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How Addictions Rob Us Of Our Lives

Hand with various tablets and capsules in background

Addictions are caused by our inability to tolerate normal human emotions. Instead, we replace our feelings with some sort of substance or experience that give us the illusion that we are safe from feelings that we were taught to perceive as dangerous. The substance or behavior tends to temporarily relieve the emerging feeling thereby offering perceived relief.

What is Addiction? According to, "addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain." It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Sometimes the "substance" is alcohol and drugs. Sometimes the "substance" can be technology. Either way, the need to take in whatever "the substance" in a manner that we "feel better" briefly, can be considered addictive.

When many people think of addictions they often think of drugs and alcohol. And indeed, this is the most well known and common form of addiction. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in 2005, an estimated 22 million Americans struggled with a drug or alcohol problem. Almost 95 percent of people with substance use problems are considered unaware of their problem. In the last decade, this problem has skyrocketed. Yet, substance abuse is only one kind of addiction.