Addiction is a chronic psychological condition that makes a person unable to control the consumption of some substances. Addicted people cannot control their need for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, and other things despite disastrous social, legal, and health consequences. It results in induced changes in the brain and behavior. First, the addiction subverts the brain registering function. Then, it corrupts normal drives decreasing motivation and negatively influencing a number of skills. Nowadays, addiction is recognized as a chronic disease that influences the structure and function of the brain (Understanding Addiction, n.d.). It grows more serious over time increasing addiction-related disorders. The progression is usually measured by the frequency, amount, and context of substance use. The kind of addiction depends on habits. This paper will discuss drugs and food addiction. Despite the fact that these addictions are similar in brain, they are different in some aspects.
The first aspect that makes these addictions different is signs and symptoms. Drug abuse negatively influences all aspects of life. Drug addicted people tend to have problems in their relationships, become involved into crimes, neglect their responsibilities and activities they used to enjoy. In most cases, drug addiction starts with casual drug use. However, it becomes a habit that tends to be more and more frequent. Then, larger doses of the drug result in addiction. Therefore, it becomes really difficult for a person to live without the drug. Rapid stop of drug use causes intense cravings and physical illness. Red eyes, changes in sleeping pattern, running nose, mood swings, spending money on the drugs, and behavior changes are other signs of substance abuse.
Food addicted people usually crave for food even when they are not hungry and have just finished meal consumption. Hiding unhealthy food consumption from others is the first sign of food addiction. Addictive people tend to eat much more than they intended. This kind of addiction makes people eat till they feel excessively stuffed. Even when people find themselves guilty of eating too much, they start eating again soon after. People know that is harmful to eat unhealthy food, but they cannot control themselves. At the same time, drug addicts use drugs or drug-related substances to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal. Such people suffer from sudden mood swings, change of appetite, and slurred speech. In addition, tremors and weakened conditions are common (Ressler, 2008).
The second aspect is addiction causes. Drug addiction may be caused by genetic, environmental, and psychological factors as well as capture rates and addictive potential. Psychological factors are related to the results of trauma. Disregard, neglect, physical abuse, and loneliness lead to psychological stress causing drug addiction. However, other psychological causes include depression, poor performance at school or work, lack of friends, and others. Environment also causes drug addiction. People tend to become addictive in the environment where the substance is permissible. The lack of parents’ attention often makes children experiment with drugs; however, it results in addiction. Other environmental factors include the promotion of drug use in peer groups and people of the same ethnicity, family beliefs, and gender. Genetics plays a vital role in drug addiction. As soon as a person has started using a drug, the addiction development may be influenced by inherited traits.
Food addiction is usually linked to the brain chemistry. Food addicted people may have hormonal or neurotically imbalance. It was found that low levels of serotonin may result in carbohydrate cravings. Dieting is another cause of food addiction. Excluding certain foods from daily diet makes people crave for them. Thus, there is a risk that a person will binge on those foods. Experts claim that food addiction is closely related to psychological associations. Mental associations are blamed for triggering food craving. When a person is passing a bakery, it triggers the desire to eat a donut. Activities such as watching movies or spending time out are associated with eating snacks, popcorn, and candies (Gluck, n.d.).
The next aspect that makes food and drug addiction different is legislation. Depending on the jurisdiction, drugs may be legal, illegal to use, or illegal to possess. In most countries, drugs are under the licensing system control. Unlicensed production of drug-related substances is a criminal offence. In some cases, the use of drugs is justifiable on moral or health grounds. However, it is difficult to find a reliable source of drugs, and a person becomes involved in the criminal network. In contrast, there is no legislation related to food consumption. Therefore, food may be consumed without any limits. The same refers to food production and food possessing.
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The fourth aspect is addiction management. Drug addiction is usually treated with the help of anti-addictive drugs, alternative therapies, and behavioral programming. Drugs have different addictive properties. Some of them are related to physical dependency. Others cause a compulsive need. Drug addiction is usually treated minimizing the exposure to the drug in inpatient (for those who experience serious addictions) or outpatient (for those who need flexible schedules) setting. The program of detoxification is the first part of any drug treatment process. During the period of detoxification, the body becomes less physically dependent on the drug after removing of it from the bloodstream. The addiction roots could be dealt with using a cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is considered to be helpful, and addicts resort to drug abuse only because of peer pressure or negative emotional feelings. However, the therapy helps people to deal with stress and be able to control their addiction. The next step of drug addiction treatment is group counseling sessions that take place weekly to keep the treatment center staff up to date. In many cases, the stressors that cause drug abuse and lead to drug addiction are faced at home. Therefore, such sessions help to decrease stress in an outpatient environment.
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