What is addiction and what causes it?

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What is addiction and what causes it?

I have had such an incredible response to my addiction website and to me eBook sharing stories from my life when I was using and drinking.

One of the questions that people regularly ask me is what is addiction and what causes it.

There seems to be a bit of confusion about what addiction actually is. Is someone an addict when they can't go a certain amount of time without using drugs or is it someone that uses over a certain amount of drugs in a short space of time?

It is actually neither of these things. There are some addicts or alcoholics that use very little and not all the time.

The thing here is what happens to that person when they use the drugs or drink. Yes they are usually dependent and use a lot but when you lose complete control of yourself and become a different person is when the problem comes in.

Some people can drink 6 beers and still be the same person, while others can have one drink and become a wife beater.

I answered a question on Quora a while back which got a few people annoyed but when I responded to their negativity to my answer it appears they deleted their comments.

Anyway what happened is someone asked if he is an alcoholic, does he need to control his drinking?

My response is that if you are wondering whether you are an alcoholic chances are that you probably are.

I mean think about it right? If you don't drink too much and you don't have a need to control your drinking why would you wonder if you need to control your drinking?

It is highly unlikely that a normal (ie non-alcoholic) would wonder if they need to control themselves when they drink right?

Now what causes drug addiction or alcoholism?

Very often an addiction or alcoholism runs in a family, so there is a genetic component. My uncle was an alcoholic and I have a first cousin that is also an addict. So this gene runs in my family.

There are also some people that have a disposition towards addiction and either through heavy use or abuse of a substance that addiction takes hold, and/ or there is an event in the addict's life that sparks off the addiction.

For me there was a series of traumatic events in my teens that sparked off my addiction, but I still truly believe that my addiction would have taken hold of me sooner of later so I don't blame what happened to me.

I remember when I was about 5 years old stealing the Stopayne and drinking it out the bottle. I believe I was born an addict.

So I look at it similar like diabetes.

It can run in families, so there is a genetic component. You can be born with it or you can become diabetic later on in your life through the lifestyle that you lead.

If you eat too much sugar and high GI foods throughout your life you can get diabetes. However some people can eat loads of sugar their whole life and never get diabetes and others have just a little and they get diabetes quickly.


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awesome topic Lynne! i love how you are so open to come forward about your hardships and your past. not a lot of people like to let the skeletons out of their closets. it just goes to show that you have moved forward and that part of your life is now closed and in the past, which is outstanding and I give you 1000 thumbs up!

you are a very brave person! and i commend you for your honesty and determination to try and reach as many people as you can! you explained addiction and alcoholism really well. i agree with what you said to that guy, if he asking and wondering if he needs to control his drinking, then yes there is obviously a problem there. lol addiction is also like always constantly needing that drug or that bottle of liquor along with all the other things you stated! addiction is a disease and its a serious one and needs to be treated seriously. a lot of police are so willing to just throw people in jail when in actuality that's not what they need, they need guidance and structure and proof that life is worth living if you are doing the right thing.

thanks for sharing Lynne!

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Oh yes Ermini What is addiction and what causes it? I have seen a lot of interesting discussions online, one where someone said all drug addicts should be locked up. I just wonder where the line gets drawn. Like I am a drug addict but I am clean so do I get locked up or can I live in society like everyone else?

Does that apply to only addicts that are addicted to illegal substances or does it also apply to people that are hooked on pharmaceutical meds? What about alcoholics? How is alcohol safer than say cocaine or marijuana?

Addiction is, like you said, a disease and it really needs to be treated as such. People need to get help for their problem.

I am not saying someone that commits a crime while high should be excused and not locked up, but to be locked up just based on the fact that you are an addict is ludicrous.

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I agree with everything you said Lynne and you really hit it on the nose. I am an alcoholic but i choose to drink occasionally and when i do drink i never get drunk. I use to drink everyday without fail sometimes in the morning. I would go out to the bar and wake up in my bed not remembering how i got home. My father was also an alcoholic and he was worst and still is worst than me. He can drink from sun up to sun down without getting sick i cannot. For my addiction i had to decide whether drinking and getting drunk was more important or being able to enjoy drinking and for the most part staying sober. I will not have more than 2 drinks a week and when i do drink my main focus is NOT getting drunk. Thank you for sharing awesome topic.

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Hi Jkeyz2 that is exactly it! Having to control your drink is where the difference comes in between normal people and alcoholics.

I was never able to control my drinking or my using of drugs. Once I have had one drink I would lose all control. Yes sometimes I would just have one or two but there were plenty of times I told myself I would just have one but I would drink until I passed out.

Oh and I did not become a very nice person when I drank or used drugs. I was not a very nice person at all while I was in active addiction.

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I still consider myself an alcoholic for sure because sometimes its hard for me to control my drinking. Its like once i start i cant stop, trust me im with you. I was also not a nice person when i was drinking all the time not to mention i was always sick. Being out of commission all day because i drank to much the night before had to stop. Few ways i keep myself from over doing it, I don't drink when im angry sad etc. If i know everyone around me is focused on getting wasted i wont drink. Influence by your peers can be horrible and when your drunk you will almost do anything they do. I am far from perfect and i have a lot to work on still but its a life long struggle. Thank you for understanding and making this topic.

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Have you ever heard the saying "One is too many and a thousand is not enough"?

Have you ever considered going to an alcoholics anonymous meeting? I love AA and it helped me to change my life and find true happiness.

I know that feeling all too well that you have and in all honesty it is so much easier to not drink at all than to worry about what will happen when and if you have that one drink!

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I think an addiction is the act of taking or doing things to the extent one can't live without them.Addiction can sometimes be very difficult to overcome and can become a disease unless it treated properly.

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I think that addiction are the people who has no control over what they doing, taking or using.Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate - in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence.Addiction to substances or activities can sometimes lead to serious problems at home, work, school and socially.

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Yes people indeed have no control over it. And they seem to be in repetition of the things. And they are trying to escape from things they are not aware of. So it all comes down to how things are being handled. You can see that addiction requires some level of efforts to let go. And for that it is not something people are going to have things easier. I have found out that there are many reasons that causes it but we have to learn from the mistakes.

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Great post Lynne! I loved it. It needs a lot of determination and confidence to reveal our personal issues to help other people out there. I am very glad you made that!

I am too an addict, a tea addict. Although, I know drinking tea frequently can be harmful to health; I really can't get rid of that addiction. I feel very anxious when I can't get some tea for myself.

I have been trying hard to overcome this. I hope one day I 'll be free myself from the addiction. Because, it feels like kind of dependence, which I hate.

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Thanks for sharing us your personal experience and your very own opinion on the matter. Clearly most of the time people will go to the fact that an addiction might be hereditary since his/her father, grandfather, brother, sister or mother and most of their relative and their ancestry do have a long history of having these kind of problems. I relate to this problem as most of my relatives on the side of my father has long history of dealing, and using illegal drugs, smoking cigarettes, alcoholic problems, womanizer, mental behavior problems you name one we had one.

Although I can certainly say that I'm not going to be one of those anywhere in the future as I do have a mother who teaches me teaches values of having life that I can be proud of. I admit though that at one point in my life I get addicted on playing computer games and I'm almost in the front of computer more than 12 hours a day for a year. But that's the only addiction I can think of that I had on my early years.

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Depression drives addiction. Addiction is common because depression is driven by so many things in life. Failing at something important or something you're passionate about. Heart break, being broken up with, someone cheating on you. The death of a close friend or family member. A person you care about getting sick, the loss of a pet, etc. The trick is, what kind of addiction you spiral into and how fast can you pull out of it? Food addictions are the least threatening as they can be broken easily. Online addictions depends on what you've gotten hooked onto. Gaming? Can be parlayed into something valuable. Porn? Not so much. Alcohol and drugs are the most harmful addictions.

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In my opinion addiction is something that is meant to be done when we have some void to fill. And in such case it'd be reasonable to say that some addictions are harder to recover from. You have to understand that addiction is sort of run away mechanism our mind uses to keep us away from anxiety. Nobody gets into alcohol addiction, sex addiction, internet addiction, gaming addiction by accident. They are running away from something. And that's what is going to cause it to stop most of the time.

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Addiction to me is when a person wants to do a certain thing over and over again even though he/she knows it is bad for him/her. I never consider it as a hobby because a hobby is something you love to do. Addiction is something you want to do but at the same time you affect someone or yourself in a bad way. It i hard to go out of addiction. So you must control yourself and think carefully in deciding things before you act.

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Addiction can be very bad and have detrimental effects in the long run. My cousin grew up playing video games and he is an addict. He can play for about 15 hours on a daily basis and he prefers to stay at home than going out most of the times. He can't get over his addiction for video games. His parents have taken him to several doctors but my cousin just doesn't follow any of the advice. He does not interact with anyone and is very shy. Even his results have been deteriorating due to his addiction. His parents are unsure what to do next. They are still looking for a solution.

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Being addicted is all about not developing that attitude of self control in what we do in life. I've got a friend that always drink and before you discover what is happening, he is now addicted to drinking in the sense that a day doesn't pass without him taking a bottle of beer and such actions are what I don't really like as a person. We should learn to control ourselves in every thing that we do in life.

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Addiction has some biological roots. Some activities that we do determine our brains to release some hormones that can take over our whole system. That's how we become addicted to things and we feel like if we can't live without them. Even if it's about smoking, or drinking, or loving someone, addiction is everywhere and it can appear in many forms. Some addictions are good, meaning that they don't harm us ( like my addiction to music) but others can be dangerous to our health and we need to seek help from a specialist in order to quit them. In general, with a lot of power of will, every addiction can be killed. The person needs to understand that it's bad, and to really want to quit the addictive action.

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My dad used to drink a glass of beer every day after work for a quite long time, at the start I wasn't paying attention to that, but after a few years his tradition started to become more and more aggressive. When he started to get drunk very often, I was in shock and I didn't know what to do. I realized that my dad is becoming an alcoholic and I had to do something with that. He agreed to start a treatment session at which helped him well. Since then he never faced the felling to taste alcohol again

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