No More Cravings: Here Are Some Addiction Antidotes
Addiction is like a black hole, the more you get sucked in, the harder it is to escape. Fight them by following the mantra of identification, acceptance, and action.
When we hear the word “addiction” or “addict”, our brain automatically builds a mental image of someone who’s intoxicated by substances. Well, here’s the real deal - there’s more to addictions than substance abuse. They come in many forms, and many of us may unknowingly be suffering from them on a day-to-day basis.
What does it mean?
The American Society of Addiction Medicine classifies addiction as a disease. Medical News Today defines addiction as an inability to stop using a substance or engaging in a behaviour even though it is causing physical and psychological harm.
Signs of addiction
Some of the symptoms are reflected in the form of engaging in the addiction frequently:
Thinking about it in its absence.
Feeling helpless and a loss of control when you try to fight it.
Relapsing even if you decide to stay away from your addiction.
Types of addictions
Broadly speaking, addiction can be classified into two categories: substance addiction and behavioural addiction.
1. Substance addiction
Substance addiction, also known as chemical addiction, chemical dependency, and physical addiction, is exactly what the name suggests - the inability to control the use of drugs, medicines, and related substances.
Common substances include alcohol, nicotine (found in cigarettes), herbs like cannabis, and drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.
Being addicted to substances takes a huge toll on a person’s life. While still consuming them, the person might develop a tolerance for them, which is even more dangerous. Simply put, building tolerance to a substance means that your capacity for consumption increases.
Thus, you don't experience the same level of intoxication when you consume the same amount as earlier. This means you would have to consume larger amounts to feel intoxicated. Tolerance to substances keeps increasing along with their intake.
Commonly observed symptoms and issues that arise after substance dependency include intense cravings, building tolerance to them, and constantly thinking about your next use.
You can also keep getting lost in thoughts, wondering about its nirvana, intensely planning out means to get them and feeling helpless in places when you can’t access them, inability to stop using them, and experiencing withdrawal or relapse when you finally quit them.
Effects on daily life
In your daily life, you observe a steady downfall in your personal and professional life. From concentration and work output to your relationships and friendship, all go for a toss. Keeping aside the direct symptoms of addiction, these substances, if used or abused, are extremely harmful to your health.
Different substances have different negative effects on your health, such as alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), different forms of cancer, complexities in cardiovascular and neurological health, and brain damage. These substances can even prove to be fatal.
2. Behavioural addiction
In behavioural addiction, the addicted individual experiences an inability to stop or control doing specific behaviours which temporarily bring them feelings of happiness, pleasure, or an “escape” from life.
These behaviours, if not checked and controlled, can lead up to a complete lifestyle dysfunction and loss of willpower.
Types of behavioural addictions
Many of us don’t realise that we may be addicted to some behaviours - if not intensely - to some extent. Some common forms of behavioural addictions are being addicted to scrolling through social media, internet surfing, binge eating, gaming, sleeping, shopping, sleeping, and binge-watching shows and movies.
There is also a range of positive behaviours which might come under behavioural addiction, depending on the situation, such as workaholism and exercising.
For example, a person might be so addicted to their profession that they constantly immerse themselves in work and spend the majority of their time working.
It can be caused by anything, like trying to keep yourself occupied to avoid a problem and escape from it or wanting to achieve power and status.
Like any addict with substance abuse, people with Behavioural addiction also feel uneasy and show symptoms when they don't get to behave according to their addiction.
How to fight the evil
Addiction is a journey. If it is intense, you can’t expect to wake up one day without needing the source of your addiction anymore. It starts somewhere, gradually becomes a habit, and intensifies.
Once you decide to quit, you walk the path of your quitting journey, which comes with lots of bumps to deal with. Here are a few ways in which you can start this journey to fight the evil of addiction.
Become aware. Identify your addiction, the symptoms, how it is affecting your life, and accept without shame what you’re going through.
Make a decision that you will quit. Start to consciously avoid consuming or doing what you’re addicted to.
Keep telling yourself that this substance or act is harming you. You can meditate on this thought, speak it out loud, journal it, and even say affirmations.
Talk to someone you trust about it. Try taking therapy or professional treatment for it if it is too intense.
Work on a hobby that you enjoy when your mind wanders towards wanting what you’re addicted to.
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