What are addictions?
Addictions are activities which are generally pleasurable but which lead to physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms when you stop doing them. You can be addicted to a particular substance or to an activity. Continued use of the addictive substance or activity can lead to damaging effects on the body or soul. It is generally accompanied by a feeling of not being in control or being dependent on something.
What causes addictions?
In terms of a physical addiction, some substances are known to cross the blood-brain barrier, and to alter the chemical balance of the brain (e.g. alcohol, cigarettes and some pharmaceutical and illegal drugs do this).
In terms of psychological addictions, sometimes a habit becomes an addiction when the person no longer feels in control.
The causes are not clear and obviously many factors may be involved (e.g. physical, mental, emotional and circumstantial). There is some speculation that there is a genetic component that increases the likelihood of someone becoming addicted to certain substances.
Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.