lifestyle life a long about illness not Addiction choice

Addiction is a major health problem that costs as much as other mental illnesses combined (about £40 billion per year) and about around 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 can be manifest by repeated use of alcohol and other drugs or doing activities such as for instance gambling.  They're usually resisted, albeit unsuccessfully, by the addict.  The important thing top features of addiction is therefore a situation of habitual behaviour such as drug taking or gambling that's initially enjoyable but which eventually becomes self-sustaining or habitual. The urge to take part in the behaviour becomes so powerful so it interferes with normal life often to the point of overtaking work, personal relationships and family activities. Now the individual can be considered addicted: the addict's every thought and action is directed to their addiction and anything else suffers.

If the addictive behaviour is not possible e.g. because they don't really have sufficient money then feelings of intense distress emerge. These can 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 locate more of the addictive agent. This urge to obtain the drug may be so overpowering that addicts will commit seemingly random crimes to get the resources to get more drug. It has been estimated that about 70% of most acquisitive crime is related to drug and alcohol use.

Addiction is driven by a complicated pair 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 would be to alcohol and other drugs, addiction to gambling and other behaviours such as sex or shopping can occur. These reveal that the mind can develop hard-to-control urges independent of changing its chemistry with drugs.  All addictions share a common thread in they are initially pleasurable activities, often extremely enjoyable. This results in these behaviours hijacking the brain's normal pleasure systems to ensure 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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