Types of addiction & their effects on health
The five common stages of any addiction include use, regular use, risky use, dependence and compulsion. A biopsychosocial disorder, addiction can be characterized by a habitual engagement in a behaviour or an intense craving for a particular substance. Globally, it is one of the most common mental illnesses.
The dependence on substances impacts the lifestyle, health, decisions, relationships and economic status of an individual. In a holistic sense, addiction affects society at large. Each individual experience dictates the nature of addiction, even though it is a result of genetic factors, family history, and the social environment. Some individuals are generally more vulnerable to addiction.
Addiction is primarily divided in two types – behavioral addiction and chemical addiction. The chemical addiction involves the use of substance and behaviour addiction involves repeating certain patterns despite its disadvantages.
Addiction is unhealthy for the brain. The human brain is a complex piece of machine! It has neurotransmitters to send, receive and process signals. Addiction interferes with the proper functioning of these neurotransmitters. It creates false signals in the brain, reinforcing the association between certain things and feelings of pleasure. Addiction targets the brain’s pleasure center – it influences the brain reward pathways and dopamine pathways leading to substance abuse.
Over time, the normal communication between the neurons gets disrupted and addiction reaches its peak. The unnatural neurotransmitters take over the natural ones – this begins to impact the ability to think and reason. Neurotransmitters play an important role in the control of breath, the heart and the brain. An overdose of chemicals disrupts the functions of the body and put’s an individual’s life at risk.
When we talk of addiction, the focus is always on adults. But children experience addiction too! Sugar is one of the most common substances a child gets addicted to. This is a universal issue. Sugar is taken in different forms by children including chocolates, sweets, sugar-coated muffins, jellies and more. What some parents are aware of is that excessive consumption of sugar is not at all advisable – it often becomes addictive.
In many cases, addiction to sugar begins when a child has a bad day at school. To compensate for the bad mood, the child mindlessly engages in consuming unhealthy foods. Excess sugar interferes with the functioning of neurotransmitters that keep the mood stable. This leads to depression and anxiety. The active involvement of parents plays a significant role in curbing this problem. A logical explanation about the bad effects of sugar can also help convince a child to control consumption.