When we see images or storylines around addiction in the media, people are often shown negatively – but that isn’t the case. Anyone can become addicted to something and experiencing addiction does not make you a bad person.
And it’s not just substances that we can become addicted do. We can become addicted to anything – shopping, sex, coffee, sugar, the list is endless and not limited to alcohol and drugs. Addiction is defined as a compulsion to use a substance, or perform a certain behaviour in order to feel good or avoid feeling bad. Addictions come into two categories, physical and psychological.
Physical addiction happens when you continually use a substance until your body is no longer able to function without it. Changes in your body chemistry create a hunger for the substance that you feel you must continue feeding. When you don’t use this substance, you may suffer symptoms of withdrawal, such as body aches, nausea, mood swings and more.
Psychological addiction is when your brain gets hooked on a substance or behaviour because it makes you feel a certain way. This is an emotional or mental attachment and without the substance or behaviour, your emotions may spiral.
Anyone can become addicted to something, but there are often triggers which make us more susceptible. These may include trauma, abuse, stress, self-esteem issues, or difficulty at school or work. One misconception is that all addictions are severe, however you can have a mild addiction.