Addiction may include but not be limited to the addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, internet, shopping, smoking, and video gaming. Addiction can be psychological, physical, or both. Addicts grow tolerant of a behavior or substance which means they need more of it to produce a desired effect.
Effects of Addiction
Addiction can lead to overdose, impaired driving, arrest, loss of relationships, loss of jobs, or contracting a disease. It can have a range of adverse effects on brain, body, and health. Addicts sometimes experience withdrawal when they quit using substances. Withdrawal is a painful physical or emotional reaction an addict experiences when they discontinue using. The emotional and physical aspects of withdrawal can be extremely painful.
Some people struggle through relationships with addicts, which is extremely difficult and destructive. Most addicts are so deeply entrenched in their addiction, they are unable to recognize and accept help. Sometimes people who try to provide support for the addict end up becoming enablers and don’t even realize it. The ugly truth about enablers is that they are only harming their loved one by enabling them.
Risk Factors for Addiction
There are many reasons why some people seem more susceptible to addiction than others. Some people have “addictive personalities,” which is dangerous. These people may be addicted to smoking, drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex, gambling, etc… People with addictive personalities easily become addicted to almost anything. These people over-consume, use, and perform substances and actions that are harmful to their personal and professional lives.
Risk factors for addiction may include a family history of addiction, history of abuse, psychological disorders, etc… Research has proven that alcoholism runs in families, for example. Research has also shown that people who suffer abuse (sexual, mental, physical, or neglect) have a higher propensity for developing an addiction if they fail to receive intervention (counseling, etc…).
Tough love is always more difficult for the enabler than for the addict. Feeling sorry for addicts will not help them. You may need to “let the addict go” before they are able to recover. It is difficult not to fall back into the role of enabler once you have freed yourself, but you must be able to set appropriate boundaries and guidelines to be effective and allow the addict to improve.