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How to Deal With Addiction

Updated on February 13, 2014

DISCLAIMER: I am not a health care professional. Please seek the advice of your doctor before you change your diet, exercise program, or make any other lifestyle changes.

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The Definition of Addiction and Alcoholism

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of addiction is, “...the sate of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”

According to medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com, the definition of addiction is, “...a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance . The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse. Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviors or activities. Some researchers speak of two types of addictions: substance addictions (for example, alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking); and process addictions (for example, gambling, spending, shopping, eating, and sexual activity). There is a growing recognition that many addicts, such as polydrug abusers, are addicted to more than one substance or process.”

Legally Addictive Drugs

Of course if your doctor has prescribed any of the above and you have proof, such as a copy of the prescription or the prescription bottle itself, you are taking addictive drugs legally. Avoid this if at all possible. It will be best for you in the long run. Now, here are other drugs that are legal and should be monitored if you are taking them:

  • Salvia Divinorium is an ancient, natural herb used by the inhabitants of southern Mexico that causes hallucinations and is only legal in some states. It causes changes in mood, cognition and behavior.
  • Incense or Spice is a harmless mix of herbs for the sole purpose of using as incense. However, because there are those who have come up with a synthetic compound that imitates the effects of THC, the active ingredient in Marijuana. They mix this compound with the incense, and it causes the same or more potent high than natural Marijuana. This drug is only legal in certain states, yet becoming an illegal controlled substance in more states as legislation is increasingly being passed. There has not been any clinical testing with definitive results regarding the short term and long term consequences for the use of this drug.
  • Tobacco is a stimulant, although users seem to think it relaxes them. Physically, that is not the case. It is legal for anyone 18 years of age or older to possess it. If it doesn’t kill you, it will definitely lower your quality of life, drastically.
  • Nasal Sprays when abused can cause a person to have difficulty breathing through their nose because the use of nasal sprays has caused the sinuses and membranes to learn to depend on the sprays to do all the work and, therefore, shut down.
  • Sugar is a very common addiction. If sugar and simple carbohydrates are consumed in excess, lack of the substances, over a certain period of time, will cause one to have mood swings, severe shaking, and possibly other physical consequences.
  • Caffeine is an ingredient in chocolate, soda, coffee, and tea. It is fine to consume it in moderation. However, the person who uses this drug on a frequent basis will find psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when they go without it.
  • Alcohol such as wine, beer, or liquor is legal for those 21 years of age or older to possess it, and it is considered a depressant. It is highly addictive if used on a regular basis.
  • Cough Suppressants usually include alcohol as a main ingredient, and is completely legal for people of all ages. Abuse of this substance has physical, and sometimes irreversible, consequences.
  • Over The Counter Sleep Aids like nasal sprays, with excessive use, can cause the brain to develop the habit of allowing the drug to put you to sleep instead of naturally going to sleep on your own.
  • Other household products can be used as inhalants to get high, such as glue, whipped cream cans, and other cleaning products. These substances can be fatal if inhaled or ingested.

Addictive Substances

  • Opiates, a narcotic opioid, such as Heroin, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Morphine are natural opioids deriving from the poppy plant. However, fillers and other pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin are added to the tablet form of this drug. Hydrocodone and Oxymorphone are also partially synthetic opioids. These drugs are sedatives and may be prescribed because there are certain health benefits including pain management.
  • Cocaine, such as crack and powder cocaine are alkaloids and a derivative of the coca leaf. Although the coca leaf is a natural plant, cocaine and other derivatives are processed and altered to make the street drug as we know it. These drugs are stimulants, and used to be prescribed for anesthetic purposes many decades ago.
  • Amphetamines, Methamphetamines and Designer Amphetamines are psycho stimulants. They include Speed, Adderall, Crystal Meth, MDMA (Ecstasy) and all are synthetic. Most of these drugs are used as party drugs. However, they used to be prescribed for certain health benefits such as weight loss, and some are still prescribed to treat Narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults and children.
  • Barbiturates like Nembutal, Phenobarbital, and Seconal are depressants and synthetic. These drugs may be legally prescribed by a doctor because there are certain health benefits including treatment for mental health diseases and some heart diseases.
  • Benzodiazepines which include Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Librium, and Valium are sedatives and also synthetics. These drugs may be legally prescribed by a doctor because there are certain health benefits including anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia benefits.
  • Marijuana, such as pot, weed and hash are sedatives and are directly from the hemp plant, usually unaltered. Cannabis is a depressant, and recently legalized in 13 states to be prescribed for medical purposes including glaucoma, chronic pain, anxiety, chronic stomach ailments, and treatment for certain cancers. *There are no studies that prove marijuana to be physically addictive, however psychological addiction is possible.
  • Hallucinogens include LSD and PCP, which are synthetics, and mushrooms which are a natural fungus found growing in cow dung which is illegal in most states and never prescribed by a medical professional.

Are you or a loved one an addict? Think about your drug or behavior of choice and answer the following questions.


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How to Recognize Addictive Behaviors

  • Food is one of the most difficult addictions to treat because it is necessary to survive. This is a behavioral addiction that needs to be controlled with the help of a medical doctor or mental health doctor. Obesity contributes to many life threatening diseases.
  • Work is another common behavioral addiction. A balanced life is what we should be striving for. It is understandable that someone needs or wants to earn money to provide for the family or simply just to have nice things. However, work usually involves stress, and too much stress is not healthy. It will kill you. It will also cause problems in an otherwise healthy relationship.
  • Sex can also be an addiction. If you and your monogamous partner are in agreement and it doesn’t interfere with your responsibilities, it probably isn’t a problem. However, if you are promiscuous, it is easy to fall into a situation that could contribute to hardships in life, as well as, life threatening diseases.
  • Hygiene is extremely important. However, if you aren’t comfortable touching anything in your own home or other people, especially loved ones without hand sanitizer or constantly washing your hands, you may want to see a health care professional. Complete elimination of germs weakens the immune system by not allowing your body to build anti-bodies to the minor diseases in the world. This could eventually cause danger if you are exposed to more serious illnesses since your body won’t know how to fight it off. I'm not recommending you never wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Just don't become obsessive.
  • Games, Computers, and Television may not be life threatening, but too much time playing or watching has the same negative effects on your family as does the “workaholic” and it is not contributory to a healthy relationship leaving you emotionally at risk.
  • Exercise like food, is essential for a healthy body. Again, too much of anything isn’t good. If you are spending an excessive amount of time at the gym on a regular basis, you could be over working your body and neglecting your family.
  • Spending Money can also be addictive. Gambling can wreak havoc on your family's budget, as can excessive and unnecessary shopping. These are irresponsible acts, and can cause you and your family to lose what you've worked so hard for. It is not wise when attempting to build a healthy relationship.

Smoking Cigarettes

Codependency: Stop enabling your addict and get help for both of you!

The Common Behaviors of an Addict

  1. Addicts are good at deflecting the conversation causing a mishap (spill or fall)
  2. Addicts are good at turning the conversation into the direction of your faults, often blaming you for their actions.
  3. Addicts are good at making excuses, such as: a bad day, doctor’s orders (even if it’s not exactly what the doctor said), you put too much pressure on them, etc.
  4. Addicts are good at minimizing the problem. For example, you may hear, “I work hard, do the best I can, what is wrong with me having a beer or two?” or “I am so stressed out, I just need a little something to relax.”
  5. Addicts are good at expressing anger when they feel you have backed them into a corner. This could become violent so be prepared with a plan of escape.
  6. Addicts are good at blaming you for their violent behavior possibly saying, you made them angry.
  7. Addicts are good at apologizing, begging and crying for forgiveness because they will never behave that way again. They usually mean what they say, but unfortunately, it is probably out of their control.
  8. Addicts are good at being jovial and fun at parties, work, or family reunions in order to get people (primarily your family) to like them, therefore discrediting you if you go to them for help or advice regarding the addiction issue.
  9. Addicts usually have mood swings and are unpredictable.
  10. Addicts usually have a great way of making you feel responsible for their actions, and isolating you from your friends and family to be sure you aren’t influenced to believe anything other than what they want you to believe.

LSD - Hallucinogens (WARNING - DISTURBING VIDEO) This is a young Russian man, and the sound is a bit off. You will get the lesson, however. Just watch.

Too drunk to have fun
Too drunk to have fun | Source

How to Handle the Manipulative Ways of the Addict

  1. Always speak calmly and rationally. No shouting. When somebody shouts, nobody listens. Use words like "I feel", "It scares me", or "I don't like" as opposed to the blaming word "you" as in "you are doing this" or "you are making me upset".
  2. Always set boundaries, and refuse to let the addict belittle you, lie to you, or blame you for their actions. Everyone is responsible for their own actions...AND REACTIONS. Calmly call them out on it.
  3. Always be confident and honest, and admit your mistakes too. If you admit your faults, the addict can’t accuse you of thinking you are better than (s)he which will start another argument, and put you on the defensive, ignoring the problem of the addict.
  4. Always find a way to communicate. If you cannot have a calm, rational discussion, write letters or email. NEVER TRY TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE IF THE ADDICT IS DRUNK OR HIGH!!
  5. Always agree to support the addict and go to meetings or counseling if they are considering it, and be prepared with local programs, meetings, and counselors so that you can make appointments right away.
  6. Always LEAVE A HOSTILE SITUATION IMMEDIATELY!! You may try to organize an intervention with loved ones including those the addict trusts, at a later date.
  7. Always pray together. Pray alone or with other loved ones, if the addict doesn’t want to participate.

Don't Put Your Loved Ones or Yourself Through This! Please!

Addiction is a disease. It can be controlled. Just like many potentially life threatening diseases, the recovery process is grueling and painful. As horrible as the process may be, it can give the addict a new way to live a happy, healthy life. It's up to the addict to decide.

If this article has helped you realize how serious addiction of any type can be, then I’ve done my job. I hope and pray that those of you, who need help, whether it is you or a loved one, get what you need so that you can live a long, peaceful, productive life. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have questions or would just like to say something.

"Be kind to one another" ~ Ellen

God Bless You ~ Margaret Sullivan

There is Help

Spaulding Rehab Hosptial in Boston, MA
Spaulding Rehab Hosptial in Boston, MA | Source

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 4 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks so much for your input, jessesToons!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, brake12. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I appreciate your compliments.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      You have written a very comprehensive article about addiction. You must have spent time doing research, and it shows in your hub. I hope that many people will read it that might need help, as you have covered those options very well. I even remember that a person wrote a hub about being addicted to eating dust. Addictions are so horrendous, and so many need help. Thumbs up for trying to help them.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I'm glad you're doing okay now, Peanutritious. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      An excellent hub. I've struggled with addiction in the past and always will. It took me to the brink of hell. The video's were very powerful. The LSD one in particular was terrifying.

    • ElizaDoole profile image

      Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

      Some of that was hard to watch and read. Uncomfortable viewing. Don't take drugs kids! Just don't!

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thankfully I do not have anyone in my family that has any of these problems but my heart goes out to the ones that do. I see those commercials for the show Intervention and I can;t imagine what it is like to be in a house with someone struggling with an addiction.

      Voted up and interesting

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 5 years ago from Billings, Montana

      Is it not true that anything that causes us to experience a certain sense that seems good, can 'addict' us to a certain behavior? Isn't that like getting caught in a labyrinth of sorts in our brain?

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I hadn't heard of attention or approval addiction. That is new to me, but I'll look it up and spend some time researching it.

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for commenting, ShalahChayilJOY!

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 5 years ago from Billings, Montana

      Excellent information! If only we could foresee what might happen if we do certain things. Yes, food most definitely is a very major issue-false sense of comfort that only causes larger problems and issues. Appreciate immensely your HUB. Did you ever hear of 'attention addiction' or 'approval addiction' or are those somehow intertwined in 'work' addiction. Just wondering out loud..

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thanks again, teaches! I am always happy to read your comments!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you so much for sharing, SofienParisien! You have contributed such valuable information.

    • SofienParisien profile image

      SofienParisien 5 years ago from Tunisia

      Thank you.

      for alcoholics : take a look on this 30 day stop drinking challenge course http://tiny.cc/4v3tew

      (it may be help you)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am with you on number 7: prayer does make a great deal of difference in any type of problem. Great topic and so well delivered! Hope many find this one and get some much need help.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you alliemacb! I appreciate your comment.

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

      A useful and informative hub. So many people's lives are blighted by addiction and this gives some good advice. Voted up

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks for sharing this information. Addiction is one of the easiest habits to pick yet so hard to drop.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you, Marcy. I wasn't referring to cooking spices, however. Spice, K2, Incense are the new synthetic marijuana. Up until recently it couldn't be detected in one's system, so it has been a new drug...totally legal. However, many states are outlawing it and there is now a way to test for it.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a thorough and helpful hub! I think all of us know someone who struggles with a form of addiction, whether it's smoking, drinking, drugs, food or whatever. It can be so hard to recognize the symptoms, and even more difficult to know how to deal with the situation or relationship.

      I had no idea spices could be addictive - but it makes sense. You have included some great information here. Thanks so much for publishing this!

      Voted up and up, and shared!