Addiction/Dependency is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain from a substance or behavior that negatively affects a persons biological, psychological, social or spiritual life. Millions of people are hooked on Alcohol, Heroin, Methampthetamines and other types of amphetamines, morphine, marijuana, cocaine and many other drugs. There are less obvious addictions that are equally destructive. That list is limitless, but more common subtle addictions are internet use, work, sex, power, gambling, exercise, caffeine and sugar, steroids, and even worry. Dependency is not defined by the substance, activity or event, but rather the users relationship with that object or experience. These relationships provide immediate gratification and distractions from psychological pain, (depression, grief, anxiety, etc.). There is an enjoyable mental affect that gives pleasure at the time, causing the relief from unhappiness or can act as a distraction. The addictive cycle becomes integrated when the person eventually develops a level of shame resulting from the loss of control in the relationship with the object of the addiction. The desire and ability to sooth oneself is healthy. When a person loses the ability to choose and change, signs of addiction develop without the awareness of the addicted person.
A few common signs and symptoms of an addiction.
Preoccupation. This is defined by an increase or excessive amount of mental energy spent with the addictive object.
Powerlessness, failed attempts to control behavior or use of the object.
Delusional thinking, a heightened sense of euphoria when thinking about or using the addictive object without accurate regard for the consequences of ones use.
Desire to increase use of the drug/ substance or activity, despite negative consequences to oneself or those around the person.
Neglecting friends or family to engage in the addictive relationship.
Denial, being dishonest with self and others about the addictive relationship.
Low Self Esteem, feeling guilty, sad, ashamed, anxious, or depressed about the behavior or drug use.
Changes in sleep patterns.
While you review this list, if you find yourself agreeing to 3-4 statements, you may well be experiencing an abusive relationship with a person, drug, or some sort of activity.
If you answer 5 or more, you are likely to be addicted to a person, drug or activity.
Common withdrawal symptoms may include feelings of restlessness, possible heart palpitations, anxious or nervousness, increased perspiration, possible shakes, confusion and disorientation.