Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health

Simcoe Addiction & Mental Health
what is an addiction - smoke with smoke fumes forming a question mark.

What is an addiction?

The Oxford Dictionary defines addiction as “​the condition of being unable to stop using or doing something as a habit”. It’s sometimes difficult to know where the line of habit stops and where addiction begins. There is no one true image of what addiction looks like or one way to treat it. What do we know about what addiction can look like? 

The Classic Conception

What’s clear about addiction is that it’s compulsive. The activity in question triggers a reward in the brain and a craving for that stimulation, pleasure or relaxation. We return to that activity even when we aren’t particularly feeling like it. Some are also consumed by the desire to escape the present and turn to their addictive activity. 

Something common but hard to notice in loved ones is when addiction continues despite consequences. There are many ways addiction can subtly and cumulatively detract from our lives. This can look like career issues,  relationships deteriorating, financial troubles, health concerns, or issues with cleanliness and appetite. Addiction can happen even if an individual isn’t hitting “rock bottom.” 

Addiction is also characterized by withdrawal, meaning there are physical or psychological triggers that occur when separated from it.
 

Why Does Addiction It Happen?

There are different types of addiction, grouped into physical and behavioural categories. These can be co-occurring or coincide with mental health and may creep up slowly and unexpectedly for many social, environmental, or genetic reasons. 

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why addictions develop. Surprisingly simple is the fact that they can be caused by pressure or stress. Scientific studies of alcohol addiction, drug abuse in adults and in adolescents note the significance of stress and poor coping skills as a risk factor for addiction.

These studies also note a combination of pressure or stress and neglect, family issues, illness, grief, poor coping skills or lack of support network are common factors. Becoming addicted, itself is not a choice though, or a moral failing, it’s actually a disease of the mind. 

The addictive behaviour often begins as a short-term coping mechanism. The individual likely believes they can stop themselves when the time is right. However, the brain can lose self-awareness of desiring or partaking in the activity or the consequences of it. It can become automatic or part of their subconscious identity.

If you or someone you know is coping with an addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced and compassionate team. We are here to listen and understand while giving you a safety net.