Monday, June 28, 2010
Characteristics of an Addiction
An addiction has three characteristics: craving, tolerance, and withdrawal. Craving is the powerful urge one gets for the thing they are addicted to, most of the time the addiction is for a drug such as alcohol. The addict begins think about their need for alcohol at all times and can concentrate on little else. The more the cravings happen the more likely the person will give in to them and a cycle begins. After a while of taking the drug the body will begin to habituate to the effects of it, this process is also know as tolerance. To get the desired effect, the person has to increase the dosage amount, even if it causes physical or psychological problems. Taking a drug results in the the rise of dopamine levels which give a person a pleasurable experience. When the drug is absent the addicted person experiences withdrawal or the drug-opposite effect. "When the drug wears off a person experiences feeling that are by contrast the opposite and negative of what the drug initially produced" (pg 82). The symptoms of withdrawal can range from a mild headache to severe illness, sometimes even resulting in death.