An addiction has been rightly defined as any activity, substance or behavior that becomes the primary focus of a person's life and/or causes physical, mental or social harm to the addict and/or others around him or her. Alcohol and drugs are perhaps the best known forms of addiction; however, other dangerous addictions include an addiction to pornography, gambling, gaming, shopping and prescription medications. Eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia are also considered to be addictions.
Identifying an addiction in oneself or in a loved one is not easy. Following are some tell tale signs that a behavior is addicting in nature and that professional help is needed to overcome the addiction and go on to lead a happy, healthy life.
A person should consider how much time he or she spends engaged in the behavior in question. Because time is a finite resource, many addicts engage in their addiction at the expense of spending time with friends and family members. Alternatively, some addicts stay up until the wee morning hours engaging in addictive behavior.
Loss of Control
A person who is addicted to a substance or behavior will find that self-control is nearly impossible. Even those who want to overcome an addiction often find themselves engaging in addictive behavior simply because they cannot help themselves.
The Urge to Hide
Most people instinctively know that addictions are wrong. Thus, they do everything in their power to hide the evidence (i.e. needles, empty alcohol bottles, credit card bills, etc.) from those they love.
Many addicts who attempt to quit without professional help find that they experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. These include insomnia, increased stress, headaches, profuse sweating and nausea. Extreme mood swings are also quite common.
Nearly all addictions lead to health problems. These may include extreme weight gain or loss, high blood pressure, bronchitis, a compromised immune system and liver, heart, lung and/or kidney damage.
Addictions should never be taken lightly, as in serious cases they can lead to death or permanent, serious health problems. While some individuals are able to overcome an addiction on their own, in nearly all cases seeking professional help is the best option. Finding a good Toronto rehab center to work with is a wise idea, as such a center can offer detoxification, counseling, and assistance in identifying the root cause of the addiction and overcoming it.