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Addiction

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Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a complex challenge faced by many, yet help is available. At its essence, addiction is characterised by a compulsion so strong that one loses control, leading to potential harm to one's well-being.

Diverse Faces of Addiction

While substances like alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes often spring to mind when discussing addiction, the scope is much wider:

- Work: Some become so absorbed in their professions that they neglect personal relationships and self-care. Constant work without breaks might be indicative of work addiction.

- Internet Usage: The rise of digital devices has ushered in concerns about internet and gaming addictions, characterised by neglecting real-life duties and relationships.

- Solvent Inhalation: Inhalation of volatile substances like glue or aerosols can induce euphoria but bring grave health dangers.

- Compulsive Shopping: Buying items impulsively for a temporary thrill can lead to subsequent regret and guilt.

Additionally, some individuals struggle with issues like food addiction. The roots of addiction are multifaceted, entwining genetic, environmental, and psychological components.

Decoding the Neurobiology of Addiction

Addictive behaviours often share neural patterns. They stimulate the brain's reward systems, especially via dopamine. Over time, this intense stimulation can reshape the prefrontal cortex, focusing the mind overwhelmingly on addiction-associated cues. Thankfully, these neural shifts are reversible upon cessation.

 

Moreover, substance misuse and compulsive gambling may coincide with mental health disorders like depression. Both utilise similar brain circuits and can benefit from analogous treatments.

 

Substance and gambling disorders are intricate, affecting the brain's reward, motivation, and memory. Key characteristics include reduced impulse control, societal repercussions like deteriorating relationships, and compelling cravings. Continued indulgence can disrupt personal, professional, or academic spheres.

 

A defining trait of addiction is its persistent nature, with individuals often pursuing it despite adverse consequences. Over time, higher quantities of the substance may be needed to achieve the same euphoric effects, showcasing increased tolerance.

 

The brain's executive functions, based in the prefrontal cortex, can be impaired due to addiction, making one less aware of their actions' repercussions. The chase for euphoria can eclipse other life priorities.

The Path to Recovery

It's essential to realise that addiction can bring about feelings of despair, shame, and guilt. Yet, it's uplifting to note that many recover from addiction. Recovery avenues vary: some outgrow it, others find strength in communities, and some opt for professional therapies.

 

At Live Life Happy Therapy,  I am committed to supporting you on your path to liberation. Through counselling, psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and hypnotherapy, I help guide you into taking back control. Recovery can be a lengthy process, and relapses can occur. However, they're not a mark of failure but a part of the healing journey. With dedication and support, you can regain control over your life.

References

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction - Drug Misuse and Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Available at: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-misuse-addiction [Accessed 9 Oct. 2023].

 

NHS. (2021). Addiction: what is it? NHS Live Well. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/addiction-support/addiction-what-is-it/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2023].

 

National Institutes of Health. (2015). The Biology of Addiction. News in Health. Available at: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction [Accessed 9 Oct. 2023].

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