lifestyle life a long about illness not Addiction choice

Addiction is just 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 a state of altered brain function that results in fundamental changes in behavior which can be manifest by repeated utilization of alcohol or other drugs or participating in activities such as for example gambling.  They're usually resisted, albeit unsuccessfully, by the addict.  The key options that come with addiction is therefore a situation of habitual behaviour such as for example drug taking or gambling that's initially enjoyable but which eventually becomes self-sustaining or habitual. The urge to participate in the behaviour becomes so powerful that it disrupts normal life often to the stage of overtaking work, personal relationships and family activities. Now anyone may be considered addicted: the addict's every thought and action is directed to their addiction and the rest suffers.

If the addictive behaviour is difficult e.g. because they do not have sufficient money then feelings of intense distress emerge. These can result in dangerously impulsive and sometimes aggressive actions.  In case of drug/alcohol addiction the specific situation is compounded by the occurrence of withdrawal reactions which cause further distress and motivate desperate attempts to find more of the addictive agent. This urge to have the drug might be so overpowering that addicts will commit seemingly random crimes to have the resources to buy more drug. It has been estimated that about 70% of acquisitive crime is related to drug and alcohol use.

Addiction is driven by a complicated set of internal and external factors.  The external factors are well understood:  the more access to the specified drug or behaviour e.g. gambling the more addiction there is.

The interior factors are less clear. Although most addiction is always to alcohol and other drugs, addiction to gambling and other behaviours such as for example sex or shopping can occur. These tell us 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 in order that naturally enjoyable activities such as family life, work, exercise become devalued and the more excessive addiction behaviours take over.

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