Is Addiction Physical or Psychological?

The quick answer is, that it’s both.  It’s psychological and physical.

If you have developed an addiction, it means that physical changes have occurred in the circuitry and function of your brain. These are real physical changes to the cells in your brain.  Those changes interfere with how your brain functions – your psychology.

This leads to changes in how you think, feel, and what you do. It affects things like your general behaviour, your emotions, your assessment of risk, your impulse control and your decision-making.

These brain changes also include an extreme, abnormal increase in the strength of the desire to continue with your addiction.  Most people are unable to resist those abnormally strong temptations without outside help and support.

It’s like a perfect storm – all these physical and psychological changes combine to cause a loss of control over your intake of a drug, or your ability to resist the intense temptation to gamble, or to control your abnormal eating behaviour, or an obsessive need for porn or sex. Continue reading

Is Addiction a Lack of Willpower?

Here is a difficult idea for many people to understand and believe:

if you have developed an addiction, you aren’t really doing things as a result of free will, but as an uncontrollable response to the compelling drives that have hi-jacked your brain.  It is definitely not a lack of willpower that is forcing you to continue feeding your addiction.

Once an addiction has developed, scientific research has shown visible proof of changes in how your brain now works.   You now find that instead of being driven by the feelings of pleasure you used to get from your drug or behaviour, you experience intense psychological or even physical pain if you try to stop supplying your addiction with what it craves.

Your reasons for continuing with the problem behaviour have totally Continue reading

Is Alcoholic a Term of Abuse?

Sadly, many people in the general public believe that it is, and the word ‘alcoholic’ is used as a stigma, with the deliberate intention of expressing extreme disapproval – to make that person feel shame and humiliation.  If you label someone an alcoholic, it’s generally felt by that person to be an insult, as a stigma designed to cause them humiliation, and guilt.

One definition of ‘stigma’ is: Continue reading

Is Addict a Term of Abuse?

The general public often use the word Addict as a term of abuse, but it shouldn’t be.  It’s never a complement, but the degree of stigma associated with it depends on the setting where the word is used.  Within a group of people with an addiction, the word can be used as a simple description of someone, in the same way as they might describe someone as being homeless, or married. Continue reading