy can be very difficult.Medications are also available for treating some addictions, the best known is Methadone.
Talking therapies (psychotherapy or counselling) are also used to treat addictions. The theory behind therapy is that people become addicts because of serious problems in their lives. If those problems can be resolved, they may be less inclined to depend on addictive substances or behaviour.
Group counselling is another option. Perhaps the best-
The prognosis for addictions is varied. Many factors are involved in determining whether a person can recover from an addiction, including:
Importantly however, recovery is likely to be partial and temporary unless underlying issues that led to the addiction have been resolved.
Dr Vasilios Silivistris DipSup DipComp BA MA FRSH MBACP PhD
www.ektepn.org.cy (Site in Greek and English)
www.talktofrank.com (General information about Drugs)
Cyprus Samaritans does not operate or control these sites and is not responsible for any of their content. The existence of these links does not constitute an endorsement of the websites, nor the views expressed in them. Your linking to these sites is entirely at your own risk.
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