What Is Addiction And Why Is It A Problem?


What is addiction

Many people enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage here and there, but for some people, alcohol becomes a lot more than that. Alcohol abuse has been shown to lead to a myriad of problems, including depression and decreased brain function. This can lead to addiction. Read on for an overview of what is addiction and why it’s such a serious problem.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disorder that causes the sufferer to compulsively use alcohol and drugs despite repeated attempts to give up. It affects not only the lives of the addicted person but their family members as well, who often find themselves in a cycle of codependency and enabling. 

Addiction is often accompanied by other mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety; therefore, it is imperative for someone with addiction issues to seek treatment for these co-occurring conditions.

Overtime addiction can seriously interfere with daily tasks that are essential for survival, such as work or school. The ability to obtain and maintain employment may be lessened for individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Sleep deprivation is another main contributing factor to addiction. The addiction can cause sleeplessness and a decreased ability to concentrate. Addicts usually abuse alcohol and drugs in the late evening hours, leading them to neglect essential responsibilities such as daily chores or family commitments, whether they’re aware of it or not.

What Are the Common Causes of Addiction?

causes of addiction

Most people know about addiction, but not everyone knows what causes it. In order to combat this lack of knowledge, it’s important to determine the underlying causes of addiction so people can better understand their loved ones.

A person can become addicted to drugs and alcohol in many ways, but the most common causes include the following:

1. Genetics.

A person has a genetic predisposition to addiction if their parents are addicts. Alcohol and substance abuse is more than twice as likely to occur among children whose parents are alcoholics. There are individuals with genetic mutations who are more susceptible to addiction than others. This is often the case with people with a family history of substance abuse.

2. Environment.  

A person’s environment can also play a role in their addiction. If they live in a neighborhood or community where drug use is common and accepted, then it’s much more likely that they will become addicted.

3. Mental Health Problems. 

People who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems are more likely to become addicted because they’re more likely to use drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings. They lack the tools to deal with difficult emotions and situations, so they resort to substance abuse. 

4. Trauma and Stress. 

When a person experiences traumatic events in their life, they may resort to drugs and alcohol to cope. It could be moving away for the first time, losing a loved one, or having school problems.

5. Peer Pressure. 

Peer pressure is a common reason that people start using drugs and alcohol. They may try to fit in with their friends or want to feel more popular or accepted. However, those feelings of popularity and acceptance are temporary. The person using drugs or alcohol will ultimately feel worse about themselves than before they started using.  

6. Boredom and Lack of Meaning. 

Sometimes people turn to drug or alcohol use because they are bored with life, have difficulty finding things to do that interest them, or lack meaning or purpose. Having been removed from their family for an extended period (such as being in foster care or incarcerated), experiencing a tragedy like the death of a loved one, or suffering a physical injury can cause this.

Addiction vs. Misuse

Addiction vs. Misuse

In the context of addiction and abuse, these terms are often used. They are often confused with one another, but they are not the same thing. Here’s a brief description of each so you can better understand their differences:


  • It occurs when a person uses drugs in amounts or under circumstances that are hazardous to their health, safety, and well-being. It could include using a drug combination with alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances like marijuana. This can lead to serious health problems and even death.
  • It occurs when someone uses a drug in amounts that are not considered medically appropriate. For example, if someone takes more than the recommended medication dosage, they could experience an overdose that could be fatal.

However, Misuse does not always result in an addiction. Addiction refers to a dependency on a particular substance, item, or activity.


  • It is defined as an inability to cease using a substance or engaging in an activity, even when it causes problems. There may be a strong desire to use alcohol or drugs and an inability to control it.
  • Addiction is also characterized by a state of tolerance, which means that an individual will need to use more of the substance to get the same effect. This can be physical or psychological dependence on a drug. Physical dependence refers to the body’s ability to adapt to drugs or alcohol use. In contrast, psychological dependence is the need for the substance to feel good or normal. 

On the other hand, addiction is a serious disorder that is linked with a series of physical and psychological effects. Over time these effects can cause significant damage to the body, including injury or death.

What Are the Symptoms of Addiction?

symptoms of addiction

Like any other illness, addiction manifests itself in identifiable symptoms. Before we discuss the signs of addiction, let’s first examine what constitutes a substance and non-substance addiction. Some non-substance addictions include:

An individual with an addiction will continue to use it, even in the face of negative consequences. Thus, a person with an addiction will exhibit symptoms like these: 

1. Excessive use of the substance 

If individuals use it so frequently that it seriously interferes with their personal, social, or professional life and responsibilities, they are likely to be addicted. 

2. Cravings for the substance 

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may experience intense cravings when they go without it for a while. Some people may experience symptoms like sweating, shaking, or an elevated heart rate. 

3. Withdrawal symptoms 

If an individual stops using a substance or engaging in a behavior, they may experience symptoms like depression, irritability, social withdrawal, and other effects. 

4. Loss of control  

A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will have difficulty controlling their drug consumption. For example, they may engage in behaviors they would normally not tolerate, like stealing money or having unsafe sexual encounters. 

5. Poor performance at work, school, or home 

Sometimes, individuals may manage their addiction if they can control their drug use during the week. However, it could indicate an addiction issue if they cannot handle their drug use on the weekends. An addiction issue could also show itself in a person’s performance at work or school, as it may interfere with their ability to perform.

6. Profound changes in appearance 

If someone addicted to drugs or alcohol loses interest in their appearance, it could also be a sign of an addiction issue. Appearance changes may also show up in people who experience excessive and uncontrollable hair loss. 

7. Negative consequences  

People addicted to drugs, or alcohol may experience adverse effects when their drug use becomes too severe, like committing crimes because they have no money or cannot sleep due to partying all night.


A person suffering from an addiction may exhibit some or all of these symptoms. It is imperative for anyone who suspects a loved one of having an addiction to seek the advice and help of a medical professional. Treatment options are available to individuals suffering from a habit, and it may be possible to help them recover from their addiction. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, Hanie Health Solutions is here to help. We have a team of medical professionals and addiction specialists that can help you or your loved one begin their recovery today. 

Contact us today to find out more information on how we can help.


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