Addictions constitute a very diverse set of pathologies, in which we find both some based on the consumption of psychoactive substances and others that occur without the need to introduce substances into our body.
But despite being very present health problems in our society, at the popular level, not everyone knows the fundamentals about them, and that is why many myths circulate about these disorders.
To make this topic more accessible, we have developed a series of questions and answers on addictive behavior and everything that surrounds these pathologies.
Questions and answers to learn the fundamentals of addictive behavior
Here are some questions that will help you understand what addictive behavior is.
1. Can everyone be addicted?
Almost all human beings can develop addictions, because these conditions are based on psychological and physiological mechanisms already present in almost all healthy people. In other words, addictions act on the neural and hormonal circuits of the average human body.
While it is true that, as in virtually any psychological or biological characteristic, there are individuals particularly at risk of easily developing addictions, And others that would cost more to develop such a problem (taking as a benchmark what happens in most humans when initiating behaviors that can lead to addiction).
2. Is an action that we want to repeat over and over again addictive?
No, there are many actions that can be considered routines or habits and which, while harmful to us, cannot be considered addictions.
For a pattern of behavior to be considered part of the clinical picture of drug addiction a number of specific characteristics must be given. Among them, the loss of control over daily life because this aspect of our life manages to eclipse all the rest, and the need to get more and more involved in these actions to “satiate”.
3. What percentage of the population has substance abuse problems?
It is estimated that around 2% of the population suffers from one or more addictions. The countries most affected by this health problem considering their population are Russia, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, but it should also be noted that there are several ethnic minorities in which drugs have had a particular impact, as have indigenous Australians and North Americans.
4. Do addictions occur in the brain?
Yes and no. It is undeniable that without taking into account what goes on in the brains of people with addiction, it is impossible to fully understand what is behind these pathologies, but it is also true that addictions are not limited to being a neurobiological fact.
In fact, context is so important in the development of addiction, that the simple act of moving to a completely different place is a factor which in itself can lead to addictive type problems. And similarly, if behavior and context didn’t matter, the only cure for drug addiction would be medical in nature, and the reality is not, since psychotherapy is also effective in treating these addictions. health complications.
5. Are all drugs addictive?
technically, not all substances considered to be drugs have the capacity to give rise to chemical addictionsIn other words, those whose existence is mainly supported by the way their molecule interacts with our nerve cells. For example, hallucinogenic mushrooms tend not to be addictive, although they do not cease to have the ability to damage our nervous system, and caffeine is not addictive either.
On the other hand, we must not forget that the medical field is full of substances which are drugs (having psychoactive effects) and at the same time do not generate dependencies, which contributes to their ignorance at the popular level.
6. What is the most used drug?
Considering all drugs in general, both legal and illegal, the most commonly used substance of this type is alcohol. However, if we focus on illicit drugs (or at least those that are banned in most countries), cannabis is used the most, Cocaine tracking.
Of course, it should be remembered that the popularity of different illicit drugs varies considerably depending on the demographic and socio-economic group in which we are focusing. For example, cannabis is much more popular among young people.
7. What are the main addictions based on behaviors and not on substances?
There are two main addictions that occur without the need to consume psychoactive substances: pathological gambling (also known as gambling addiction) and video game addiction. Both have experienced a boom with the development of new Internet-related technologies, as this has broadened their reach and allowed addictions to develop without leaving their homes.
8. Do addictions compete with each other?
No, the fact of having developed an action does not protect us from further development; on the contrary, those who have already started to establish a relationship of dependence with a psychoactive substance or with a pattern of behavior with addictive potential, they are more likely to start developing other addictions. Among other things, because they are subjected to many times where they have to deal with the frustration of not being able to have immediate access to the substance which they feel the need to consume, or the context in which they can perform the action “as their bodily demands” (betting on a casino, playing online video games, etc.).
9. Is it possible to completely cure an addiction?
Health professionals help addicts end the spiral of self-destruction to which they subject them, reaching a point where they can lead almost normal lives. However, there is a part of the dependency that remains latent, so they will need to take special relapse prevention measures for the rest of their lives, although it takes effort in the first few months, there comes a time when it is not a significant problem or a perceived sacrifice.
Are you looking for professional help with addictions?
If you are considering starting treatment to overcome an addiction, contact us. Fr CITA clinics we specialize in addictive disorders, and we offer outpatient and occasional therapy services, as well as income in our residential module located in the heart of nature. On this page you will find our contact details.
- American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Kauer, JA; Malenka RC (2007). Synaptic plasticity and addiction. Nature Neuroscience Opinion (8): p. 844-858.
- Ritchie, H. (2019). Drug use. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: “https://ourworldindata.org/drug-use”
- Winstock, A .; Barratt, M .; Ferris, J .; Maier, L. (2017). Global Drug Surey 2017. Global Drug Survey GDS2017.