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What is Addiction?

Are you addicted to Quick and Dirty Tips?  To Alcohol?  To World of Warcraft?  If so, this article is for you!

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
5-minute read
Episode #27

Only bad or dumb people get addicted. The behavior of the addict may be bad, but the thing that makes a person prone to addiction is their emotional state, not their moral character. Doctors and nurses, for example, have high rates of substance abuse. Nice people get addicted too, and their addictions are often overlooked.

The addict can’t control their behavior. A person does what they want to do, so each time an alcoholic drinks, he does so by choice. The root problem is what the addict wants, not what they do. They just want to indulge the addiction too much to quit.

The cure for addiction is willpower. Resisting an addiction by force of will is referred to by many as: “white knuckling.”  Though this rids the person of the behavior that results from the addiction, it doesn’t address the root problem and often leads to other problems, such as excessive anger or less obvious addictions like workaholism or compulsive eating.

Quick and Dirty Tips for Dealing with Addiction

So now here are my Quick and Dirty Tips for dealing with addictions:

Tip 1: Don’t be Surprised

Everyone has behaviors they use to escape and many people have behaviors that cause some harm. The high rate of obesity in the U.S. is a good example. If you look in your own life, you will probably have an addiction of some sort. The consequences of the addiction are what determine how seriously to take it.

Tip 2: Face Reality

Addictions are real and very hard to break out of. The first necessary step needed to deal with them is to admit that they exist. Even if you don’t struggle with an addiction, chances are good that someone around you does.

Tip 3: Don’t Take Them Lightly

Serious addictions are very hard to deal with. Counseling and recovery groups make getting out of a destructive addiction much more likely. Getting counseling and taking part in a recovery group can be very hard, but doing so will make a huge difference.

Tip 4: Don’t Make Excuses

Excuses are the main roadblock that keeps people from overcoming destructive addictions. The first step to recovery is to accept responsibility for your actions. People with addictions are often surrounded by others who enable the addiction by making excuses for them. That doesn’t  justify the addiction, but it certainly makes it harder to recover when others are not facing reality and are instead acting as enablers.

Tip 5: Seek Professional Help

The withdrawal from many substances like alcohol and drugs can be quite terrible and even life-threatening. If the addiction is bad, it may even merit hospitalization to deal with withdrawal.

There is a lot more to say on this subject. It’s a real hard one. I am still trying to overcome my addiction to playing Bejeweled. But there is hope, even for those whose lives seem to be falling apart.

If you have questions you want answered, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com. You can find me on Twitter as @housecalldoc and on Facebook under “House Call Doctor.”

Let me remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time!  Stay Healthy!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
 

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Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.