Addiction: definition, types, symptoms and causes

Definition of addiction

Addiction as a general concept is a psychological and behavioral condition that has a significant impact on the human being under the name of habituation, and affects the nervous system greatly, which makes the person constantly strive to achieve psychological and physical comfort at the moment of reaching what he is accustomed to.

Addiction is like getting used to any particular behavior that a person does on a daily basis, such as eating a certain type of food on a permanent basis or drinking a certain type of drink on a continuously, or even washing his hands frequently in an aggressive way, along with other factors affecting a person’s behavior.

When we hear the word addiction, the first thing that may come to the mind of the listener or reader of this word is that it is a habit of taking or abusing a certain substance in excessive doses for long periods. It also occurs in the case of taking high amounts of certain medications for a long periods of time, or drinking a certain type of alcohol for a long time, or taking any type of herbs that contain a large portion of narcotic substances. Here, addiction or habituation turns into a disease, which leads the sick person with this addiction to do anything in exchange for the psychological and physical comfort he wants. In the absence of this comfort, this may result in the transformation and development of this pathological condition in the patient, and may even lead to death.

With regard to drug addiction, the areas of the brain responsible for stress and self-control also undergo long-term changes during the addiction disorder, which contributes significantly to persistent difficulties with abstaining from the substance.

It is a common misconception around the world about drug use and addiction that many people believe that addiction is a choice or the result of deviant or criminal behavior. This has created a stigma for people with these difficult conditions, and may even make it difficult for people to get help.

Causes that lead to addiction

In fact, addiction is a complex mental condition that can result from a number of factors including biological, environmental and developmental ones.

1-The psychological factors that lead to addiction

The psychological state of a person is one of the main reasons that contribute to directing his behavior towards addiction. A person may resort to it because it is the only refuge that he can be comfortable with and deal with it psychologically without restrictions, as the drug provides him with all the reasons for happiness from his point of view.

While the specific incentives vary from person to person in general. In some people, the onset of the addiction journey can be caused by untreated psychological problems including anxiety and depression. He finds refuge in drug addiction as a temporary solace from the suffering he is experiencing, which can result in many mental health or other health problems.

The most prominent psychological problems that lead to addiction are:
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poverty
  • Problems arising from romantic relationships
  • Loss of a family member
  • Stress
  • Chronic pain or hopeless medical conditions

But whatever the reason that started the addiction disease, once the addiction starts, the disease is usually out of the abuser’s control.

2-The biological factors that lead to addiction

There are some biological factors that represent a catalyst that drives a person to addiction, for example, a person has a natural factory for the production of opiates known as endorphins and encephalins. These substances relieve the pain that a person is exposed to, whether normal or unusual pain, joint movement without these opiates is unlikely, and when a person is exposed to an accident Or a broken bone, the brain gives its immediate commands to the cells, and they quickly produce these natural opiates, and these opiates work to relieve pain, However, sometimes a person is born and his share of these opiates is not enough, and such a person tends to take drugs to compensate for his lack of natural opiates.

In another case, children born to alcoholic mothers are four times more likely to be addicted than children born to non-addicted mothers, so children of addicted mothers are often addicted. This happens as a result of human cells carrying chromosomes, and these chromosomes carry genes that control the genetic traits of humans, and these genes may remain silent for many years, but under the pressure of the environment and circumstances, they highlight the biological readiness of the human being.

3- Environmental and societal factors that lead to addiction

Family, friends, and the groups to which an individual belongs greatly influence the likelihood of a person developing an addiction. Physical and sexual abuse, family pressure, stress, and parental guidance can also significantly affect the likelihood of developing an addiction.

The family is the first institution in which the child learns from his infancy about right and wrong, harmful and beneficial. Therefore, the family bears the greatest responsibility for instilling the danger of addiction and its psychological, health and mental damages in the minds of its members since childhood. But the family is not the only driver or controller of an individual’s behaviors and tendency to addiction. Where other groups and societies to which the individual belongs, such as schools, universities, friends and others, play a vital role in strengthening or destroying the values that the family builds.

Thus, the most important societal problems that help with addiction:
  • Availability of addictive substances by smugglers and dealers
  • The prevalence of places of entertainment
  • Absence of entertainment venues
  • Absence of the role of other institutions such as the school, the media and religious institutions
  • Media, tourism and cultural openness without awareness
  • Negative influence of friends

Types of addiction

There are many types and forms of addiction according to the type of substance that is being abused:

Medical drug addiction

Medical drug addiction is one of the most famous types of addiction because it is easy to take and sometimes obtain. Basically, this type of pill is considered to be an active substance extract used as a medicine to treat a specific disease. Here are the most common types of medical drug addiction.

1- Captagon addiction

Captagon pills are primarily used to treat children with ADHD and ADHD, but as usual, medicines that are found to contain active stimulant substances have been used incorrectly. Coincidence led to the discovery that Captagon pills have the ability to make the user stay up for long periods of time without drowsiness and alertness for as long as possible.

The main symptoms of Captagon addiction
  • Feeling some disturbances as a result of the effect of Captagon pills can be noticed in high blood pressure, and an increase in heart rate above the normal rate
  • Fatigue and lack of sleep, not feeling tired or exhausted despite the long period of staying awake
  • The appearance of dark circles around the eyes, pail skin color, and a significant yellow face color
  • Tremors in the extremities such as the hands and feet, with a feeling of extreme coldness in the extremities
  • Captagon pills cause a lack of desire to eat and loss of appetite, as well as persistent sweating
  • Captagon pills lead to dryness of the mucous membrane, which leads to itching of the nose and an unpleasant odors in the mouth.
2- Lyrica pills addiction

Lyrica pills are one of the modern medical drugs, and the most important active ingredient in Lyrica pills is pregabalin. Lyrica pills are used as a treatment for patients with diseases that damage nerve cells and the pain that results from such damage. On the other hand, it is used in excessive doses, as a type of drug.

Symptoms of Lyrica addiction
  • Lyrica pills directly affect the nervous system, which leads to memory impairment and a marked decrease in cognition, in addition to the effect of the active substance in Lyrica pills on the vital system of the abuser’s body and its effect on attention
  • With an excessive intake of Lyrica pills, and with no need to take it, it leads to a large and severe swelling below the knee in the legs area, which results in the inability to walk and the inability of normal movement.
  • Taking Lyrica pills leads to a noticeable increase in weight, and in a very short period of time. In addition to the constant feeling of fatigue and constant bone pain
  • Recent studies have shown that taking Lyrica pills for a long time, directly leads to ED. Which affects the sexual life of the abuser, especially if he is married
  • Lyrica pills affect the decline of some blood components such as platelets inside the human body, which are largely responsible for the immune system and thus the body’s ability to confront diseases is reduced due to the weakness of the immune system and may sometimes cause blood diseases
  • Taking Lyrica pills leads to uncontrollable urination, and the occurrence of disorders in the contraction and relaxation of the bladder muscles, due to which the person taking Lyrica finds it difficult to control urine output. It also may lead to being vulnerable to having kidney stones.
  • Among the harms of taking Lyrica pills are blurred vision and permanent blurring of the eyes, and it is preferable not to drive while taking Lyrica pills. In addition to increasing  daydreams, which increases the psychological problems.

Crystal meth addiction

This type of drug is considered one of the most dangerous because it is a synthetic drug, and it is called meth or crystal meth. The active substance in the drug is methamphetamine, which is considered one of the most highly addictive stimulants. East Asian countries are the countries of origin for this type of drug, and they called it crystal meth, in order to increase its popularity in the Middle East, especially the Arab Gulf.

The main symptoms of crystal meth drug addiction
  • The addiction of meth leads to severe insomnia. The duration may reach sleepless days, which also results in a loss of appetite and weight loss in a short period of time.
  • The crystal meth addiction directly affects the heart, as its first effect is to increase the heart rate above the normal rate, which results in the possibility of strokes and heart tremor.
  • The addiction to meth increases blood pressure significantly, which makes it difficult to control it
  • Shame addiction leads to psychological and mental disorders as a result of the active substance in it, which leads the abuser to constant mood swings, tension and nervousness, and changes the person’s behavior
  • crystal meth addiction leads to serious poisoning cases, and not only that, but it leads to sudden loss of teeth for no reason.
  • In the long run, after using large doses for a long time, meth addiction may be the reason for the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease to the abuser.

Hashish addiction

Hashish is one of the most prevalent types of drugs in the world, because cannabis is cheap and easy to use, far from the complications of other drugs.

The main symptoms of hashish addiction
  • Cannabis addiction leads to the appearance of the addict with blood-red eyes, permanent dry mouth and sometimes increased appetite
  • Hashish addiction results in fatigue, lethargy, and a constant feeling of excessive sleepiness
  • A person who uses cannabis feels weak balance, and inattention to his surroundings due to lack of focus and delayed response.

Heroin addiction

Heroin produces a “low” effect that quickly leads to a state of relaxation and euphoria (related to chemical changes in the brain’s pleasure centers). Like other opiates, heroin is used to lower the brain’s ability to perceive pain.

Symptoms of heroin abuse
  • Heroin addiction affects the respiratory system of the abuser, causing severe shortness of breath
  • Heroin addiction leads to permanent dryness in the abuser’s mouth
  • Heroin addiction causes sudden changes in the person’s behavior, as well as showing a lot of confusion in his behavior
  • Heroin addicts sometimes experience cycles of hyper-vigilance, followed by sudden nodding
  • Heroin addiction results in decreased attention and cognition, as well as a loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals.
  • Heroin addiction increases hostility towards loved ones
  • Heroin addiction leads to a worsening of body image and significant weight loss, as well as a runny nose (not explained by another disease or medical condition)
  • Infections or abscesses at the injection site, as well as causing women the loss of the menstrual cycle

Strox addiction

Strox are dried natural plants to which chemicals are added. It is noted that the selection of chemicals is based on substances that affect the nervous system directly, and addicts smoke it in order for it to directly enter the blood and nervous system.

Symptoms of Strox addiction
  • Estrox addiction affects the social status of the abuser, as it leads to complete separation from society and the inability to deal with it, as well as impulsive behavior
  • Strox addiction gives the person the feeling of a false euphoria that does not exist, as a result of the user losing the sense of time and place.
  • Strox addiction results in the loss of self-control and difficulty in controlling the addict’s  behavior, due to exposure to auditory and visual hallucinations.
  • In cases of Strox addiction, the abuser loses the ability to achieve academic and social achievements, as a result of his memory being greatly impaired
  • The respiratory system is also affected by the Strox addiction, which leads to obstruction of the airways
  • Constant feeling of bone pain caused by low bone density.

Dangers of drugs and stimulants addiction

The sad truth is that more death, disease, and disability are caused by drug addiction, as it has a greater impact than any other preventable condition. Prolonged dependence on drugs often interferes with every organ in the human body.

Among the most important health effects and diseases that drug use can cause:

  • Weakening the immune system in the addict’s body, which helps the person to resist diseases and that increases his exposure to infections
  • It leads to cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and blockage of veins and arteries
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, upset stomach and digestion problems
  • Liver failure, and sometimes kidney failure
  • Sudden clots and strokes
  • Visible damage to the nervous system can lead to a direct impact on memory, attention, and decision-making, as well as permanent brain damage

Drug addiction can also have a number of harmful social and emotional consequences for the addict, including:

  • Losing their work
  • Losing their family, whether through death or separation
  • Sometimes being at risk of imprisonment
  • Experiencing many financial problems
  • homelessness

There may be some health and emotional issues that will not heal and may get worse over time. The best way to prevent permanent damage is to seek professional treatment as soon as possible to overcome the addiction.

If you have questions or concerns about addiction, contact us immediately. Dar El-Taafy can help you or your relatives or acquaintances find a way out of the dark fog of addiction. Contact us for more information about our popular programs and how we can help you or your loved one begin the journey towards recovery. Not everyone who tries drugs becomes addicted. There is no single factor that can predict whether someone will become addicted, although there are general social, biological, and environmental factors that increase the risk.

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Hurry up and take the decision to treat and recover from addiction, whether it's you or any of your relatives or acquaintances, and communicate with our team.

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