What Is Addiction? Signs, Symptoms & Types

You're more than your addiction
Addiction is a multifaceted condition, impacting both physical and mental health, with consequences that extend to the individual and their loved ones. Miracles Asia is the leading Thailand rehab center that offers guests a personalized treatment programs for alcohol & drug abuse as well as addictive behaviors.
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Table of Contents

Key Takeaways
Addicts often progress through four stages: experimentation, regular use, risky use, and addiction, which is characterized by loss of control and negative consequences.
Risk factors for addiction include early introduction to substances, family history, mental disorders, and environmental factors like poverty and peer pressure.
It is not necessary to hit "rock bottom" before seeking help for addiction; recognizing the signs and symptoms of addiction early on can lead to a more successful recovery.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that involves both the body and the mind. It develops over time, and it can have harmful consequences for both the addict and those around them.

Addicts may feel unable to control their use of substances or activities, even though they are causing harm to themselves or others. Drug addiction treatment can vary but usually combines several different approaches, including detoxification, counseling, and behavioral therapies.

The goal of treatment is to help the addict manage their addiction and improve their overall health and well-being. There are many different types of addiction, and each one can require a different approach to treatment. However, all addictions share one common goal: recovery.

In this article, we will discuss
What is addiction?
The different types of addiction.
The signs and symptoms of addiction.
How addiction is treated.

A Definition of Addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the world’s leading authority on addiction, uses the following definition:

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.”

People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.’

At Miracles Asia, we pride ourselves on knowing that what we do actually works and helps people find a long lasting recovery and happy life.

As a small rehab in Thailand that focuses on drug and alcohol abuse as well as behavioral addictions, we have been treating people with addiction since 2017 with great results. 

In fact, our success rate is higher than 85% for clients who stay longer than 30 days. This has been verified by Luxury Rehabs and is well above the normal industry standard.

The disease of addiction is treatable, and people do recover. Just like any other disease, drug addiction recovery is possible, and checking in to an rehab center will give you the best chance of success.

A Chronic Disease of the Brain

Addiction is also often described as ‘a disease of the mind.' It’s because addiction means physical and psychological craving or compulsion to use substances or an inability to control behavior.

Recovery from addiction means we need help to heal. It’s very difficult to do this on our own. If we could ‘just stop,’ we wouldn’t need 12-Step fellowships and rehab treatment centers. 

At Miracles Asia, we know that if it’s left untreated, addiction can lead to more and more negative consequences, and can have a major impact on all areas of your life – including your ability to function in your job, your relationships, and your health in general.

Effects of Addiction on the Brain

The human brain that’s affected by addiction is hard-wired to compel you to repeat experiences that make you feel good, so you’re motivated to do your particular drug, substance, or behavior again and again.

Your drug of choice will target your brain’s reward system. The drug floods your brain with a neuro chemical called dopamine (the reward) which triggers an intense feeling of pleasure, and the need to chase that high becomes compulsive. 

You can’t stop without help.

After a while, and everyone is different, your brain gets used to the extra dopamine, and you’ll probably need to take more of the drug to get the same high. You might not enjoy other things as much, such as being with family and friends or taking care of yourself.

Over time, drug use can cause changes in other parts of your brain, which can lead to affecting your:
Ability to learn.
These brain changes can lead to taking drugs in ways that you can no longer control. ‘Just one more’ maybe your thinking, or ‘I can’t stop now.' Everyone is different. People react differently to drugs. Some people love the feeling the first time they try drugs and want more. Others hate the experience and never want to try again.

Risk Factors of Drug Addiction

So it follows that not everyone who uses drugs ends up being addicted. Some of the following factors may increase the risk factors of addiction:
Early introduction
If a drug is introduced to a developing brain, i.e. a child’s, drug use will stop the brain from growing. Taking drugs as a child can lead to drug addiction when you get older.

Family history
If your ancestors or siblings have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’re more likely to as well. If there is trouble within the family system, this might also be a contributing factor.

Mental disorders
If you have anxiety or depression (or both) or trouble paying attention, you have a higher chance of developing an addiction, and you might try drugs as a way to feel better. A history of trauma also makes you more likely to develop an addiction.

Environmental factors
If you grew up in poverty or in areas where drugs are easily accessible, you are more likely to develop an addiction. Peer pressure can also increase the risk of substance use disorder.

Types of Addiction

There are many different types of addiction, but they all share certain common features. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior or other compulsive behaviors that interfere with normal functioning.

Addictions can be divided into two broad categories: substance abuse and behavioral addiction. Substance abuse refers to the abuse of drugs or alcohol, while behavioral addiction refers to compulsively engaging in certain activities even though they may be harmful.

The most common types of addiction include:
Alcohol addiction.
Drug addiction.
Gambling addiction.
Sex addiction.
These are just a few of the most common types of addiction. There are many others, including food addiction, shopping addiction, and video game addiction.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that can have a profound impact on every aspect of a person's life. When you suffer from alcohol addiction, you have increased risk of health problems such as liver damage and heart disease, as well as financial difficulties, relationship problems, and job loss. It can also increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a serious problem that can have harmful effects on your health and well-being. Drug abuse occurs when people take drugs for non-medical reasons, such as to get high or to cope with problems. Drug misuse can lead to addiction and, in worst-case scenarios, overdose and death. The sooner you get help for drug abuse, the better.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling addiction is a serious problem that can have a negative impact on your life. Gambling addiction is defined as an uncontrollable need to gamble despite any detrimental consequences that may result.

Gambling addiction is a growing problem, especially with easy access to credit and the prevalence of online gambling sites today. With gambling, people can easily get in over their heads and rack up large amounts of debt. Financial problems can soon spiral out of control, leading to other factors such as relationship and mental health issues.

Sex Addiction

The term sex addiction often conjures up images of a man unable to control his urges, sexual thoughts, or behaviors. However, sex addiction can affect anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality.

Symptoms can vary from person to person, but they typically include an inability to control one's sexual behavior, preoccupation with sexual thoughts or fantasies, and engaging in risky or dangerous sexual activities.

While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for sex addiction, therapy and counseling can be helpful in addressing underlying issues and teaching healthy coping skills.

However, the American Psychiatric Association does not consider sex addiction, work addiction, or technology addiction as addictions in its most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The 4 Stages of Addiction

Most people who develop addiction go through four stages. From the first time they use a substance to the point where they can no longer control their use, they progress through these stages:
This is the stage where people first try a substance or behavior. It can be out of curiosity, peer pressure, or boredom. For some people, this phase is quickly forgotten. But for others, it starts a pattern that leads to addiction.

Regular Use
In this stage, people begin using a substance or engaging in behavior more regularly. They may start to feel like they need it to cope with everyday life. They might miss work or school due to their use. And they may start to neglect other important aspects of their life.

Risky Use
This is the stage where people begin to lose control over their use of a substance or engagement in a behavior. They may start taking risks in order to get the substance or engage in the behavior. For example, they may neglect work or school responsibilities, drive while under the influence, or put themselves in risky situations.

This is when someone can no longer control their use of a substance or engagement in a behavior. They may continue to use it despite negative consequences like job loss, financial problems, or relationship issues. They may also start to experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the substance or engage in the behavior. Withdrawal symptoms can include things like nausea, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.

You Don’t Need to Reach Rock Bottom

One school of thought is that people need to hit rock bottom in their addiction before asking for help. 

This is not always true, but why to people risk reaching that place before admitting defeat? Some people never recover if they are unable to get honest with themselves.

So, it's important to understand what’s really going on for them.

If you’ve reached the stage of looking online for your addiction treatment options, let’s see if you think you qualify as being at the stage of needing help by asking yourself the following questions:
Do you find you need to drink, use a substance, or perform a certain behavior more these days to get the same effect?
Do you need to keep using the substance (or behavior) to stop withdrawal symptoms?
Do you find that you use the substance in larger amounts or over a longer period than you intended?
Have you tried over and over to cut down or control your substance use or compulsive behavior and failed?
Do you notice that you spend a lot of time in an effort to get the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects? The same applies to compulsive behaviors.
Are important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced because of your substance use?
Comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning.Do you blow off family members during holidays or special events?
Do you avoid office or work parties work because of your substance use?
Do you continue with the substance use or behavior even though you know you’ve got a problem?
If you answer yes to the first 2 questions, you most definitely need help.

If you answer yes to any 3 of these 9 questions, you definitely need help.

At Miracles Asia are ready to help you through any complicated withdrawal and support you in a long lasting recovery. Visiting a rehab in Thailand may be the best option and an invaluable service for you before you expose yourself to greater risk factors or a prolonged recovery process. Don’t wait till you hit rock bottom.

Use the options on this page to contact us addiction specialists for a 100% free and totally confidential chat about your own individual situation.

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