When does a ‘habit’ escalate to the point where you need addiction treatment? How much drinking is too much? Are you relying too much on painkillers? Is there such a thing as ‘recreational’ drug use? Spending too much time on the internet? Even sex can become an addiction. There is often a stigma attached to alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and other forms of cravings to the point where people may claim that they have their habits under control and that they are not letting their behaviours descend to the point of needing therapy.

We now know that addictions are more than just behaviours that can be excused away or easily resolved if you just ‘say no.’ Occasionally, there are deep-rooted issues, such as anxiety disorder, PTSD, or depression, that develop as a result of addiction which requires close attention. They can also be the result of changes to brain chemistry that require significant intervention and work to control so that patients can return to a healthy frame of mind and lifestyle.

Here we discuss the nature of addiction and its warning signs.

What is Addiction?

Simply put, addiction is the need or compulsion to do something to the point where it could be detrimental. This need could stem from a physical or psychological cause, or both. It can begin as something you do that makes you feel good, physically and/or mentally. This ‘pleasure’ subsequently creates a powerful urge to repeat the behaviour. Again and again. Or, stopping those behaviour causes a withdrawal – an unpleasant, perhaps even physically painful, experience that causes you to repeat the behaviour in order to alleviate the withdrawal. Either way, this creates a potentially self-destructive cycle of addiction.

Worse yet, these behaviours can then alter a person biologically so that the addiction becomes more than a simple habit or urge – their bodies and brains become dependent on that thing, be it alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, heroin, and so on. What may have begun as pleasure-seeking behaviour becomes a compulsion.

A Closer Look at Addiction

As part of our survival instincts, our brain evolved to reward us with pleasure or relieve us from pain, effectively driving us to eat, sleep, run from danger, etc. You may have heard about such neurochemicals as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Our bodies produce these naturally as a response to activities such as eating or having sexual intercourse. Alcohol and medications, whether prescribed or not, can also cause the release of these chemicals. Too much of these activities or substances can throw our natural drive/reward system out of whack. Our brains may become tolerant of the behaviours or the amount of a substance and, thus, require more food, more sex, or more medication in order to release enough chemicals for us to feel that pleasure or relief again.

But what causes an individual to embark on the path to addiction? They may have tried something to feel better, which could have been anything from playing a video game to taking drugs, but then risk factors entered the picture:

  • Genetics: There is research suggesting that there may be a genetic vulnerability to addiction. This does not mean that if someone in your family is an addict, that means you will be too. It just means there could be an increased possibility.
  • Peer pressure: In an effort to fit in, especially among teenagers, some may engage in potentially addictive behaviours, such as drug or alcohol use and abuse.
  • Early substance use: Children, adolescents, and even young adults, have brains and bodies that are still developing. The use of drugs or alcohol during earlier years can impair brain development and lead to addiction.
  • Family or relationship issues: Humans are social animals, and if relationships are difficult or broken down, it may leave all of us susceptible to escaping by seeking pleasure through negative or addictive behaviours.
  • Mental health issues: Suffering from a mental condition can increase a person’s susceptibility to addiction. They may take drugs to dull their pain or cope with their condition, which ultimately results in addiction.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and the descriptions are very general, but hopefully, it provides some insight into understanding how addiction develops and takes hold.

Early Warning Signs of Addiction

No matter what you or someone you are worried about says, there are certain signs and indications that may suggest an addiction:

  • Problems with school or work performance
  • Changes in physical appearance, sleep habits, or hygiene
  • Severe financial issues, possibly leading to theft
  • Disinterest in activities or relationships
  • Social isolation or anti-social behaviour
  • Sudden, rapid mood swings, possibly violence or depression

These are just a few of the signs that you or your loved one needs to get help now.

Regarding the source, be it drugs, alcohol, the internet, etc., continued compulsive use with little or no control strongly indicates that there is a problem that requires addiction treatment. And of course, vehement denials that there is a problem point to, well, a problem.

Get Addiction Treatment at The Cabin, Thailand

The Cabin offers rehab in Thailand that is safe and supervised by caring, highly trained professionals. Our in-patient facility in Chiang Mai, Thailand, offers a range of treatment options for various addictions. From substance addictions, including alcohol and various drugs, to process addictions, such as internet and sex addiction.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you care about, exhibiting some of the warning signs discussed here, or other worrying behaviours, you can contact our team at any time. We are available 24 hours a day and will listen to you with the attention, compassion, and respect you deserve. We also understand that there may be other emotional or psychological issues at play and offer trauma treatment and treatments for other disorders that often occur along with addictions. There is no need to wait, get help now and contact us. We can answer your questions during our admissions process and work with you or your loved one to determine the best path to recovery.

Call us today, we are here to listen.

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