Addictions are scary things as consider how they can ruin one’s physical strength, immunity, and cause many health problems. They are by far the most compulsive and chronic habits which we engage in; unhealthy behavioural acts that can aggravate many crimes, suicides or even other social problems.

Smoking Addiction

Smoking in any form, marijuana, tobacco, or cigarettes can lead smokers to an additive dependence on that particular substance to a degree that when they withdraw from smoking, their mental, emotional feeling or any physical reactions will be greatly irritated.

Nicotine is a psychoactive drug found in the cigarette that causes smokers addiction to cigarettes and the human bloodstream absorbs toxins rapidly via the smoker’s lungs. Within 7 seconds of the smoke being inhaled these toxins can reach the brain. High doses of nicotine have shown to stimulate activation of “pleasure centers” located in the brain, particularly the mesolimbic dopamine system, which can cause nicotine dependence among the smokers. This explains why smokers who first started smoking can take in higher doses of nicotine without feeling sick. Nicotine can also “alter” functional as well as structural changes in the smokers’ brains, and thus when they suddenly withdrawn from smoking, the physiological functions in their brain or other parts of their bodies will be greatly interrupted.

It’s indeed scary to think of smoking addiction, with each puff smoked, they will get a small intravenous-like shot of nicotine. If they smoke 20 cigarettes per day, they will get over “70,000” intravenous-like shot of nicotine per year. In this manner, if smokers do not want to quit smoking, they will die 10-15 years earlier than their normal life expectancy.

Shopping Addiction

Omniomania (“onios” means “for sale” while “mania” means “madness”) is a term given to describe a psychiatric disorder that is commonly known as shopping addiction, compulsive shopping or compulsive buying disorder (CB). This syndrome was recognized as early as the twentieth century and it’s documented that it can co-occur with other disorders like eating disorders, impulsive control disorders, substance use disorders, and anxiety disorder.

According to the survey conducted by a Psychiatric Times, only 6% of the Americans are considered to have compulsive shopping. This shopping habit is different from the normal shopping as the sufferers have used shopping as an outlet to help them cope with anger, stress, depression, boredom, self-critical thoughts, tension, anxiety and loneliness. People with Omniomania will shop until they run into debts because their mind is completely preoccupied by excessive spending. This compulsion can eventually wreck families and relationships. Interestingly, compulsive shoppers with this syndrome aren’t concerned much with what they’ve bought. They leave compact discs wrapped in plastic and never listen to them or hang their new clothes in the closet without even taking them out either.

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction (compulsive internet use, unhealthy internet use, or problematic computer use) refers to an addictive use of computer to an extent that one neglects their work, their responsibility to the family, their study or other important things in their life. Compulsive internet use can cause negative impact to one’s daily life, job, friends and can also erode their “offline” intimate relationship.

Internet addicts will always find excuses to lie to their boss just to spend time online. They will also use internet repeatedly like connect with people they know on the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, chat rooms, message boards, instant messaging, online chat as an outlet when they feel upset, despair, sad, lonely, stress, and even for sexual gratification. When their surfing time is greatly interrupted, they behave violently, or may feel irritable, anxious, upset or depressed. They feel like no one exists in their real life, and thus they use internet as a gateway to distract themselves from fears and worries. In a severe case, they may suffer from anxiety disorder which will need an immediate medical assistance.

Drug Addiction

The frequent use of drugs can lead to drug addiction or compulsive drug use, where the drug addicts feel an overwhelming need for drugs. Nicotine, painkillers, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, speed, cocaine, sleeping pills are some of the most abused drugs addicts used to help them escape emotional swings and physical discomfort.

Initially, they tried the drug out of curiosity but when the addiction progresses, the drug can control their life. When they are in a drug tolerance, they will need much more amount of drugs to experience the similar effects they used to enjoy initially. If they go for longer hours without the supply of drugs, they start feeling depression, shaking, anxiety, nausea, restlessness, sweating and insomnia. This in turn will cause great damage to their daily life- paranoia, blackouts, tremors, sudden mood swings, impaired coordination, sudden weight loss, anxiety, slurred speech, agitation, and lack of motivation. Also their pupils can become either smaller or larger than usual, along with unusual smells on their breaths.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a condition where a person repeatedly craves alcohol to a degree that he or she is out of control of drinking intoxicating liquids like wine, vodka, brandy, whisky, VSOP, beer and other hard liquors. That means they have a compulsive need for drinking large amount of alcohol to get them high. In this matter, factors like peer pressure, financial problems and other traumatic experiences in life may worsen their drinking addiction.

Alcoholism causes destructive damage to one’s health either physically or mentally. They may commit crimes, murders or suicides. Alcohol use also causes many health problems such as heart disease, irregular heartbeat, weaken bones, poor immunity, liver damage, heart damage, unusually higher blood pressure, brain damage (due to that alcohol can destroy brain cells), disturbance in central nervous system, skin disorders and various types of cancers (particularly in stomach, colon, esophagus, and mouth). Note that alcoholics who drink compulsively may have their life span reduced by 10-15 years.

Final remark:

There is always hope, regardless of how bad you, your loved one or anyone else who has the above addiction problem is. The thorough support from close friends, intimate relationships, family members, recovering addicts, health care providers, counsellors and/or therapists is very important to encourage those in need to get appropriate therapy, undergo self-directed treatment, go for rehabilitation, or enlist the support of any self-help programs. The family must understand the nature of addiction, signs, symptoms and side effects of addiction, and the root to the problem that has caused addicts to crave drugs as an effective mean to speed up their addiction recovery. Besides all these factors, addicts should place their belief of the possibility of recovery by standing firmly on their faith in God.

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