Addiction is a complex brain disease, often making it hard to pin down an exact addiction definition. A person’s dependency on a harmful substance with an inability to cut back or stop usually characterizes addiction. Over a long period, a user may progressively increase his or her use of the substance until it’s in complete command of his or her life.
The Addiction Definition
People suffering from addiction typically know the substance is harming them, but are unable to stop in fear of withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes people underestimate the dangers of addiction and users end up developing a dependency before they even realize it.
According to the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a person with a substance use disorder will display at least two of the following symptoms over a 12-month period:
- Craving or having a strong desire for the substance
- Using more of the substance than initially planned
- Exerting a lot of effort to attain, use, and recover from the substance
- Inability to cut back or quit
- Giving up recreational, social, or occupational endeavors because of substance use
- Failing in major obligations (work, school, etc.) due to substance use
- Failing in relationships due to substance abuse
- Using the substance in physically dangerous situations (e.g. driving)
- Developing a tolerance
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Continuing to use the substance despite negative effects
Anyone exhibiting these symptoms may be struggling with addiction and needs to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
How Does Addiction Happen?
Many people are unaware of the dangers of addiction and can’t determine an addiction definition themselves. Often, people will use a substance once believing it won’t cause them harm. Later, they find themselves struggling with addiction.
Drug use can create euphoric and calming effects on the user, which is often why use persists over a long period time. Users may be abusing drugs for a variety of reasons such as:
- Performing better at work or school
- Experiencing pleasure
- Relieving pain
- Fitting in or succumbing to peer pressure
Drug addiction and mental illness are often closely related, so a user may be using harmful substances to cope with an underlying mental disorder. When seeking the right treatment plan, addressing their mental health will play a key role in recovery.
How Do You Recover From Addiction?
While the addiction definition is murky and complex, recovery doesn’t have to be. There are specialized addiction treatment programs that help users work through their substance use disorders, such as the 12 Step Addiction Recovery process.
Those seeking treatment for substance abuse must begin making major lifestyle changes that will ultimately result in a more sustainable and healthy way of life. Once treatment ends, they’ll have the skills and knowledge to better manage challenges later on in life.
Recovery from addiction is possible with the care of a professional and supportive drug rehab facility. If you or a loved one is having trouble overcoming substance addiction, contact Red Oak Recovery® in Leicester, NC at 866-457-7590 and let us help you regain control of your life.