‘Addict’ is a label that is often thrown around without much thought. If someone likes something a little too much, they’re considered an addict in the eyes of their entourage.
Addiction is not a quirky way to describe someone’s love and passion for a hobby. The reality is that addiction and negative stereotypes are causing fewer people to seek help, according to Recovery Lighthouse’s website, an addiction recovery clinic. Due to a fear of judgment and rejection, addicts often suffer alone and in silence.
How does addiction start though? An addiction is when people lose control over their consumption behaviours as well as the freedom to stop despite the consequences. Lacking self-esteem or being fueled with high levels of anxiety can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and sadness, due to missing their family and friends.
This loneliness may be the door that lets an addiction makes its way into their life. A person may perceive the consumption of certain substances as helping them cope with their negative feelings. The substance brings instant gratification – a phenomenon where a desire for instant happiness causes the person to do certain acts in order to feel better right away.
Sometimes it’s merely habit-related. Imagine someone drinks every single day at a certain time. The repetition becomes a habit and triggers a need. An addiction will start to form, not only when the person obsessively thinks about drinking, but when habits result in negative consequences. Such consequences can be social isolation from being in a state of enormous exhaustion, caused by the physical and mental toll of over-consumption.
Other symptoms of addiction include depression and high levels of anxiety during periods of withdrawal. Some may become aggressive. Even when the desire is present, cutting back altogether can be difficult when emotions the addiction helped cope with were never really dealt with.
The victim may not be aware of what they’re going through. It is important never to judge a person who is suffering from addiction: you’re never alone.
Graphic by @sundaeghost