Addiction is a mental illness during which someone becomes dependent on a substance (alcohol, drugs or medication) or a habit (such as gambling, gaming or watching porn). The life of an addicted person mainly revolves around obtaining and using the substance or acting on the habit. This is often at the expense of relationships, work, study and friends. An addict is not able to quit the drug for a long period of time or stop the behaviour despite multiple attempts to quit. The urge (also called craving) for the substance or habit remains strong, making it increasingly difficult for an addict to quit.
Substance or behavioural addiction?
You can become addicted to substances, such as alcohol, drugs or medication. This is called a substance addiction. In addition, a person can also become addicted to a particular habit or behaviour. We call this a behavioural addiction. Porn, sex, internet, gambling or gaming are examples of behavioural addictions. The symptoms and complaints associated with a behavioural addiction are the same as those associated with a substance addiction. You experience the same urge (craving) to carry out the behaviour over and over again to get that good feeling.
Physical and/or mental dependence
Mental dependence can occur with almost all forms of substance or behavioural addiction. You start to crave the substance or behaviour more and more. Without it, you feel uncomfortable or even anxious. With physical dependence, your body becomes addicted to the drug and you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. The symptoms can be very intense. As a result, in some cases it is strongly recommended that you stop taking a substance under the supervision of a doctor or psychiatrist.
Do you experience a lot of negative consequences as a result of your addiction? Do you want to live a life without always falling back into the same patterns? During the treatment process, you will learn who you are as a person without your addiction and what is important to you in life. You will also be given tools to deal with certain emotions or situations in a healthy way without relapsing.
- Keijsers, G. P. J., Van Minnen, A., Verbraak, M., Hoogduin, C. A. L. & Emmelkamp, P., (2017). Protocollaire behandelingen voor volwassenen met psychische klachten.