Facts on Addiction – What is Addiction?

Facts on Addiction – What is Addiction?

The word “addiction” is derived from the Latin term for ‘enslaved by’ or ‘bound to’.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a condition where someone is addicted to a substance or activity. Addiction becomes a routine and more than just a habit. It creates dependence, fixation, weakness, compulsion, and cravings.

What causes Addiction?

The causes of addiction obviously vary considerably and are very hard to understand. Especially for the people looking in on others suffering from addiction. Addictions are generally caused by a combination of physical, emotional, mental and circumstantial factors. Like anything in life, unless you had a similar journey to someone, you can never fully understand it. But you should try to educate yourself to help loved ones and yourself.

How does Addiction effect your brain?

Put simply, addiction hijacks the brain. People never have the intent of becoming addicted to something. They don’t understand nor could they comprehend the effects and hook of addiction. Most people think they could never be controlled by. And because they could never imagine it ever happening to them, it creeps in, without them even realising it!

Addiction is now recognised as a chronic disease that changes the brains structure and functions. The substance or activity that the person is addicted to, releases Dopamine into the ‘Brains Pleasure Centre’. The brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behaviour.

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. While overcoming addiction is possible, the process is often long, slow, and complicated. It took years for researchers and policymakers to arrive at this understanding.

Facts on Habits and Addictions:

A habit is not an addiction.

The difference between habit and addiction are as follows:

  • Habit – it is done by choice. The person can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is an addiction.
  • Addiction – there is a psychological/physical component. The person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.

How long it takes to form a habit?

It takes 30-60 days to form a habit.

How long does it take to be addicted to something?

Addiction can take just 1 day to have you hooked. This depends on the way the substance enters your system and how fast it reaches your brain e.g. If you smoke Heroin or inject it. If you smoke nicotine on and off or all at once for a short period of time you can become addicted. It depends on each individual but only to a certain point. The result and effects are the same.

Addictions are with you for life – Once you seek help or try to stop, you will learn to recondition your brain to not ‘need’ them. The ‘want’ stays there for life, unfortunately.

Types of Addictions

Substance Addictions:



Opioids (Heroin)


Prescription Drugs

Amphetamines (like methamphetamine, known as meth)



Phencyclidine (known as PCP or Angeldust)

Activity Addictions:

Social Media










Why would people risk being Addicted to anything?

As mentioned above, no one sets out to be addicted to anything!

Life can get really tough sometimes for all of us and no one escapes that. Some people don’t know how to deal with the extremes life can throw at them. Or sometimes they may want to block out the pain in whatever way possible. This is when something becomes a ‘fix’ for a certain person. But, in reality, makes their life worse in every possible way. Even still, no one purposely goes out to make their life worse.

Substance and activity abuse can be down to a variety of reasons, also mentioned above. A combination of physical, emotional, mental and circumstantial factors. If we could sum up how addictions start with one word, that word would be, pain. They all seem to derive from pain, hurt, upset, trauma, extreme experiences, terrible circumstances, and hard lives. It all comes down to them feeling like crap and trying to feel better by numbing their pain through a substance or activity.

It’s very sad when you see or know someone who is suffering from an addiction. I personally have known a lot of people with these problems over the years. But if you take the time to get to know them and their story, you will start to see where it stems from. It would be hard to find someone who is not addicted to Smart Devices and Social Media these days so no one can judge. I reckon the only ones who aren’t, are people who cannot afford one.

Think before you judge…

If you judge or say there’s no excuse for it then you are very narrow-minded and ignorant to how the world works. I challenge those types of people to open their minds and educate themselves on addiction and on the people who suffer from addiction.

I believe if everyone did this we might see a decline in addictions over time. Everyone needs to feel loved, believed in and worthwhile to want to even start to get help. If they have people constantly looking down on them, they’re going to feel even more worthless and spiral out of control. Remember, people need to want to change themselves but they need the support and resources there to be able to.

For all those suffering from addiction and those affected by loved ones suffering from addiction, my heart goes out to you.

Please read the links below for further information on addiction.






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Team ATE

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