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Is Addiction Really a Problem and an Illness or disease?

There are many types of addictions and the number of addicts is increasing every day; this includes alcohol addiction, illegal drugs addiction, overuse of pain relievers without any prescription, and many others which we’ll discuss in other articles. Most people know very little about these addiction and their effects. They do not realize the damage these addictions do to their physical and mental health until it’s too late.

Many people do not consider addiction as a disease. However, recent scientific research has confirmed that addiction is a chronic disease and an illness. This is an illness of brain which is physical in nature, not just psychological. Addiction can damage the brain physically as well as psychologically. Addictions can be life threatening as well like alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in United States.

The recovery from addictions can be made with the help of external support like good books, treatment programs, personal therapies and group therapies etc. In some cases, medicines might also be required if damage to the brain is too much. The treatment options depend upon the stage of the addiction and level of the physical and psychological damage.

There are many factors which can make someone susceptible to addictions. These factors include, but not limited to, genetics, emotional state and environment, psychological factors and social factors etc. With today’s advanced technology, we can see the effects of the addictions on the brain. For example, scientists have visualized the damage to the brain caused by alcohol. The most obvious effect they have noticed is the shrinkage and damage of the brain cells. Alcohol can also disrupt the communication system of the brain.

This damage to the cells can be of different types; for example, if the neurotransmitters in the brain become under-active then they won’t be able to send complete or proper message, or they won’t send messages on time. On the other hand if brain cells and neurotransmitters become overactive, they might start sending too many messages, and even those which do not need to be delivered. This way brain won’t be able to communicate with the system properly, which can disrupt daily life of the addict.

The damage to the brain due to addictions is caused slowly and gradually, so the recovery process also takes time. You cannot just take a pill like you would do for headache or stomach, but you would have to go through the complete process to change your habits, recover from addiction, and repair the physical and psychological damage. And there is always a chance to slide back to the old pattern of habits and additive behavior. That’s why it is important to follow the same steps, or take the actions even after you think you have recovered from addiction. You cannot think it as a one-off process.

In order to overcome your addiction and avoiding slide backs, you need to adopt talking therapies, 12 step program, coping skills, sobering habits, good books. You can even start online therapy for addiction recovery, or some computer based solutions for addiction. You also need to keep reading good books, and good articles which give you hope, confidence, and support.

You can join online communities as well to get support from other people going through the same experiences. However, do not try to find a quick-fix for your addiction. Instead, try to retrain your brain and unlearn the old bad habits which throw you into the addictive behavior. The good news is that, you can rewire your brain to get rid of your addiction, although it takes some time and patience. You need to remain hopeful and have confidence and courage to change. You need to believe in yourself and you’ll be able to get through anything.

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