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ADDICTION: Commoner than you think.

When we hear addiction, the first things that comes to mind are illicit drugs and neurons stimulants like tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, heroine and the likes. Addiction is much more than that.

Addiction can be defined as the psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a substance or a drug or performing an activity despite the fact that it is causing harm. This is usually due to the rewarding effect gotten from the particular action.


1. Substance addiction, illicit drugs and neurostimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, heroine fall under this category, so also does coffee and YES! SUGAR!

Picture of a man addicted to sugar and cereals.
(Image credit: Google Image)

2. Behavioural addiction, where we can be addicted to food and eating, our mobile phones and social media, exercise, gambling, sex, pornography and masturbation and amazingly love and relationships and so on.

Can we see how broad addiction is now?

The physiology of addiction. The mesolimbic dopamine system is thought to be responsible for feelings of wellbeing and pleasure associated with reward and positive reinforcement and so has been linked to addiction.



1.The activity continues or substance is used in larger amounts or for a longer period of time than was originally intended.

2. There is the desire and effort to reduce or totally stop use which is commonly unsuccessful.

3. Pursuit of the substance or activity or recovery from its use is time consuming.

4. There is a strong desire and craving to use the substance or participate in the activity.

5. Use of the substance or activity disturbs normal day to day activities

6. Use of the substance or activity continues despite problems it causes, problems could be social, family, physical or psychological or interpersonal.

7. Participation in important social, work, or recreational activities reduces or stops totally.

8. Use occurs in situations where it is physically risky.

9. Tolerance occurs, meaning an increased amount of the substance is needed to achieve desired effects.

10. Withdrawal occurs, there are physical or psychological symptoms when the substance is not taken.

The severity of the condition is gauged by the number of symptoms present. The presence of two to three symptoms generally indicates a mild condition; four to five symptoms indicate a moderate disorder. When six or more symptoms are present, the condition is considered severe. We can also look out for the symptoms in friends and family so as to know when to get help.

Addiction has been linked to several complications including depression, anxiety, increased suicide rates and the direct effects of the substance abused. Whenever we notice addiction, the first and most important action is to seek help.

Image: Lapencia Fotolia

Reference: Psychologytoday