For a long time, addiction has been seen as something which only affects the weak willed. However, this is not the case. Addiction is a chronic brain disease which is usually caused by other factors such as mental health problems, genetics, or childhood trauma. Addiction affects your behaviour, making you compulsively seek-out substances or addictive behaviours. It also changes your brain chemistry so that you experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction is broken down into two primary types, substance use disorders (drug addiction) & behavioural addictions.
Common Substance Use Disorders in the UK include:
- Alcohol Addiction
- Cocaine Addiction
- Opiate Addiction (including heroin addiction)
- Benzodiazepine Addiction
- Cannabis Addiction
- Meth Addiction (including crystal meth)
- Ketamine Addiction
Common forms of behavioural addictions include:
- Gambling Addiction
- Sex Addiction
- Porn Addiction
- Gaming Addiction
- Internet Addiction (including social media)
Who Is Affected By Addiction?
Addiction and the abuse of substances has many detrimental effects on the body, mind, and the wider community as a whole. Addiction hurts family units and damages workplace performance, and costs the NHS billions of pounds every year due to injuries, organ damage and mental health issues.
Addiction is often viewed as a generational illness and has a serious impact on child development and future prospects. Children raised by addict parents are far more likely to develop substance abuse issues later in life, unless early interventions are sought.
Pregnant mothers who abuse substances including alcohol are at greater risk of developing complications, such as child development issues (foetal alcohol syndrome), or giving birth to a stillborn. Furthermore, alcohol and substances such as opiates are absorbed by the unborn child, putting them at risk of developing a dependence pre-birth.
Another risk group are those with pre-existing mental health disorders such as depression or ADHD, a condition known as dual diagnosis.
In any event, addiction is an illness that will hold you or a loved one back from living a fulfilled life. Addiction ruins lives, not only for the addict, but those who love them the most.