Simply put, addiction is the continued and compulsive act of ingesting a substance or engaging in an activity that begins to interfere with life responsibilities such as work, relationships, and health. Although the initial decision to take drugs or engage in an activity is voluntary for most people, the chemical changes in the brain that occur over time can inhibit self-control, and reduce their ability to resist the intense desire to engage in the activity to ingest the substance. Certain substances that by their very nature alter brain function can be exceptionally difficult to quit, and even physically harmful if not done under professional supervision.
The true nature of addiction is a constant debate between those who believe it to be a brain disease, and those who believe it to be compulsive activity directly related to emotional stress and ingrained triggers. Both of these theories take chemical dependence into account, but it is seen as a symptom of a larger issue, which is the true, elusive nature of addiction. In layman’s terms, what this means is that though a heroin addict is physically addicted to heroin, he or she may be addicted to heroin due to a predisposition to addictive tendencies. If the heroin addict kicks heroin, but hasn’t learned to manage their addiction, they may soon find themselves addicted to something else. This is why treatment is such a powerful tool in treating addiction and helping addicts maintain sobriety.
The good news is that though addictive tendencies cannot be eradicated, addiction itself can be managed, and hope remains in abundance. With proper treatment and education, addicts can get into recovery, and turn their lives around. They can reconcile with the family members where ties have been strained or severed, rebuild the careers they’ve lost, and start rebuilding their lives and relationships that were casualty to the devil that is addiction.