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Addiction – How Does It Happen?

Addiction is most often defined by a compulsive psychological and/or physical dependency or obsession to anything. Many people tend to associate addiction with drug and alcohol dependency. However, addiction is often seen throughout an array of varying substances, activities and objects. Regardless of the focus, addiction is always an unhealthy obsession.


Addiction can occur over a lifetime or overnight. For some people, it occurs quickly –  while for others, the progression is slow. Addiction typically begins following an extreme sense of euphoria, relief, or contentment. Whether the focus is drugs, sex, shopping or the internet, the addict will continue engaging in the activity to achieve the high on a repeat basis.


Dependency is seen in both psychological and physical forms. Examining the symptom types experienced during the withdrawal process can help in determining which dependency type you are dealing with. Physical dependency is typically found in addicts engaged in the abuse of substances, such as alcohol opiates, nicotine or amphetamines. During the withdrawal period, these substances alter the user’s physical appearance. A psychological dependency can result in effects ranging from violent behaviors to mood swings and depression. Eating, self-mutilation, gambling, and sexual addiction are typically categorized as psychological dependencies.


Most experts cater to a belief in addiction cycles. The first step in the cycle is a feeling of intense euphoria. Following this, addicts may experience a lost sense of control. They will feel as though the addiction has taken over, and dictates their every decision. Craving is the third step in the cycle. To appease these cravings, addicts must take part in the fourth cycle step – use. The fifth and final step in the cycle finds the addict with a belief that their life has become repetitive and predictable. It is during this stage that the addict may begin considering recovery options.

Warning Signs

Diagnosing an addiction is much easier than the fight to overcome it. Specific changes in appearance and mood are simple exterior giveaways. Volatile mood swings are yet another common warning sign.


Scientists have been able to determine a heightened risk in certain individuals for addiction development. Four basic categories are typically used when attempting to assess an individual’s predisposition: mental, physical, social and emotional. The mental factor pertains to individuals suffering from mental illness or low self-esteem. The physical factor is genetics. Emotional factors include individuals who have dealt with depressive situations, such as the death of a loved one or childhood abuse. Social refers to people that associate themselves within groups where drugs or readily available.


If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance addiction, out Above It All drug rehab counselors are available to help! Give us a call today and let our team help you back on track towards the happy, healthy, and fulfilling lifestyle you deserve.

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