Addiction – When is Excessive “Excessive”?

How are you gonna use all these shoes? (photo from
How are you gonna use all these shoes? (photo from

Of course, we are all entitled to do the things we love. Having vices is not always a bad thing, for some of us only have these vices as a way to reward ourselves. Indulging in that exorbitantly priced Frappuccino is our way of treating ourselves after a hard day’s work. Shopping for clothes and shoes every payday may also be the perks  one gets after working  our asses off.  Or as a recompense, you spend a weekend in the beach, surfing, after toiling for ten straight days.

But when do vices become self indulgent  and when do they become an addiction? Have our habits turned  into addiction?

Addiction, as defined  by Medilexicon is a habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or routines that is beyond voluntary control. Most of the time, people with an addiction do not have control over what they do, take, or use, and may reach  a point at which it is harmful. Addictions are not limited to the physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include almost  anything, such vices as gambling to even seemingly harmless products like sweets.

Addiction  can either be a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. sex addiction).

Denial often comes next after addiction, and addicts will be the first to deny that they are addicted to certain substances or behaviors. Sure, it might just be a harmless habit to you at first, but how do you know if what you consider a safe indulgence has morphed into unhealthy addiction?

It is addiction if:

  • you are unable to resist a certain behavior (smoking, drinking, taking  illicit drugs) even when you have a desire to quit.
  • you are giving up social, occupational or recreational activities  because of the addictive behavior.
  • you experience a feeling of distress, anxiety, restlessness or violence if  you unable to engage in  that behavior.
  • you are having health problems and still continue to engage in this addictive behavior even after developing illnesses linked to it. For example, a smoker may continue smoking even after a lung or heart condition develops.
  • you think you’re right even if everyone says otherwise.

Anybody, at some point of their lives, regardless of age, sex or social status can be become addicted to some substances and behaviors. What is the main cause of  addiction? Doctors say there is a link between the repeated use of an addictive substance or behavior and how the human brain experiences pleasure. The use or the practice of an addictive behavior makes one feel good, the brains then looks forward to consuming or doing the act repeatedly, leading to further and more frequent use. Pleasure is a great catalyst, but when the brain gets use to the feeling (or the substance), then it becomes normal, and you end up taking or doing more. Experts say that when tolerance increases, the risk of addiction is much greater.

You might not know it but even those silly, seemingly harmless things you do may be become an addiction.  Having your fix of iced latte everyday may seem innocuous at first, but  its long  term effect may snowball. Your body gets used to effect of caffeine that a single serving no longer has an effect on you, and you find yourself consuming more and more everyday. And of course, the more you consume the more you spend.

As cliche as it may sound, everything in this world should  be taken or done in moderation.

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