(Government Website – National Institute of Drug Abuse)

Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to various substances (like drugs) and habits (like gambling, pornography, technology). It is often mistakenly assumed that those addicted lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using addictive substances and engaging in addictive habits by choosing to change their behaviour. In reality, all are complex diseases, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Similarly those with addictive habits behave this way primarily because their brain operates quite differently. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs and addictive habits work in/on the brain more so than ever before. We also know that addictions can be successfully be treated and with help how ordinary people with an addiction can stop and lead normal productive lives.

Drug abuse and behavioural addictions have negative consequences for ordinary people and for society. Estimates of the total overall costs of just substance abuse in the United States, including productivity and health- and crime-related costs, exceed $600 billion annually. This includes approximately $193 billion for illicit drugs, $193 billion for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol. As staggering as these numbers are, they do not fully describe the breadth of destruction on public health and the safety implications of drug abuse and addiction, such as family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, and child abuse.

The same applies to those addicted to habits such as gambling, pornography, computer application, etc. The US total cost is said to exceed a $trillion annually.  And if we were to regard obesity as an addiction (ie. a pre-occupation with food and its associated type 2 diabetes), the total would be even higher. Any form of addiction is corrosive, because it takes control of your priorities away from you. In reality, any form of addiction be it to power, status fame, heroin, etc., when anyone becomes greedy for more (of anything) you convince yourself that this will bring you closer to the summit of your ambition. For the addict can never get enough. The good news is that with any addict embracing a mindset shift, accepting specialist treatment and with social support their addiction can stop and they can return to making worthwhile contributions to society.

This series continues with an increased awareness of some of the more serious addictions, namely:-

To complete your “Awareness” of one of the above Addictions, simply “click” on one of the four associated “Addiction” buttons above.

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