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Drug addiction and treatment involves physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Mental and emotional addiction leads to psychological dependency symptoms, such as cravings, irritability, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Psychological addiction is very complex. In theory, this type of addiction can be derived from any rewarding behavior. Even pleasurable activities can become addictions, if they become uncontrollable, such as gambling, internet addiction, sexual addiction, overeating, work addiction, pornography addiction or exercise addiction. It is considered possible to be both psychological and physically addicted at the same time. Some professionals make little distinction between the two types of addiction. In particular, drug addiction arises from frequent drug use and progresses to acute drug use and the development of drug-seeking behavior. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, drug addiction has three stages: constant cravings and preoccupation with obtaining the drugs; using more of the substance than necessary to experience the intoxicating effects, and experiencing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and decreased motivation for normal life activities. The exact definition of drug addiction has changed over the years. In 2001, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine jointly defined it as follows:

Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.

Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a drug class specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist.

Tolerance is the body's physical adaptation to a drug: greater amounts of the drug are required over time to achieve the initial effect as the body "gets used to" and adapts to the intake.

Recognizing there is a problem is the first step in drug treatment. Many people think they can kick the addiction on their own, but that usually doesn't work. Overcoming addiction is not easy. It is not a sign of weakness to seek professional help from a trained drug counselor, therapist or entering a drug rehab center. Your first step may be to talk to a trusted friend or family member, a school counselor, doctor, teacher, or clergy person. Alcohol and drug rehab groups are often very helpful. These groups are voluntary associations of people who share a common desire to overcome an addiction. There are different groups that use different methods that range from completely secular to explicitly spiritual. Many individuals find success with twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.


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