If you have an addiction problem it may have started as a way to cope with feelings that you felt unable to deal with in any other way. When you are stuck in the cycle of addiction, recovery can seem out of reach. However, change is possible with the right treatment and support, by making lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your addiction. It takes courage and strength to face up to any type of addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, nicotine, gambling, the Internet, or self-injury. No matter how bad the addiction or how powerless you feel, don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom; you can make a change at any time. Recovery is a process and there are bound to be some bumps in the road. You can overcome your addiction by learning how to cope in ways that are constructive rather than destructive to yourself and others. Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways:
- Craving for the object of addiction
- Loss of control over its use
- Continuing involvement with it, despite its harmful consequences.
For many years, experts believed that only alcohol and powerful drugs could cause addiction. Brain imaging technologies and more recent research, however, has shown that certain pleasurable activities, such as gambling, shopping, and sex, can also lead to addiction.
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