Corona virus may be a pandemic, cancer may be deadly, malaria may be one of the greatest killers in Africa, HIV/Aids may be on a rapid increase even across the globe and the list goes on and on.
But there is something that had secretly plagued the nations over the years now, this same thing had exerted a tremendous effect on the world at large, eaten deep into the society and turned into a societal menace, a time bomb, a disease that has afflicted the mind of the world, severed the consciences of humanity, making them inhuman.
A disease that secretly crept into the minds of both old and young, rich and poor, servants and masters turned slaves alike, parents and children, causing self destruction and condemnation, a disease on a mission to swallow destinies, destroy potentials, sent our youths to prison, made our parents visionless, shattered homes, broken marriages, stolen peace of mind, made young adults prisoners of their emotions and passions. A kind that had proven stubborn over the years and very impossible to overcome, it had set up a very dangerous system with devilish aims, to have at least an agent in every family.
People have legally and most a times unknowingly embraced it, damming the consequences thereof, blinded by its deceptive nature and pseudo-friendliness.
Like a time bomb, this monster is counting down per second to an explosive reaction that will birth a generation of hazardous humans. This disease is called ADDICTION.
What then is this addiction?
According to the American Medical Association and the American Society Of Addiction Medicine, it is seen as a psychological and physical disease or inability to stop consuming a substance, a chemical or drug, or indulging in an activity even though it is causing a psychological and physical harm.
MERIAM WEBSTER DICTIONARY sees addiction as a strong, persistent, compulsive and harmful need to regularly have or do something, or use a substance known by the user to be physically psychologically and socially harmful.
Addiction has elements and characteristics that makes it life damaging with a strong urge and abnormal desire, this includes:
- Compulsive and compelling
- Regular and consistent(patterned)
- Persistent and lingering
- Emotional and harmful
Therefore, anything you do, always want to do, can’t stop doing even if it has a known negative effect is called addiction. It is therefore clear that one can be addicted to just anything at all, even things like sugar, shopping, eating, talking, sleeping, working, drugs, smoking, sex, internet, phones and gadgets, gambling and betting, alcohol, games, burning things (pyromania), eating nails and fingertip (onychophagy), pulling hair (trichotilomania) and the list goes on and on.
Types of addiction.
We have basically two typesof addiction:
- Substance addiction.
- Non-substance or behavioral addictions.
A strong desire or urge to continue taking a particular substance, despite its harmful consequences.
(example) alcohol, tobacco, opioids, snuffs, cannabis, painkillers, paints, toilet feaces, cough syrups, tramadol, codeine, cigarettes etc. the things you take into your body physically cause both psychological, physiological and social changes
NON-SUBSTANCE OR BEHAVIORAL ADDICTIONS
This is an urge or desire to continuously indulge in an act, despite the life damaging consequences. It is the most widespread and the most salient form of addiction as it can be hidden for a long time.
(example) gambling, onychophagy, trichotillomania, pyromania, kleptomania, polyamory, masturbation, pornography, games, gadgets or phones.
HOW IT ALL HAPPENED
Feelings of pleasure and pains are both controlled by the CNS which the brain happens to be part of, pleasure comes when certain chemicals called dopamine are naturally released in the brain. Most substances or behaviors cause the brain to release higher than normal level of this same chemicals, these are therefore called triggers.
(example) if naturally, the chemical released by the brain when I think of romance is about 30%, if I watch a softcore home video it may rise to about 40-55%, and then if I watch a porn movie, I should expect about a double or triple of the normal at about 60-90% of the same chemical, this is obviously too much a difference from natural and hence a lot for the brain to handle at a time.
A frequent exposure of the brain to this very high amount of the chemical will therefore cause the brain to develop an adaptation mechanism to be able to accommodate this surge as one of its function, replacing natural threshold, this brain reconfiguration thereby cause an effect on motivation, reasoning and memory.
Increasing tolerance level of brain so that things that use to happen naturally may now need a trigger to happen and things that use to happen only when triggered will then happen spontaneously and uncontrollably, this as a result births strong desires, urge and cravings as a result of an increase in the satiety level of the brain abnormally.
Victim will therefore need to take a substance or indulge in an activity to be able to satisfy the demands of the brain and achieve the same physiological satisfaction, this is due to an impairment of satisfaction pathway by substance use or activities.
This is one of the reasons why hard drug addicts develop an itch and can sell off just anything at all in order to gain satisfaction. This insatiable craving and demands makes victims dependent on the activity or substance momentary satisfaction, preferring it over natural healthy pleasures, not minding the long-term or short term consequences, and eventually lose interest in normal healthy activities due to a surge in threshold for satiety.
Always note that, no one starts out with intention to develop an addiction, but gets caught up along the line by the snares of addiction.
Little trials begets bigger ones,
Trials grows to character,
Character begets habit,
Habits become a lifestyle,
And lifestyle becomes US.
Not every trial is harmless; there is harm in MOST trials.
EFFECTS OF ADDICTION
On The Victim
- Just like cardiovascular disease damages the hearts and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain.
- It impairs cognitive behavior (low grades)
- Most accident cases, including domestic accidents is due to an addiction to gadgets and internet.
- Homicide, mood swings, depression and violence are effects of addiction.
- Loss of interest in normal usual activities and hobbies.
- Low self esteem.
On Family and Friends
Addiction is never a spectator game, in the field of addiction, everybody is a player, and there are no spectators.
- Hatred and selfishness.
- Broken homes (strong abnormal sexual cravings have torn marriages apart, alcoholism have rendered homes useless the list goes on).
- Loss of communication, respect and neglect.
- Abuse and molestation (incest in families).
- Children taking after their parents.
- Reckless behavior at home from both parents and children.
- Stealing and gang raping
- Runaway from home
- Parental grief (nobody owns a devil and expects relaxation).
Acknowledge your addiction
Ask yourself practical questions like
- What is my addiction?
- What exactly am I addicted to?
- How does this affect my life?
- Can I control or is it getting out of hand?
- What is my role in this?
- I’m I a problem or solution, how, why?
Desire, decide and consciously agree with yourself to change
Breaking addiction is never achieved by force, the person must be ready and willing to change not compelled to change.
- I’m I willing to change?
- I’m I ready to change my behavior?
- Why is this the right time to change things?
- Why now and not latter?
It is true your addictions came from things you couldn’t have controlled or circumstance that was beyond your control but blaming someone else or looking for an excuse won’t help you. If you have an excuse, then you’ll always have reasons not to quit.
Taking responsibility is different from living guilty or wearing guilt; draw a line of difference between these two, very vital.
Undertake a self evaluation
- What am I doing?
- How am I at fault here?
- What typically triggers my addiction?
- How can I eliminate these temptations?
- What do I tend to think of before, during and after this act?
- Which of my belief is unhealthy?
- What fears are potentially feeding my addictions?
- What benefits I’m I deriving from indulging?
- How could I gain these benefits in other healthy ways?
- What is my end goal?
- What better things would I prefer to be doing rather than indulging in this act?
Generate a new behavior
It will be very unwise to replace an addiction with another. What you think and believe about your addiction affects what you do about it. Your addiction is nothing but a habit you developed overtime that is proving disastrous and harmful. To eliminate a habit, you must replace it with another that satisfies same need in a more healthy way.
Access the consequences
- What are the long run consequences of my addiction?
- How will not changing hurt me in the long run?
- How will it hurt those I care about?
- What will it hold me back from doing in my life?
- How will it cost me physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and financially?
- What will I end up regretting if I continue?
Take gradual steps
Don’t rush yourself, give yourself time to overcome, abstain from relapse and avoid triggers. (a law guy I met on campus)
Gain knowledge and support
There is a common saying that when there are rumors of war, casualty is reduced.
Focus on your deepest passions
Don’t rely on willpower, only GOD really helps.
Precious Dunamis is a writer and editor at Pdunamis.com, Where he shares amazing self help publications.