What is addiction

Addiction is a chronic, and progressive disease. Addiction can be, but is not limited to, an unhealthy dependence on alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medications, food, sexual behaviours, online gaming, gambling or shopping.

To define addiction, one can look at a person’s ability to control or cease use, their level of tolerance, pattern of use and evidence of the symptoms of withdrawal. Addicts are not capable of controlling their use, regardless of the adverse consequences to their legal status, health, personal lives or professional standing. Their inability to control, or cease use is a result of chemical imbalances in the brain. As a result of this imbalance, the addict displays a change in their attitude, actions, and normal behaviours. In addition to an inability to cease use, most addicts develop a tolerance to their drug(s) of choice, and usually have to use more and more over time to achieve the same level of intoxication, relief or result. In addition to developing a tolerance, some addicts will experience the effects of withdrawal when they cease to use the substance. Withdrawal symptoms can be physical or psychological, and can be painful and sometimes life threatening to addicts depending on the stage of their addiction. The patterns of use with a drug can vary from addict to addict. A common misconception is that in order for someone to be addicted, or display addictive behaviours, is that they must use every day if not multiple times a day. There are a lot of addicts out there that use daily, every couple of days, or once a week.

Just as Emphysema or Parkinson’s are progressive diseases, meaning that the symptoms or physical effects worsen over time, so is addiction. If left untreated, progressive diseases can result in serious health issues, organ failure, and even death.. Many factors can contribute to addiction, be it a biological malfunction in the brain or body, psychological issues that coincide with the disease, or social factors such as socioeconomic status, culture, and poverty level.

Addiction is treatable within the medical and therapeutic community

Addiction is treatable within the medical and therapeutic community. When an addict is ready to treat the disease, there are many resources out there to assist in pursuing recovery. As a company, we strongly recommend that every addict pursue participation in the 12 step community, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, to connect with like minded and recovery focused people.

If you feel that someone you know or love may be struggling with addiction, please contact our toll free crisis line for assistance, (800) 386-1695.

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