Many individuals believe addiction to be an issue of individual shortcomings, which started as self-indulgence and proceeded due to reluctance or absence of adequate resolution to stop. Clinicians and researchers, currently feel that many individuals develop addictive behaviors to escape both physical and emotional discomfort. Individuals normally take part in psychoactive encounters to feel better and to feel improved. The foundations of addiction reside in activities related to sensation-seeking and self-medication.
What is addiction?
Addiction is the incapability of an individual to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior even though it may cause psychological or physical harm. The term addiction not only refers to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. Some addictions also involve an inability to stop partaking in activities such as gambling, eating, or working.
Chemical Addiction (Substance Addiction)
Chemical addiction is a chronic, progressive, and potentially fatal brain disease that is characterized by loss of control, denial, and relapse. It is also marked by compulsive and continued use of substances despite harmful or negative consequences.
Substances that are most often misused and abused:
Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, and cordials)
- By far, the most used and abused substance.
- Legal for purchasers over age 21, readily available, heavily advertised, and socially acceptable.
- Most viable gateway drug for youth.
Opioids (heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine)
- Available both as legally prescribed painkillers and as illegal “street” drugs.
- Most of the people addicted to heroin began by using prescribed opioids.
- The combination of heroin laced with fentanyl has dramatically
Increased overdose deaths
Stimulants (amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, crack cocaine, Ecstasy, Adderall, Ritalin)
- Legally prescribed stimulants create energy, excitement, and euphoria and can be highly addictive.
- Depressants (prescribed sedatives and tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, Xanax, Valium, Ambien)
- Excessive or long-term use can lead to addiction
- Sometimes misused in conjunction with other substances to enhance sensations of euphoria or relaxation.
- Research suggests that chances of addiction in adulthood increase according to the incidence of early usage.
- As with other potentially addicting substances, the risk of dependence on marijuana appears to hinge on how an individual’s brain interacts with the substance.
Behavioural Addiction (Non-Substance Addiction)
Any activity, object, or behavior that has become the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially is considered an addictive behavior. A person can become addicted, dependent, or compulsively obsessed with anything. It is thought that these behavior activities may produce beta-endorphins in the brain, which makes the person feel “high.” Some experts suggest that if a person continues to engage in activities that develop into a feeling of well-being and euphoria, it may lead to an addictive cycle. In doing so, they become physically addicted to their own brain chemicals, thus leading to the prolongation of the behavior even though it may have negative health or social consequences
Examples of addictive activities include:
- When people risk money or anything potentially valuable to predict the outcome of a game involving chance.
- This could include sports betting, casino games, online gambling, and lottery games.
- Highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals including dopamine.
- unable to reduce your eating despite wanting to do so and continue unhealthy eating patterns even after adverse health consequences
- For some people, the primary motivation for exercise is weight loss that occurs in the extreme.
Using the internet
- The person becomes dependent on using the Internet and needs to spend more and more time online to achieve the same ‘high’.
- The user turns to the Internet to cope with negative feelings such as guilt, anxiety, or depression.
- A condition characterized by severely reduced control over gaming habits, resulting in negative consequences in many aspects of your life, including self-care, relationships, school, and work.
What causes Addiction
Substances and certain exercises influence your cerebrum, particularly the reward center of your mind.
People are naturally inclined to look for remuneration. Frequently, these rewards come from sound ways of behaving. At the point when you invest energy with a friend or family member or eat a delightful feast, your body delivers a substance called dopamine, which causes you to feel joy. It turns into a cycle: You search out these encounters since they reward you with good feelings.
Substances send vast floods of dopamine through your mind, as well, as well as specific exercises, such as having intercourse or splurging on cash. However, rather than propelling you to do the things you really want to do to get by (eat, work, and invest energy with friends and family), such massive dopamine levels can damagingly affect your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
The “reward circuitry” of the basal ganglia (i.e., the nucleus accumbent), along with dopamine and naturally occurring opioids, play a key role in the rewarding effects of alcohol and other substances and the ability of stimuli, or cues, associated with that substance use to trigger craving, substance seeking, and use.
The involvement of these reward and habit neurocircuits helps explain the intense desire for the substance (craving) and the compulsive substance seeking that occurs when actively or previously addicted individuals are exposed to alcohol and/or drug cues in their surroundings.
ITAA (Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous)
ITAA is a Twelve-Step community of individuals who support each other in recovering from the internet and other varieties of technology addiction. They work on a recovery program based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Which includes addiction to social media, streaming videos, dating apps, pornography, online surfing, or any other digital activity that becomes compulsive and problematic.
Assuming you notice indications of internet addiction, they organize meetings that are free and open for everyone with compulsive internet addiction.
ITAA is a highly diverse community, and their gatherings incorporate individuals from all age groups, genders, and ethnicities from around the world.
When you notice any signs of internet addiction, ITAA provides a questionnaire for internet, social media, streaming, phone, or video game addiction.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of ITAA
1. We admitted we were powerless over the internet and technology—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Higher Power of our own understanding.
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We are entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly ask our Higher Power to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all those we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to those we had harmed wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through practices such as prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to internet and technology addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12 Traditions of ITAA:
Tradition 1: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on ITAA unity.
Tradition 2: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving Higher Power as may be expressed through our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Tradition 3: The only requirement for ITAA membership is a desire to stop using the internet and technology compulsively.
Tradition 4: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ITAA as a whole.
Tradition 5: Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the compulsive internet and technology user who still suffers.
Tradition 6: An ITAA group ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the ITAA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Tradition 7: Every ITAA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
Tradition 8: While our service bodies may employ qualified workers, the act of one member helping another ought to never be compensated, ensuring that ITAA remains forever nonprofessional.
Tradition 9: ITAA ought never to be organized as a hierarchy, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Tradition 10: ITAA has no opinion on outside issues, hence the ITAA name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.
Tradition 11: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need to always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication.
Tradition 12: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these traditions, reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous have been adapted with the authorization of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. The program is not associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but an adjusted rendition of the program and activities is used to address different issues of internet addiction.
Awareness and Identification of Internet Addiction
Raising awareness about internet addiction and identifying its signs are crucial steps in addressing this issue. Here are some strategies to increase awareness and identify internet addiction:
- Education and Information:
Provide information to the public, schools, and workplaces about the signs and consequences of internet addiction.
Include internet addiction awareness in school curricula and workplace training programs.
- Public Campaigns:
Launch public awareness campaigns through various media channels, including social media, to reach a wide audience.
Use posters, infographics, and other visual materials to convey information about internet addiction.
- Community Workshops and Seminars:
Organize workshops and seminars in communities to educate parents, teachers, and individuals about internet addiction.
Invite mental health professionals to speak about the risks and consequences of excessive internet use.
- School Programs:
Incorporate internet safety and responsible online behavior into school programs. Encourage open discussions about the impact of the internet on students’ lives.
- Parental Involvement:
Educate parents about the signs of internet addiction and the importance of monitoring their children’s online activities.
Provide resources for parents to guide their children in establishing healthy online habits.
- Workplace Initiatives:
Implement workplace policies that promote a healthy work-life balance, including guidelines on internet use during working hours.
Conduct workshops or training sessions for employees to raise awareness about the potential risks of excessive internet use.
By combining these strategies, communities, schools, and workplaces can contribute to a better understanding of internet addiction and create an environment that supports healthy internet use. Early identification and intervention are crucial in preventing the negative consequences associated with internet addiction.
Caution about Self-Diagnosis
Self-diagnosis of internet addiction can be challenging because individuals may have varying levels of awareness about their behaviours and their impact. However, there are some signs and questions you can consider to assess whether your internet use might be problematic. Keep in mind that a self-diagnosis is not a substitute for professional evaluation, and if you have concerns, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a mental health professional. They can conduct a thorough assessment and provide appropriate recommendations or interventions based on your specific situation. They can also help you develop healthier habits and coping strategies to manage your internet use more effectively.