lifestyle life a long about illness not Addiction choice

Addiction is just a major health problem that costs around all other mental illnesses combined (about £40 billion per year) and about as much as cancer and cardiovascular disorders also.

At its core addiction is really a state of altered brain function that leads to fundamental changes in behavior which are manifest by repeated usage of alcohol or other drugs or doing activities such as for example gambling.  They are usually resisted, albeit unsuccessfully, by the addict.  The main element options that come with addiction is therefore a situation of habitual behaviour such as for instance drug taking or gambling that is initially enjoyable but which eventually becomes self-sustaining or habitual. The urge to take part in the behaviour becomes so powerful that it disrupts normal life often to the stage of overtaking work, personal relationships and family activities. At this time the person could be said to be addicted: the addict's every thought and action is directed to their addiction and everything else suffers.

If the addictive behaviour is extremely hard e.g. because they don't really have sufficient money then feelings of intense distress emerge. These may cause dangerously impulsive and sometimes aggressive actions.  In the event of drug/alcohol addiction the problem is compounded by the occurrence of withdrawal reactions which cause further distress and motivate desperate attempts to get more of the addictive agent. This urge to have the drug might be so overpowering that addicts will commit seemingly random crimes to obtain the resources to get more drug. It's been estimated that about 70% of most acquisitive crime is associated with drug and alcohol use.

Addiction is driven by a complex group of internal and external factors.  The external factors are well understood:  the more use of the specified drug or behaviour e.g. gambling the more addiction there is.

The inner factors are less clear. Although most addiction is always to alcohol and other drugs, addiction to gambling and other behaviours such as for instance sex or shopping can occur. These tell us that the brain can develop hard-to-control urges independent of changing its chemistry with drugs.  All addictions share a common thread in that they're initially pleasurable activities, often extremely enjoyable. This results in these behaviours hijacking the brain's normal pleasure systems in order that naturally enjoyable activities such as for example family life, work, exercise become devalued and the more excessive addiction behaviours take over.

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