General Question

flo's avatar

What is an addiction?

Asked by flo (10582points) February 18th, 2013

Let’s keep it addiction to alcohol, or fast food, & drugs just to make it simple. Some define it as succumbing to having the thing, no matter how frequently or infrequently. That is if your brain is saying you shouldn’t do it, you don’t go with your brain, it is addiction. And some say it is only it interferes with your daily life, if you’re about to lose your job or in that vicinity. Which is right?

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46 Answers

alexagurl's avatar

An addiction is something one cant stop.It is not easy to hold back on say a smoke or drink, its something they are used to that they crave, something they need.Its basically a need that you are so used to that it comes naturally, almost as if you need it.But you dont really you just want it.

zenvelo's avatar

There are two types of addiction and they overlap.

There is the emotional addiction, which is the inability to control using something. An alcoholic cannot control his drinking on his own. A food addict cannot control their eating on their own.

There is also physical addiction, which is when a substance causes physical dependence in addition to the emotional addiction. Substances like nicotine, heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine also cause physical changes that make the addict physically crave the drug. Late stage alcoholics also have physical dependence.

fremen_warrior's avatar

It’s anything that makes you put the really important things in your life on hold, to get your fix NOW.

marinelife's avatar

It is an undeniable craving for something that overcomes your will, your reason and your good sense.

burntbonez's avatar

I think the notion of being out of control is part of it. If you could control it, it wouldn’t be an addiction.

Unbroken's avatar

Well what if you are able to abstain indefinitely but once you have a certain amount of it you can’t stop. Probably alcoholics or drugs for this one.

Or you can abstain until you are in the vicinity of someone else partaking. And then you can’t control your urge probably pertains to all forms listed above.

I would submit that it is a form of addiction. Maybe emotional or psychological but a limited form.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You control it, not an addiction. It controls you addiction.

rojo's avatar

I agree with @Adirondackwannabe. That is about as succinct as you can get.

Unbroken's avatar

Men, sigh. Succinct has it’s place but when exploring an issue you don’t roll over the nuances. : )

rooeytoo's avatar

AA says that alcoholism is a mental, physical and spiritiual disease. That seems to be true in most cases.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@rosehips I don’t do nuances unless it’s a real special lady. You’d qualify.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Addiction is uncontrollable and irresistable, even if it causes you to lie, cheat, steal, etc… I have known and still know addicts of many kinds and it’s very very sad, but they simply have no control over themselves in the case of their brand of addiction.

Alchoholics can’t stop drinking, pill heads do anything for pills, meth heads will rob their own grandmother’s for drug money, it’s horrible. If you ever need to talk, please feel free to PM anytime.

flo's avatar

I agree with everyone except with @rosehips. Sometimes nuance is about In the Nile .

…no matter how frequently or infrequently. is the key phrase in my OP. I mean someone was insisting “since I only one glass of an alcoholic drink a day, I can’t be addicted”. And people around the person are saying “if you have to have it, you are addicted. And the reason it came up at all was that he was doing things like driving etc. No need to wait until you get all the way down to to where it is noticable to other people or _“rob your own own grandmother’s…” to quote @KNOWITALL

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flo It quite literally happens so much here in Missouri, family robbing family and friends, for meth money, it’s horrible. Family services calls because mom and grandma are tweaking on the roof while the kids are running in dirty diapers, it’s a very sad problem.

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL That is horrible. What is the law re. advertisement for alcohol for by the way?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flo What do you mean, the law regarding advertisement for alcohol? In Missouri specifically or just for radio? For radio there isn’t any issues, I believe on tv they can’t show you drinking a beer or anything, but I’m not positive.

JLeslie's avatar

MO is such a big state, are you sure you want to generalize like that?

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL I mean in Missouri, where would you see any ad for alcohol? I know the magazines have them just about in anywhere, I think but where else? On TV it is not allowed, across the board I think. (Edited out)

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Just how you wrote it happens so much in MO. All over MO? Actually, I would say it probably happens all over the US, more in some pockets of the country than the other, so I will expand the generalization. Ignore what I said, it just seemed for a second there you were making MO sound worse than most, and I doubt that is the case.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie In all reality it is pretty widespread. We pretty much lead the nation unfortunately.

JLeslie's avatar

Well what you know. I stand corrected. But, that article is talking about meth, probably other states it is alcohol. Other places crack. Addiction is a nightmare.

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL “For radio there isn’t any issues,” meaning it is not a controversy because the people don’t have a problem with ads on radio, or they makers of alcohol wouldn’t try to advertise on the radio so there is no issue?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flo I don’t recall any issues with alcohol advertising in the last decade, they place it, we air it. And yes, they do buy radio. We’re the home of Anheuser-Busch, we’d get run out if we didn’t let them on-air!!!

Politicals are very difficult, you wouldn’t believe the paperwork!

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL Interesting.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The only thing that gets questionable are politicals or commercials that have cuss words or are too dirty. Then we run them by the Ops Mgr for approval, or the company attorney.

Unbroken's avatar

@flo I wasn’t trying to haggle. I think it is a form of at least gluttony. I have seen people excuse their bad behavoir because it only happens every so often.

I think it actually makes it worse, they have no tolerance. But people are more prone to let it slide because everyone makes mistakes. When the mistakes start every time you partake no matter how little you do its a problem.

flo's avatar

@KNOWITALL That is too bad really.
@rosehips I’m thinking…

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mattbrowne's avatar

Loss of control. Therefore coffee and chocolate don’t cause addictions. Mild withdrawal symptoms as a factor isn’t sufficient to diagnose addiction.

flo's avatar

@mattbrowne it is addiction if I do what I shouldn’t do/what my brain says not to do. That is what losing control is. It doesn’t matter what the substance is.

Unbroken's avatar

@mattbrowne‘s response leads me to wonder at what point want becomes addiction.

Theoretically you start off a habit by wanting to do something recieving some sort of gratification from it. Where is the line between “I am doing this because I want to” and “I am doing this because I am addicted.”?

Isn’t that why the first step of AA is admitting you have problem? But if you are a functional addict that is a place one rarely has to go. Or to get to that point you have to be well over the line.

rooeytoo's avatar

Step ! – We admitted we were powerless over (insert drug of choice) – that our lives had become unmanageable.

mattbrowne's avatar

Exactly, @rooeytoo – Therefore the substance does matter. People can still manage their lives without access to coffee and chocolate. Sure, there might be head aches and nervousness involved, but in general the middle prefrontal cortex remains in charge. Totally different story with an alcohol or meth or gambling addiction. Complete loss of control. Lives become unmanageable. Professional treatment is needed.

flo's avatar

@mattbrowne and @rooeytoo
People can manage without access to coffee and chocolate, but technically I think it is an addiction. Maybe there is a name for addiction to things that are not deadly or dangerous?

And re. alcohol order to be called addiction lives don’t have to get to all the way to unmanageable, get to complete loss of control, need professional treament. By the time the person admits it on her own or other people around her get her to help, it has been an addiction for a while.

“See? it can’t be I’m addicted, my life is not unmanageable, “I can quit anytime, I’m doing it because I want to” I don’t need professional help….” Common lines by addicts.

Some people are more prone to addiction than others, and is there a test for that?

Plus, some people die just from one time use of some drugs.

mattbrowne's avatar

@flo – There’s caffeine habituation, alcohol habituation, and alcohol addiction, but no caffeine addiction.

“Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial.”

flo's avatar

@mattbrowne In my last post,by “Maybe there is a name for addiction to things that are not deadly or dangerous?” I didn’t mean it as if to say: “if there is a different name then that would be different” Whether we call it this or that it is the same thing.

mattbrowne's avatar

@flo – Thanks for the clarification.

flo's avatar

You’re welcome @mattbrowne

So to any addict in denial who might have been following this thread:

A person can’t be:
a non-addict at all one day, and an addict i.e.
“Complete loss of control. Lives become unmanageable. Professional treatment is needed” the next day. It is a gradual decent.

Unbroken's avatar

@flo as pertains to question as directed @mattbrowne a crutch may be applicable or habit.

Heavenlysounds4u's avatar

addiction is so sad to see. I am not really qualified to give a correct answer to this question. Just stay away from what ever it is that might claim your ability to say no to it.

Angelamr's avatar

I truly believe that an addiction is when you mentally cannot stop using what you are addicted to. And because of continued use, your body becomes dependent upon that drug to where you are soon physically addicted and if stopped cold turkey, you can have many uncomfortable symptoms. For example, heroin is extremely addicting. And when used continuously heroin takes place of dopamine in your brain to where your brain stops producing dopamine on its own. When stopped using heroin cold turkey, you have zero dopamine in your brain, and you feel flu like symptoms (vomiting, hot/cold sweats, sensitive skin, etc), anxiety, agitation, and lack of sleep to where you can be up for days hurting.

A lot of people get addiction confused with abuse of a drug. Many people can go through a stage of abuse to where you are using a drug a lot, but not everyday and they don’t have the feeling that they HAVE to use it, but they just like to use it often. These people who abuse drugs can easily realize that they are using it too much and stop without feeling that they have to have the drug or must have it. For example, many young adults in college frequently binge drink during the weekends or frequently during the week as well. This is something that many young adults grow out of once graduated. Hence, the abuse of alcohol, not an addiction.

flo's avatar

Great answer @Angelamr

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