It’s a word tossed around a lot these days. So much, in fact, that it may have lost its meaning.

Seems like everyone has an “addiction” to something. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sex and gambling are the vices that everyone accepted as addictions. They even have groups dedicated to helping them overcome their addiction and havelife”.

drug addiction Concerted CareAddictions come in all forms in today’s society: food, shopping, love-even exercise. People are even addicted to video games and…Facebook (or “Facebooking” as it is commonly known.)

Addicted individuals, such as celebrities, even become known for their addictions and their battles to overcome them (Robert Downey, Jr.) or their lost battles and eventual tragic end (Amy Winehouse.) It’s a very long list. Many movies have been made and books written focusing on these tragic, addicted lives. Hollywood loves to see its own fall.

And, while it is true that addiction has many forms, some accepted as true medical conditions and others as glamorous excuses for bad behavior, it is not to be taken lightly. Addiction is destructive to body and soul. It takes not only the sufferer of the addiction down but their family, friends, employers, neighbors and, yes, society with it.

In order to treat addiction, it must first be defined.

The American Medical Association states the following: Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.” (www.ama-assn.org)

One of the key terms in that definition is “reward”. Every addict receives some type of reward, mostly physical, from being addicted or else they would not do it. They get “high”, inebriated, stimulated or feel good in some other form. It is short-lived and they crave the next time they can do it. They are obsessed with it. It controls them.

Thankfully, it is not a “death sentence”, however. As the definition states, Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.” The key term there is “treatment or engagement in recovery activities”. It does not have to end in tragedy.

There are licensed and credible treatment centers in every state and hundreds of countries. A true addict can find ways to stop their addictive behavior through counseling, medications and behavior modification.

“Bill” (last name withheld), an alcoholic, said this about addiction and recovery: “I’ve been in recovery for 23 years, and I’ve relapsed seven times. But, the support I get in the recovery community has helped me every time I start drinking again. No judgment, just help and support. Without my recovery program, I know I would have drank myself into an early grave every time. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it certainly beats the alternative.” (www.drugabuse.com)

Addiction is not funny or entertaining. Nor is it a buzzword for indulgence. It is a real, medical condition. Left unchecked, it destroys. But, there is help. Seek and you will find.

If you are addicted and tired of it controlling you, contact our licensed, caring and experienced counselors at the Concerted Care Group of Baltimore, Maryland. Call us at (410) 617-0142 or email at info@concertedcaregroup.com. Our treatment center works with substance abuse, heroin, methadone and prescription drug addictions. Concerted Care Group treats the whole person’s life, not just their addiction.