Addictive behavior( addiction): definition, stages, symptoms, treatment

There are many incomprehensible terms in psychology, which mean rather simple things. One such definition is addiction.

Definition of addiction

The notion of "addiction" means self-destruction by avoiding reality, involving the use of various chemicals that significantly affect the mind and mind, as well as the obsessive desire to engage in certain activities. Simply put, addictive behavior is a term that means a kind of addiction, addiction to certain drugs or activities for the purpose of obtaining physical or mental satisfaction.

There are a number of theoretical calculations about the biological mechanisms of the development of any dependence:

  1. The lack of the necessary stimulation of pleasure centers in the brain of addicts. It is assumed that the brain of any healthy person has a pleasure center, the activation of which causes a great sense of satisfaction. The brain of addicts is arranged a little differently - their pleasure centers do not receive proper activation in ordinary life, so various synthetic substances or obsessions are used in the course.
  2. In all guilty of a certain addiction gene, discovered in 1990 by the American scientist K. Blum. This gene is found in all people who have unhealthy addictions, whether they are psychoactive substances or the desire for overeating, gambling, frequent changes in sexual partners.
  3. The effect of any psychoactive substances on the opiate receptors of the brain. Normally, opiate receptors are excited from the effects of neurotransmitters - dopamine, endorphin, enkephalins, GABA, etc., produced. Any chemical that causes unexplained traction has the property of replacing these neurotransmitters. Subsequently, the human brain stops producing natural substances and, in the absence of a substitution, starts sending signals about the need to restore balance. This is how the physical dependence on psychoactive substances develops. However, the dependent person is not very interested in the biological aspect of the formation of traction, his obsessive desire to go into an illusory world pulls a person out of real life and brings to his life a lot of problems, ranging from problems in relationships with relatives and ending with difficulties with the law. Problems of addiction are connected with the fact that many dependent people commit suicide without thinking themselves without an object of addiction, while others - spend the rest of their lives in psychiatric clinics. Either way, addiction is a serious problem requiring immediate correction, and sometimes even prolonged drug treatment.
    On the video about the problems of addictive behavior:


    For more convenience, you can systematize the painful predilections for different groups:

    1. Chemical addictions. It is characterized by a predilection for strong synthetic or natural substances that change the physical and mental state of a person beyond recognition. Chemical addictions cause huge harm to human health. This group includes: alcohol, narcotic, nicotine addiction, substance abuse.
    2. Non-chemical predilections. This is a fairly large group, which includes:
      • craving for gambling;
      • sexual addiction;
      • love addiction;
      • dependence on purchases - shopping;
      • workaholism;
      • Internet addiction;
      • sports addiction.
    3. Intermediate group. Here experts include types of addictions related to overeating and starvation. Such common neuropsychiatric diseases as bulimia or anorexia are vivid examples of food addictions.

    Causes of the development of

    The reasons for the formation of addictive behavior, namely negative addiction to a particular substance, can be a mass for each individual: misunderstanding of others, discontent with oneself, a traumatic situation, etc.

    In general, all factors contributing to the development of addiction can be divided into 3 large groups:

    • psychological;
    • social;
    • biological.

    The psychological factors in the development of addictive behavior include:
    • personality traits of character - complexities, low intelligence, lack of meaning in life and interests, etc.;
    • severe psychological state - stress, mental trauma, grief;
    • circumstances, contributing to the development of addictions, in the most important periods of personal development - the example of drinking parents, the lack of physical and spiritual contact with the mother in the early years, teenage problems and inability to solve them.

    The social background of addictive states is expressed in large part in the influence of the family and educational institutions, the low interest of the state in solving the problem of alcoholization of society, the availability of psychoactive substances, the food traditions of the family and the surrounding environment, abnormal upbringing - hyper and hypochondria, the influence of various social groups.

    The biological factors of the development of addictions include physical resistance to the action of psychotropic substances, hereditary predisposition, the ability to develop their own psychoactive substances that contribute to the increase of mood.

    Stages of formation of

    Psychologists have long noticed that the formation of any dependence passes through a series of steps.

    Consider the development stages of addiction in more detail:

    • The stage of the first samples. Here comes the first acquaintance with the subject of addiction, the formation of positive emotions in response to use, but so far remains control over their behavior.
    • The stage of addictive rhythm, which is characterized by a more frequent resort to the object of addiction, consolidation of the habit, the emergence of psychological dependence.
    • Addictive behavior. Thrust becomes so obvious that it is not easy to hide, control of the situation is lost. At the same time, the dependent sharply denies that he has any problems. A person is seized with confusion, he is troubled by anxiety and fears that something is wrong with him, but he is afraid to admit to others about it.
    • Complete predominance of physical dependence. The effect of improving the mood when using the object of dependence disappears, there are persistent personality changes, down to degradation, social contacts are difficult.
    • The stage of total destruction is a catastrophe. At this stage there is a disruption of the body due to constant intoxication or due to permanent destructive behavior. A person is seriously ill, his dependence clearly prevails over basic needs. This phase is characterized by the commission of offenses, suicidal thoughts, emotional disruptions.

    The most clearly stages of the formation of addictive behavior are traced on the example of chemical dependencies.

    Types of chemical addictions

    Alcohol addiction is the most common among chemical dependencies. Alcoholic beverages are not forbidden to use, moreover - are recommended for certain conditions. Nevertheless, frequent abuse of alcohol causes numerous violations in the work of internal organs, brain and spinal cord, nervous system.

    The use of small doses of ethanol in rare cases, as a rule, does not lead to persistent dependence, it acts relaxing, improves mood, expands blood vessels. The state of addiction develops at a time when a person does not imagine a normal existence without the daily presence of alcoholic beverages, the use of alcohol becomes an overvalued idea, there is an abstinence syndrome.

    Alcohol addiction leads to an early disability or death of the patient due to intoxication, trauma or mental disorders.

    Lecture on alcoholism as a form of addictive behavior:

    Narcotic addiction is considered a more serious phenomenon, it develops due to the use of psychoactive substances that dramatically change consciousness. Under the influence of a chemical substance, an illusory feeling of complete absence of problems arises in a person, the mood sharply increases, the world appears in iridescent colors. The desire to repeat pleasant moments leads to the development of mental dependence from the first application.

    To achieve the desired state, the addict needs an ever-increasing dosage of the substance, gradually the addicts switch from lighter psychotropic drugs to serious heavy drugs that cause numerous mental disorders and damage to the body. All this almost instantly leads to complete isolation of the addict, severe illnesses - overdose, HIV infection, hepatitis C, and suicide.

    Gradually addicted to drug use, people start to use chemicals not only to achieve a state of buzz, but also to achieve good health.

    Narcotic addiction is characterized by persistent relapses due to inability to live in a society, inability to enjoy simple things, clearly expressed need for a change in consciousness.

    Tobacco addiction is characterized by the presence of cravings for nicotine, caused by constant tobacco smoking. The development of tobacco addiction comes as a result of unresolved psychological and sociogenic problems. A time cigarette helps you to switch from a problem situation, to abandon it, thereby causing a false sense of relaxation and the ability to look at the situation from a different angle.

    Joint smoke breaks help indecisive people to establish contact, to begin acquaintance. Tobacco smoking causes not only psychological dependence, but also a largely physical predilection. As a result of nicotine intake from the outside, the body ceases to produce its own, endogenous nicotine, which, as a result of quitting smoking, causes a negative state: depression, irritability, insomnia, headaches.

    Clinical manifestations of

    It is very difficult to recognize the presence of any dependence in a native person, especially if the patient is in the first two stages of the formation of addiction.

    However, there are common signs that make it possible to understand whether a person has a dependency:

    1. Self-confidence and a good tolerability of life's difficulties in a clearly bad moral state in the case of household routine. This is one of the main signs of the development of addiction - the desire for a comfortable existence and makes addicts seek thrill.
    2. Falseness and an eternal desire to shift responsibility to other people's shoulders.
    3. Low self-esteem and zakomplesovannost, while the external desire to seem better than others.
    4. Fear of being emotionally attached to someone.
    5. Stereotype thinking.
    6. Anxiety.
    7. Desire to manipulate other people.
    8. Unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions.


    An experienced narcologist and psychologist can identify a tendency to addictive behavior or an already existing pathological predilection. In the course of a primary conversation, a specialist can recognize certain personality traits that lead to the conclusion that a person is addicted to addictive behavior.

    Already available chemical addictions are diagnosed at internal reception at the skilled doctor-expert in narcology. There are certain criteria for detecting chemical addictions.

    These include:

    • an unceasing desire to consume a psychotropic substance;
    • constant use, despite the attendant problems - the presence of chronic diseases, mental disorders, overdose facts;
    • dosage increase;
    • development of abstinence syndrome and use of psychoactive substances for its relief;
    • unwillingness to have other leisure activities than taking a chemical, lack of hobbies and hobbies, all available free time is spent on stimulant use or recovery after their use;
    • no control over consumption.

    If three or more symptoms were observed in a person for a year, then we can safely say that he has an addiction.

    Treatment of

    Dealing with addiction is possible only if a person realizes a serious problem and strives to get rid of addiction. It is almost impossible to get out of the vicious circle of dependence alone, all the addicted need the help of a psychotherapist, and in the case of drug addiction and alcoholism, a qualified narcologist.

    Patients with severe forms of drug addiction and alcoholism are surely hospitalized in a hospital with the aim of removing withdrawal symptoms, restoring the destroyed health and removing the craving for psychotropic substances. All this time, a psychologist works with the patient, helping to prevent the recurrence of the disease and to socialize after leaving the hospital.


    This complex state, like addiction, is easier to identify at an early stage and continue to prevent its development and transition to the extreme stage.

    The following methods are used for prevention:

    1. Diagnostics is the identification of children and adolescents whose personal characteristics make it possible to assume addiction to addictive behavior. Conversations with children from the risk group help to identify the presence of existing problems in the family, internal experiences, low self-esteem, contributing to the development of addictions in the future.
    2. Information reporting. It is extremely important to spread among the children and young people as much information as possible about harmful habits, their consequences, methods of counteraction to stressful situations, and to teach competent communication.
    3. Correction. In this case, the work of the psychologist is aimed at correcting the negative views that have been formed, towards oneself, forming a skill to cope with difficult life situations.

    Secondary prevention includes detection of people with existing problems and their therapy, and to tertiary - rehabilitation and socialization of addicts who are in stable remission.

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