Psychology of Addiction

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Addiction is an age old phenomenon that has existed and has been persisting since centuries, the only difference being in its acknowledgement. People have and always will be physically and psychologically dependant on some external stimulant to provide them gratification, enjoyment and satisfaction, but when the person’s dependency on a certain activity or a substance becomes gratuitously obsessive then it becomes an addiction. The contentment or the happiness originally associated with that stimulant ceases to be the sole purpose of being involved with it, and gradually the pleasure giving substance or the activity becomes the life line of an individual and becomes a very crucial part of his existence and survival.

Unlike old school of thoughts addiction as in contemporary sense need not be confined to just drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex. Today addiction is measured on a much wider platform and need not be only restricted to substance related external factors. It includes all abnormal and nonstandard behaviour and unusual dependency on any particular thing or activity, let it be, food, net surfing, gambling, kleptomania, drinking, workaholic behavioural disorder, pornography, excessive shopping,or for that matter even spiritual obsession.

Addiction is a psychological, social, and a genetic process. The persistent and unrelenting craving signals received by theindividual can only be calmed or soothed down by temporarily altering the chemical functioning and the setting of the brain cells. The addictive substance or the compulsive activity inspire, motivate and nourishes the pleasure seeking chemicals in the brain and this compelling, neurotic and repetitive dependency on these factors ultimately take over the control of individual’s life. Withdrawing or keeping a person away from their addiction often manifests in psychological actions like anxiety, depression and restlessness.

The psychology of addiction has time and again proved that an addiction is a predominantly mind related and can only be overcome through sheer self control and determination. When looking closely at the root cause of addiction one would observe that it is always preceded by a feeling of defencelessness, vulnerability and hopelessness. It is a simultaneous and instantaneous process of focussing and being abnormally involved in a particular behaviour or activity whilst at the same time diverting or cutting off from other behaviours. To develop a better understanding of the psychology of addiction an explanation for the occurrence of this problem at an individual and social level is of utmost importance. Addiction psychology is a highly complex experience gripped in an inextricable web of psychological, social, and environmental factors.

Until and unless an individual himself wants to be cured of his addiction no clinical treatment is suffice. The therapy and prevention of this so called disease is primarily a psychological process and is all mind related and hence only through will of power and strength of mind one can free oneself from his obsession.

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