How Do You Know If A Person Suffers From An Addiction?


We know that addictions are a delicate issue in society. People who suffer from them have many stereotypes and prejudices associated with them. When we think of a person with addiction, a starving person, poorly groomed, with neglected aesthetics and few financial resources may come to mind

We usually imagine them with needles in their arms, and lying in banks, or even stealing to get money. Furthermore, movies and series can contribute to perpetuating these stereotypes. Generally, these people generate rejection or fear in us, and we tend to avoid them, which generates more exclusion and social isolation for them.

However, not all people who deal with addiction meet these characteristics. There are many people who suffer from addiction and have many economic resources and a high social status, others with addictions that go unnoticed, and others whose addiction is not related to consuming a substance

If you are reading this article, perhaps lately you are worried about someone in your immediate environment, or even worried about some actions that you do yourself and you don’t understand why. In this article we will give some keys and characteristics about what an addiction is and how to know if a person suffers from an addiction, whether it is yourself or another person.

What is an addiction?

Addiction is a physical and mental illness that affects a person’s behavior, thinking, emotions and physiology, and creates the inability to control their behavior Unfortunately, this disease is chronic and relapsing, that is, periods of consumption alternate with periods of abstinence.

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Even if a person with addiction has been rehabilitated and has not carried out the addiction for many years, they should always be especially careful, because they already have a vulnerability to resuming it. Therefore, it is important that both the person and the environment are aware of this and support their efforts not to consume.

We can distinguish two types of addictions: with substance and without substance The best known are substance addictions: they are those that lead to repeated consumption of a substance. This substance has addictive properties and stopping its consumption generates what we commonly call “mono”, that is, the withdrawal syndrome.

As they are chemical substances, they generate permanent neurochemical changes in the brain that can cause mental disorders and deficits, the severity of which varies depending on the amount and age at which consumption begins. The most common addictive substances are alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. It is also important to consider stronger drugs (cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens…), drugs (opioids such as fentanyl or sedatives such as benzodiazepines), caffeine, sugar or gases from volatile substances.

On the other hand, in substanceless addictions, addiction to a certain behavior or action develops. This action generates a series of pleasant neurochemicals in the body, similar to those produced by drug addiction, which are what get you hooked and you want to feel again and again. Some examples are pathological gambling (the only one recognized by the DSM-5), compulsive shopping, addiction to the Internet, video games, sex, exercise or work


How do you know if a person suffers from an addiction?

Addictions are a biopsychosocial problem, so biological, psychological and social symptoms are shown. We are going to describe the most important manifestations so that you can identify if a person suffers from an addiction. First, there is an intense desire or compulsion to carry out the addictive behavior or consumption. This desire is magnified when there is no possibility of satisfying it, causing discomfort and mood disturbance.

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Furthermore, compulsion leads to a deterioration in the ability to control behavior or consumption. This lack of control entails the repetition of the addictive action in higher quantities or for a longer time than expected, despite knowledge of the serious consequences of the behavior It also means that attempts to quit or control consumption fail.

This uncontrollable desire involves investing a lot of time in the activities and planning necessary to carry out the addictive behavior, as well as being able to recover from the consequences. It even means failing to comply with fundamental work, academic or personal duties; and abandon important activities at the discretion of the person themselves. This leads to professional, economic, academic, social and intrapersonal psychological problems.

Not only that, but it can endanger your own physical integrity, both because of the substance itself and because of the behaviors you engage in to obtain consumption. They can become violent and engage in criminal behavior, such as stealing money from family and friends to buy the substance or betting on games of chance In this way, they come to transgress their own personal values, the law and morals, and their social environment is affected by their addiction and the resulting behaviors.

Finally, and unfortunately, the person with the addiction ends up developing tolerance to the substance or action, and sometimes withdrawal syndrome. This is reflected in the fact that it is necessary to consume increasingly larger quantities or for a longer time to achieve the desired effect or the same effects that were achieved at the beginning of the addiction. Furthermore, consumption will be more motivated by the idea of ​​reducing the discomfort caused by abstinence than by the enjoyment of the addictive action itself.

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Remember that the opinion of a professional is more important

This article is not a substitute for a diagnosis by a health professional. Only general characteristics are described and we do not analyze the behavior of a specific person. We recommend that you go to a specialist to find out if a person suffers from an addiction, as they will be able to offer you treatment applied to the person.

Try not to let the fear of asking for help stop you because of stereotypes and the consequences of being identified as a person with addiction. Your life or that of the person who suspects that they suffer from addiction is much more important than what others may think or social status Addiction can be a very serious disease with terrible consequences if it is not treated in time.

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