What is an Addiction?
Traditionally the term addiction has been used to identify self destructive behaviours that include a pharmacological component. The term addiction and the companion label of 'addict' is applied to individuals with a physiological dependence on one or more illegal drugs. This would include a strong physiological craving, withdrawl symptoms and the need for more of the drug to get the same effect. For example, nictotine, alcohol, illegal drugs, like marijuana, heroin, speed, ice and acid.
Often addictions are considered to be the result of poor or inadequate coping mechanisms. For example, unable to cope with life stresses an addict will turn to their addiction for escape or comfort and individuals use substances as alternative coping mechanisms and rely on their addictions to manage situations, particularly those that create feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety or depression.
Who's at Risk?
Both genders are susceptible, as are all ages, every economic level and each ethnic group. As with any other disease, vulnerability to addiction differs fom person to person. However, as different as addicted persons may seem from each other, they do have many predictor factors in common. In general, the more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chances that taking drugs will lead to abuse and addiction.