Addiction, whether alcohol abuse or substance abuse (also gambling, pornography, etc) is harmful and destructive to the user and to those in relationship to them. There are different definitions and pictures that come to mind when describing the “addict.” What does the "alcoholic" look like? What would you see if you saw a "drug addict?" Addiction does not respect persons whatever the race, color, socio-economic background or profession.
Individuals with substance disorders may have a dependence problem or anabuse issue. Substance dependence may include increased tolerance (require higher amounts to achieve desired results) - also continued use produces lesser effects. Withdrawal symptoms include craving for the substance (to reduce discomfort), an inability to control or limit use, and much effort and time spent to obtain the substance. Hobbies, recreation and interests take a backseat to the substance and continued use despite possibilities for negative consequences. Counseling helps to get back to the person you truly are and find the best that life offers.
Substance abuse differs with dependence as outcomes are more serious and debilitating. Social, educational and occupational functioning is impaired and results in absences, decreased achievement, dismissals, suspensions, etc. Children may be neglected and general care diminished. Substance use can put oneself or others at risk, i.e., driving, operating machinery, etc. There may be additional consequences such as being arrested or incarcerated. (DSM-V)
Non-substance related addictions also interfere with job, school, or relationships as well. These addictions may include gambling, over-working, and over-spending. Addiction is often a symptom of the real issue or problem. Sometimes the symptom is treated without getting to the root or origin (driving force behind the symptom) of the addiction.
Understanding, growth and healing are possible in moving beyond the storms created by the forces of addiction. Please seek counseling and find freedom and peace!