There are certain common things or places that come to our mind when we hear a particular word or terminologies. However, these things or places striking our mind by hearing a word may vary individually.

What does immediately come to your mind? When you hear or read about addiction.

Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, substances, cocaine, nicotine are some of the common known things to us since childhood regarding addiction. But, what does addiction exactly mean?

Definition of Addiction:

In simple words, addiction is when the body or mind badly wants or needs something in order to work right. When you have an addiction to something it is called being addicted or being an addict. People are often addicted to drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine irrespective of gender, caste and nationality.

In other words, addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.

All types of addictions are capable to induce a sense of hopelessness and feelings of failure, as well as shame and guilt. When a person gets addicted, it becomes an uncontrollable thing for him/her for using the amount of a substance or partakes in an activity, and they become dependent on it to cope with daily life.

Most people begin using a drug or first engage in an activity voluntarily. However, addiction can take over and reduce self-control.

Causes of Addiction:

A person being addicted has many reasons. The reasons could be regarded by individuals in one’s life, surroundings, environment, personal relationships, failure, etc. Addiction is a multi-faceted condition, arising from the confluence of many elements—including, of course, exposure to an addictive agent. It is more accurate to think of risk factors for the development of substance abuse disorders, rather than direct causes. However, factors leading to addiction can be classified as:

Biological factors-


You may believe or not but scientists have found that genetic factors contribute about half the risk for developing a substance use disorder. For example, one factor linked to vulnerability is variation in a gene that determines the makeup of brain receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine. Another factor appears to be the nature of the body’s hormonal response to stress.

Physiological factors-

Fluctuations in liver enzymes that metabolise substances can influence alcohol use disorder.


Male are more likely to develop substance use disorder as compared to females, however, the gap between both the genders is quite narrow for alcohol use disorder. Females are more subject to intoxication effects at lower doses of alcohol.

Environmental/ Surrounding factors-


The family could be the biggest and direct factor causing addiction. A child seeing any of the parents, family member or siblings having an addiction, risks higher causing addiction in that particular child later. Poor-quality or troubled parent-child relations and family disruptions such as divorce or separation also add to one’s risk, as does sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.


Easy availability of addictive substances like drugs or alcohol around one’s surroundings like school, home, playground, workplace or area raises high risk of addiction.

Peer group/Companion:

People are extremely influenced by the habits of their companion or peer groups. Living in a group who has addictions becomes a high-risk factor to lead an addiction for an individual.

Work pressure:

Having a job that has tons of workload and targets introduces addictions like cigarettes and alcohol.

Psychological factors-

Personality factors:

Human nature, impulsivity and sensation personalities are often factors leading to the addiction of substance use and gambling disorders.

Trauma and Abuse:

Early exposure to significant adverse experience can lead to addiction. These experiences can be extreme sadness or grief that occurred due to the death of loved ones.

Mental Health factors:

Disorders like depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, etc increase the risk of addiction. Difficulties managing strong emotions are also linked to substance use.

Symptoms of Addiction:

The primary indications of addiction are-

  • Uncontrollably seeking drugs
  • Uncontrollably engaging in harmful levels of habit-forming behaviour
  • Neglecting or losing interest in activities that do not involve the harmful substance or behaviour
  • Relationship difficulties, which often involve lashing out at people who identify the dependency
  • An inability to stop using a drug, though it may be causing health problems or personal problems, such as issues with employment or relationships
  • Hiding substances or behaviours and otherwise exercising secrecy, for example, by refusing to explain injuries that occurred while under the influence
  • Profound changes in appearance, including a noticeable abandonment of hygiene
  • Increased risk-taking, both to access the substance or activity and while using it or engaging in it

Physical signs of addiction but are not limited to-

  • Enlarged or small pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual body odours
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Looking unkempt
  • Slurred speech

Myths and Facts about Addiction:


Getting rid of addiction needs will power, you can stop using drugs if you really want.


Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will.


Using drugs like painkillers are safe as they are prescribed by the doctors.


Short term use of painkillers can help to manage severe pain after accident or surgery, but the addiction to painkillers can have dangerous or even deadly consequences.


Addiction is a disease there’s nothing that can be done about it.


Most experts agree that addiction is a disease, but it’s not the case that the addicted person is helpless. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other addiction treatment programs.


Treatment did not work earlier, there’s no point trying again.


Recovery from drugs, alcohol or any addiction is a long term process. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that sobriety is a lost cause. It is a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.

The Psychology behind Addiction:

The psychology or mentality of a person being addicted differs individually. However, common psychology behind addiction of a person includes:

  • to feel good , a feeling of pleasure, “high”
  • to feel better , e.g., relieve stress
  • to do better , improve performance
  • curiosity and peer pressure

Treatment of Addiction:

Addictions are certainly treatable. Individuals willing to help themselves can recover fast and get better results in addiction treatment. The substance abuse treatment requires the co-operation of an addicted individual as well as family. Substance abuse psychologists or substance abuse counsellors can help you in fast recovery from addiction.

Treating drug abuse or any kind of addiction include a number of components that often includes combination and are likely to change over the course of recovery:

  • Detoxification- The firsts stage of treatment conducted under medical supervision
  • A short term counselling process called motivational interviewing to help a person resolve ambivalence about treatment, and stay committed and consistent to changes
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can help a person recognize and cope with situations that trigger the desire to use substances.
  • Addiction has harsh effects on a family. Family therapy helps to resolve those consequences
  • Life skills training, personality development training, employment skills can be a part of a treatment
  • An individual’s progress monitoring is considered a good treatment process

Where to find the Best Addiction Psychologist?

You can use our hassle-free Search Licensed Psychologist directory for substance abuse psychologist or addiction psychologist. Enjoy the benefits of all licensed and trusted psychologists of all specifications or as per your needs.

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