Addiction is primarily psychological although addiction is defined according to the physiological changes in the body, and addiction continues to be considered as a social, cultural, genetic and experiential process as well. Addiction is generally described as dependence on any drug and results from substance abuse. Any drug or alcohol can produce addiction as can other things such as the internet, gaming, gadgets, chocolates etc. The primary feature of addiction is dependence as an individual shows increased psychological and physiological dependence on the substance he is addicted to and without the addictive substance the person is unable to return to normal life.
Addiction is an extreme dependence and can cause people to lose sense of reality as people become cripple without the substance they are addicted to. Addiction leads to crime and anti-social behaviour as addicts can resort to violent behaviour, to stealing, to murder simply to attain what they want. Some of the common addictive drugs and substances are opium, alcohol, nicotine and barbiturates. Craving, irritability, depression, anxiety are all psychological withdrawal symptoms of addiction although closely related to the physical withdrawal symptoms. Why do people develop addiction?
Addiction is largely akin to compulsion or the need to repeat any particular behaviour in an abnormal dependent manner and addiction like compulsion is an abnormal dependence. Addicts are obsessed with the substance or objects or activity that they are addicted to and show an abnormal dependence on the substance or activity. Individuals with mood disorders or people prone to frequent depression are prone to addiction as any addictive substance or drug or even activity such as sex that gives short term pleasure can cause the addict to return to this activity or substance again and again so that the depression is forgotten for a while. This need for short term pleasure leads to repeated pleasure seeking behaviour and thus creates addiction.
All human beings are necessarily pleasure seekers, we all like to experience that is good or beautiful or provides a moment of happiness but addicts are in turn addicted to this pleasure as well. In fact addicts are addicted to the pleasure and not to the drugs, which are simply catalysts to provide them this pleasure. How is addiction controlled and stopped?
'Eradication' or complete unavailability of the addictive substance or object can gradually lead to forgetting the pleasure giving substance and interests in other activities.