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Process Addiction

process addictionProcess addictions are largely misunderstood. Many people are under a false impression that an addiction has to be to a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, and that any other compulsive behaviors must simply be a bad habit. This is not the case. Addiction can apply to a process, or a behavior, just as easily as it can to a physical substance. The addiction may be to gambling, to sex, to internet browsing or to any number of other activities. What is difficult for people to grasp is that the addictive activity actually gives the addict the same high that an addictive substance would to a substance addict.

The way that process addictions work is as follows. When the addict discovers that a certain action or series of actions that they take gives them immense pleasure, their brains make a particular note of how that pleasure was achieved so that they can return to the process repeatedly. The scientific explanation of their pleasure feeling is the brain chemical dopamine. This chemical is released in the brain every time a person experiences pleasure. The interesting part is there is very little difference between the dopamine release achieved through substance use and the dopamine release achieved through acting on a process. Though people’s addictions are diverse, what they are addicted to on a chemical level is dopamine, and there is equal potential for addiction to substances and to processes.

Process addictions, like substance addictions, are more harmless when they begin than they are when they have really taken a hold of a person’s life. A severe process addiction can jeopardize a person’s finances, health, relationships and┬ávocations. For instance, say someone is addicted to shopping online – the combination of an internet addiction and a shopping addiction. They are going to wreck their finances with their inability to control their spending. They are going to isolate themselves from their relationships due to their undependable nature. They are going to damage their posture and their muscles sitting in front of a computer screen constantly. And they are going to lose respect of their colleagues because of their mental unhealthiness.

Drug Addiction

drug addictionDrug addiction does not discriminate based on class, gender or age. It can be found in every demographic and can strike individuals from any social or cultural group. But can similarities be found between drug addicts? Is there any way to qualify the factors that lead a person to succumb to drug addiction? While the quanitfying of addiction’s contributing factors is not an exact science, medical research would suggest that there are common, observable factors that increase a person’s likelihood of becoming addicted to drugs.

The most frequently observed contributors to drug addiction are a person’s environmental factors and genetics. When a person’s support system tolerates or encourages drug use, they are more likely to become addicted at some point in their life, and genetic predipositions to drug addiction have regularly been observed, especially in the case of drug abuse being multigenerational.

More often than not, when a person is succeptible to drug addiction, they have other psychological disorders as well, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, depression or anxiety, and the drug use becomes a way of self medicating. The point in an addict’s life when they discover the drug plays a part in their addiction, as certain life phases are more prone to addiction than others.

Other factors that influence an addict’s struggle with drug abuse may be gender (men are twice as likely as women to become addicted to drugs), peer pressure to try any number of substances, and absent family members who provide weak support and guidance.

Drug addiction treatment centers are available to individuals who feel they may need drug rehabilitation, and it is highly recommended that anyone who feels they may have a drug addiction to reach out for help.

Substance Abuse

substance abuseSubstance abuse is a phenomenon that plagues every corner of society, with no regard for demographic. People are drawn to overusing or harmfully using substances for a variety of reasons, even to the point of requiring treatment or rehabilitation, but many similarities can be drawn between individual cases of substance abuse. And though substance abuse and addiction share many attributes, the differences between them are quantifiable.

First of all, there is more than one kind of addiction. There are physical addictions, where the body and its chemical processes have become dependent on the substance to function. This form of addiction creates withdrawal symptoms such as sweating and shaking when the substance is not ingested, and creates a tolerance within the body against the pleasurable affects of the substance, requiring an increasingly higher dosage of it with every use. The second type of addiction is a psychological one, which makes the addict feel and believe that they cannot function without the drug despite having no chemical dependence on it.

Addiction may form due to the method the substance is being administered. For example, drugs that enter the system through needle injection, such as meth and heroin, are more addictive than drugs that enter the system slowly, such as marijuana smoked from a pipe into the lungs or cocaine snorted onto the nasal membranes. Dependence and tolerance set in simultaneously to addiction, making the method of ingestion a critical determining factor in the transition from substance abuse to addiction.

The individual’s personality and chemical make up play a major part in how quickly they may become addicted to a substance. The term “addictive personality” is used to describe this type of individual, but in truth it is an array of things, chemical, environmental and behavioral, that can make a person more predisposed to addiction than others. For some, an addiction may come on slowly and progressively. For others, it can feel like it set in over night.



addictionAddiction to a substance can have serious detrimental effects on a person’s well-being. Statistically, addicted persons are more likely to encounter health issues, relationship inabilities and problems retaining employment. One of the most successful solutions to the problem of addiction is a drug abuse rehab or alcohol abuse rehab, and many resources are available to get individuals in touch with the addiction rehab program that is right for them.

Biologically speaking, addiction has been tied to a person’s neural network. The human brain experiences pleasure when it receives an addictive substance, neurotransmitters in the brain exchange data about its pleasurability and the person’s use increases. But with increased use comes tolerance to the substance, and soon the person does not feel normal without regularly ingesting the substance. Psychologically speaking, addiction can be caused by mental illness, unhealthy learned behaviors, or negative feelings that manifest through a person’s thoughts and beliefs.

It is best to have a physician determine whether or not a person is in fact experiencing addiction, however, the person in question and their support system can watch for signs that indicate an addiction. Often the person will display an inability to end or limit their use of the substance, and will feel that the continued ingestion of the substance is necessary. They may seek ways to obtain the substance illegally or in higher quanitities than is recommended by a doctor so as not to face the possibility of running out of the substance. These signs typically indicate that the person’s addiction is no longer under their control, and may be determinates of the person’s need for addiction inpatient rehabilitation.

Not everyone who uses a substance is addicted, and many casual users can stop or limit their use at will. However, other personalities can become dependent on the substance to the point that their lives are controlled by it. For these cases of addiction, expert intervention is needed to safely end the person’s deeply rooted biochemical and psychological dependence on the substance. Substance abuse treatment programs are one of the most successful ways of ending addiction, through detoxification, counselling sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy, life courses, medical services and a professional support network.


Substance Abuse

Inpatient Rehab

inpatient rehab

The purpose of an inpatient addiction treatment facility is to put an addicted person into a protected environment where they cannot access the substance they are addicted to. A recovering addict will live on-site in the rehabilitation center to undergo treatment. This allows the individual to focus completely on their recovery in a safe, supervised environment with the help of mental health and medical professionals. The program’s length, methods and resources all have a bearing on how successful the inpatient rehabilitation is.

Statistics indicate that the inpatient residential model of rehabilitation is the most successful treatment for addiction available, and most private rehab centers are similar. The detoxification process comes first for substance abusers to restore the individuals body back to a healthy state. Often the person’s body will be so reliant on the substance that withdrawal symptoms may come with severe health risks. Licensed inpatient rehabs should have a medical professional available to monitor the individual, or be able to refer them to a medical facility for the duration of their detoxification process.

The substance abuse treatment program that follows is typically focused on the psychological problems that influence the person’s addictive behavior. Programs vary depending on the philosophies of the particular rehab, but the standard inpatient rehab will incorporate counseling, group activities, therapeutic activities and life coaching. The program will often be tailored to the patient’s needs and will include material that addresses the person’s individual biochemical and psychological problems.

Residential rehabs can vary in their approach to recovery through the institution’s philosophies. For a recovering addict who is interested in organic living, natural remedy inpatient programs are available. Religious inpatient programs are common and combine the benefits of a spiritual lifestyle with the psychological foundations of recovery. There are also programs designed specifically for certain age and gender groups, as well as income brackets and lifestyles.



alcoholismThe immediate effects of alcohol abuse are widely known in North American culture, but the long-term effects of alcoholism are something that the general public typically knows less about, to its own detriment. Awareness of alcoholism takes a back seat to the social acceptability of alcohol consumption, even to the point of excess, and the abuse of alcohol is deceptively portrayed as harmless, even while the disease of alcoholism consumes lives.

Most adults are familiar with the signs of intoxication. Alcohol is a depressant, and quickly absorbs into the body’s bloodstream, altering nerve function through its affects on the brain. This leads to impaired motor skills, vision, and cognitive and verbal abilities. At a certain point, alcohol will decrease the heart rate and circulation of its user, inducing vomitting, and can lead to coma or death in its highest levels.

These examples may describe a singular encounter with alcohol, where as alcoholism refers to a long-term medical condition where alcohol abuse has become a regular part of an individual’s life. The effects of chronic alcoholism can be observed in all bodily systems.

Prolonged alcoholism has devastating effects on the gastrointestianl system. Repeated acid reflux and stomach inflammation can cause bleeding and pain in the esophagus, as well as stomach ulcers and a low appetite. Inflamed blood vessels can form in the esophagus due to liver disease and often result in death if or when they burst. An inflamed pancreas can result in extreme pain and discomfort for alcoholics, or can cause ongoing diarrhea and a lack of nutrients throughout the body. The liver can become fatty and enlarged, developing cirrhosis or hepatitis.

Blood cells are heavily affected by ongoing alcoholism. White blood cells that boost the immune system decrease, while red blood cells become enlarged, making the alcoholic prone to blood clots and cancer cells. Blood pressure is also raised over time, putting strain on the heart and exposing it to a number of diseases.

A toll is taken on the alcoholic’s cognitive function and nervous system, resulting in blackouts, memory loss, sleep problems, learning disabilities, parathesia and equilibrium malfunction. Fertitlity is also heavily decreased in both men and women.

It is important that society becomes conscious of both the short term and long term affects of alcohol abuse, as alcoholism does not discriminate between race, gender, class or age, and can become a serious illness if left untreated. Alcohol addiction rehabilitation is available to individuals suffering from alcoholism. Contact an alcohol addiction facility today to begin the process of recovery for yourself or a loved one.

Drug Addiction