Addiction Mental Illness

“Every form of addiction is dangerous, whether it be drugs, exercising or over thinking. If there becomes an imbalance, eventually it will topple” – Joseph Burke

The official scientific understanding is that Addiction is fundamentally a brain disorder characterised by a compulsive engagement in a particular act or substance. The act or substance offers a “reward” to the addict, usually in the form of Dopamine (or other feel-good brain chemicals).

It is also understood that there are a number of psychological, mental, emotional, biological and social factors involved too. It seems that the continuous repetition of a certain act or substance use, creates a biological connection whereby pathways are physically created within the brain (using proteins) which ensures that the addict continues to engage in the act (involuntarily) – which results in the continuous “reward” of feel good brain chemicals upon command.

Of course this understanding is completely true, though it is only one piece of the massive puzzle when beginning to explore the subject of addiction. The question I ask is, “Why does an addict require a reward or a “feel good chemical” in the first place? If we can understand and correct that at the most deepest base level, then we would literally have a simple solution – but is it that easy?

When it comes to Addiction, it is such a complex disease that even addicts themselves would disagree on what Addiction actually is. Is it a hereditary misfortune? A chemical imbalance? A mental disorder? An illness or disease? Or a conglomerate of poor decisions? A group of addicts would sit together, after having suffered the same issues, and disagree on almost every aspect of Addiction. However, It is the only condition in my eyes, which permeates through every aspect of a person and the society around them (predominantly Drug and Alcohol Addiction). It penetrates through the physical, mental, emotional, moral, social and spiritual levels of a human being. It directly effects the financial, legal, judicial and communal levels of society. What ever one believes addiction to be? The way it behaves within a person and within society, it is the truest example of disease.

Common forms of Addictions

Sex Addiction

Internet Addiction

Gambling Addiction

Shopping Addiction

Video Game Addiction

Food Addiction

Risky Behavior Addiction

Substance Addiction

Thinking Addiction

Work out Addiction

All of the Addictions listed above have one thing in common, the person uses an act or substance to experience a feeling of excitement, fullness, escape, distraction or peace etc. They seem to use something, because left to themselves they feel bored, irritated, discontented or unhappy. They feel that being present with themselves in one way or another is just not enough, and their existence alone is not enough. People are constantly searching externally to fill themselves internally.

There some addictive behaviours which are far more detrimental to the addict and society in general.

Over 25 million Americans over the age of twelve are thought to have problems surrounding drugs or Alcohol.

There is the equivalent to a 911 death toll every two weeks in America directly attributed to drug overdoses.

One person in America dies every five minutes from drug related over doses.

Almost half of Americas prison population (The largest in the world) are imprisoned due to drug offenses.

Addictive substances such as; Tobacco, Drugs and Alcohol cost the American government 0.75 Trillion pounds a year to manage.

Over 5 million hospital visits a year are a result of Drugs and Alcohol in America every year.

Institutions available to assist Addicts on their road to recovery

Inpatient Treatment

Residential Treatment

Detox Centres

Outpatient Drug-free Centres

Rehab Centres

AA or other 12 Step fellowships

*** If one is suffering as the result of unhealthy or addictive behaviours, remember, You are not alone and things can be different ***

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Click here to visit Joseph’s outlook on Addiction