Addiction to Substances or Behaviours
What is an addiction?
Addiction is a condition where a person becomes addicted to something that gives them pleasure. However, some people do not have a "stop button" and can become addicted. Addiction can be highly disruptive to your relationships, family, or work.
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What does Addiction mean?
Addiction often dominates all aspects of your life and has negative consequences for your daily life and health. When you are addicted, you are constantly preoccupied with a particular substance or behavior. You know it's bad for you, but you can't stop. Repetition of the behavior or substance use creates a certain pattern in your behavior. This pattern is difficult to break and almost always requires professional help.
How does addiction work?
Addiction often involves both psychological and physical dependence. Psychological dependence is the feeling that you cannot do without it and you constantly feel the urge for a substance or behavior. Physical dependence occurs when your body has become accustomed to a substance or behavior. When you try to stop, your body protests, and you experience withdrawal symptoms such as chills, sweating, or anxiety. Due to this mental and physical dependence, it is very difficult to stop and the chances of a relapse are often high.
When are you addicted? Read more about the signs or symptoms
When dealing with addiction, you experience a strong urge towards specific behaviours or substances. Not everyone who uses alcohol or drugs regularly is addicted. We only speak of addiction when you have lost control over the use of these substances. There are two different forms of addiction: substance addiction and behavioural addiction.
Addiction to substances
An addiction to substances usually occurs with the use of alcohol and drugs. You can become addicted to drugs such as speed, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or tobacco. You can also develop a prescription or non-prescription drug addiction when you become dependent on medication. This typically occurs with tranquilizers (diazepam, oxazepam, valium), sleeping pills, and painkillers.
Addiction to behaviour
It's also possible to be addicted to certain behaviours. With behavioural addiction, you constantly feel the urge to perform a specific behaviour, such as gambling, gaming, or watching pornography. When you struggle with a behavioural addiction, you never feel satisfied, and the behaviour becomes compulsive. Your feelings and thoughts are determined by this behaviour.
This dependence can vary from mild to severe or chronic behaviour. We speak of behavioural addiction when you start to exhibit the same behaviour more and for a longer period of time. You can't stop anymore, and the behaviour essentially becomes an obsession. This often has negative consequences for your personal hygiene, your relationships, and your work or school.
Social Media Addiction
Addiction and comorbidity
An addiction almost never occurs alone and often goes hand in hand with a mental disorder, such as depression, personality disorder, or PTSD. It's also possible that you're dealing with multiple types of addictions. When you have multiple diagnoses at the same time, we speak of comorbidity. In some cases, the addiction is caused by the mental condition, and in other cases, it's the other way around. It's not always easy to distinguish which of these diagnoses is the cause of the other diagnosis.Addiction & comorbidity
This page has been professionally reviewed on medical accuracy
At U-center, we understand the importance of providing reliable and accurate information to our visitors. That's why we have experts in the field review our website to ensure that all information presented is medically accurate.
Page Reviewed by:
Addiction Specialist Doctor
Hans Zander is a dedicated addiction specialist at U-center who has reviewed this page to ensure that all information is accurate and reliable.