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The Addiction Phenomenon

Addiction is one of the greatest problems that our modern society is facing. People are becoming addicted to drugs, coffee, TV, internet, games - and these are just a few of them. After drug addiction, computer addiction is a problem that is sky-rocketing.

dual addictionIn order to understand the phenomenon let’s take a closer look at the definitions:

Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance. The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse. Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviors or activities. There is a growing recognition that many addicts, such as polydrug abusers, are addicted to more than one substance or process.

addiction /ad·dic·tion/ (ah-dik´shun)

1. the state of being given up to some habit or compulsion.

2. strong physiological and psychological dependence on a drug or other psychoactive substance.

addiction [Ydik2shYn] -a compulsive, uncontrollable dependence on a chemical substance, habit, or practice to such a degree that either the means of obtaining or ceasing use may cause severe emotional, mental, or physiologic reactions.

(source: Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007; Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009)

Some researchers speak of two types of addictions: substance addictions (for example, alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking); and process addictions (for example, gaming, gambling, computer, spending, shopping, eating, and sexual activity).

Computer addiction (it includes video game addiction, internet addiction): A disorder in which the individual turns to the Internet or plays computer games in an attempt to change moods, overcome anxiety, deal with depression, reduce isolation or loneliness, or distract themselves from over whelming problems. The elderly, as well as children and adolescents, are particularly vulnerable because they may not realize the extent of their dependency. In many instances, individuals with computer addiction may seek help for another condition, such as depression, phobias or other addictions.


So how we become addicted? In certain areas of the brain when dopamine is released it gives one the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction. These feelings of satisfaction become desired, and the person will grow a desire for the satisfaction. To satisfy that desire the person will repeat behaviors that cause the release of dopamine. Often these behaviors can result in addiction due their effect on dopamine, and that addiction can have negative effects on a person's well-being.

The Time Magazine made a poll about the most common addiction and here are the observations they made.

Drugs: An estimated 3.6 million people are dependent on drugs. On average, 8.000 try them for the first time each day, and 700.000 are undergoing treatment for addiction. More than half of first-time users are female and younger than 18.

Tobacco: There are about 71.5 million users of tobacco products in the U.S. About 23.4% of men and 18.5 of women are cigarette smokers, with cigarette use lowest in Western states and highest in the Midwest; 44.3% of young adults ages 18 to 25 use tobacco, the highest rate for any age group.

Internet: Like compulsive gambling, Internet addiction is thought to be an impulse-control disorder that can disrupt social relationships. There is disagreement as to whether is should be formally considered a disorder. Though substance abusers strive for abstinence, an Internet addict’s goal is often to attain moderation.

Gambling: Two million American adults, or 0.67% of the population, are thought to be pathological gamblers, wagering heedless of the consequences. Their moods generally follow the arc of their winning and losing. An additional 4 to 8 million are considered problem gamblers.

Caffeine: It’s the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world and is routinely ingested by about 80% to 90% of Americans, primarily through soda and coffee. A daily brewed cup of joe, with 100 mg of cafferine can lead to physical dependence/ Withdrawal symptoms are experienced by 40% to 70% of those trying to quit.

Sex: About 16 million Americans suffer from compulsive sexual behavior, the least understood of all addictions. A third are women; about 60% of all sex addicts were abused in childhood. An addict is dependent on the neurochemical changes that take place during sex and is consumed by sexual thoughts.

Food: An addiction to food effects as many as 4 million U.S adults and is strongly linked to depression. About 15% of mildly obese people are compulsive eaters. Binge eating, thought to be the most common eating dissorder in America, is considered bulimia when a person purges to lose weight.

It’s amazing how all this disorders are dealt with in present day society. Some of them like computer games are over-looked and considered an ok-past time activity. Many of us often neglect them or under-realize all the severe implications they have about our day to day life.