Addiction – Causes, Types and its Treatment

S Sharanya

April 17, 2021

Do you have a habit you want to break free from? Do you drink,smoke,eat etc just to get rid of your stress? Then you might have an addiction. Addiction is a compulsive behaviour that enables consuming a chemical,drug or a substance. This article will help you understand the causes, effects and treatment of Addiction. Keep scrolling down to know more.

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Table of contents

What is Addiction?

It is a chronic dysfunction of the brain that enables your body to crave a substance or a compulsive behavior. It is also a psychological inability that causes physical harm, when a person is addicted , they cannot control how they partake in an activity which eventually makes it difficult to cope in daily life. 

Causes of Addiction

when the reward circuit of the brain is maladaptive then it causes addiction like behavior among individuals. Addiction is also most likely to stem if you have family members already suffering from it. Many studies have also shown that genetic inheritance can be an important factor in addiction. The most important cause of addiction is an unfavorable and toxic environment. One can never neglect the social pressure and the lack of social support as one of the important causes too. There is also a theory that the more a person uses substance the more likely it is for them to get it.

Here are some of the signs to look out for 

  1. Inability to stop : If you hear yourself saying “from tomorrow” and this tomorrow never comes to stop this habit, then this is your first indication to an addiction.
  2. Changes in mood, appetite and sleep: if there is a drastic change in your sleep timings and you are always very angry and edgy most of your days after the consumption of addictive substance  then this could be your next symptom to watch out for 
  3. Continuing even after several negative instances : this could be after having a ugly spat with one of your family members or engaging in physical violence/abuse with a near and dear one.
  4. Engaging in risky behaviors: this could be a  pivotal symptom, if you see yourself engaging in risky sexual behaviors or gambling or risky investments then it’s time to take action
  5. Denial : you make yourself believe that you are doing just fine and that you aren’t addicted to any substance. 
  6. Financial troubles: increased use of substances can lead to poor decisions and absenteeism from the workplace. This could be a striking symptom to cautiously look out for. 
  7. Secrecy: maintaining a lot of secrets just to avoid conflicts with near and dear ones. Lying to people just so that you can use the substance is another symptom to look out for
  8. Putting substance above all:You could have an important meeting or an important family function to go to and you miss all of that so that you can just use the substance , then this is definitely a symptom to take note of.
  9. Legal issues: increased use of drugs can lead to legal problems that can be detrimental to work and family.
  10. Withdrawal symptoms: once you recognise the need to let go and you end up taking twice as much after going cold turkey then it is a major concern to look out for.

Types of Addiction 

  • Alcohol : this is the most common substance that is used. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and also deeply affects the functioning of liver and digestive systems.
  • Cocaine: The drug sends high levels of dopamine, a natural chemical messenger in your body, into the parts of your brain that control pleasure. This buildup causes intense feelings of energy  Drug overdose can be extremely fatal and life threatening
  • Marijuana: most popularly used especially among teenagers, prolonged use of this can cause memory declination and in some cases cancer 
  • Hallucinogens: Also known as dissociative drugs plays a significant role in affecting one’s thoughts, emotions and consciousness
  • MDMA and other club drugs: also known as Ecstacy often results in surge in emotions and rapid heartbeat, extensive uses of this can lead to heart attacks and vision related problems
  • Tobacco/nicotine: Highest addictive substance and is also easily accessible, extensive use of tobacco/nicotine results in cancer. 
  • Gambling Addiction:  this is a compulsive behavior mostly caused due to unattended trauma in childhood and toxic environment of family,friends and peer circle. Gambling addictions usually land in major financial troubles and family discord. 
  • Internet Disorder: This disorder is most common one in today;s times. It is said to cause depletion in memory, blurred vision and neurological imbalances.

Treatment and Recovery for Addiction

Addiction treatments are not one size fits all, as the nature of the problem may vary within individuals. Here are the most proven treatment to treat the above mentioned Addiction

  1. Detoxification: Medically-assisted detox allows you to rid your body of addictive substances in a safe environment. This is beneficial because sometimes substance withdrawal can cause unpleasant or even life-threatening physical symptoms.this is not the way to treat addiction, along with this there must be a combination of therapies to see complete effectiveness.
  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:CBT helps you recognize your unhealthy behavioral patterns and  it can also help you learn to identify triggers and develop coping skills. CBT can be combined with other therapeutic techniques as well.
  1. 12- step facilitation:can be used to treat alcohol and substance abuse mainly. It is a form of group therapy that includes recognition that addiction has several negative consequences that can be social, emotional, spiritual and physical.collective shared experiences also help individuals seek comfort in one other and drive each other towards a healthier and happier version of self. 
  1. Rehabilitation: these centers help a complete de addiction of substance and helps you recover with any withdrawal symptoms under professional guidance. It also helps to improve neurocognitive function that has been lost or diminished 
  1. Medical Help : Medication can play an important role in recovery when combined with behavioral therapies. Certain medications can be used to reduce cravings, improve mood, and decrease addictive behaviors


If you or your loved one is going through a hard time with addiction, you do not have to fight this battle alone. Get professional help as soon as possible to help cope and deal with addiction before it takes over you. Even if you have an inkling of whether this article is applicable to you or not, it is also wise to speak to a mental health professional and get your mental health screening done. 


1.How do i know if i am addicted 

If these thoughts lingers in your mind , you may be using the addictive substance quite often now. Talk to our professionals who can help you cope with addiction with our own SOLVE method. 

2. How do I ask my loved one to get help

If you see a loved one with at least three of the above mentioned symptoms then it is very important to get them to the right channel of help. It is better to always start with a mental health professional and they will guide you on what treatment will be beneficial.

3. Where should i reach out for help

Click on the link at the start of the blog and it will be redirected to an expert who is specialised at handling addiction. We got you covered all that you need to do is to get the right help at the right time and rediscover yourself at the end of your journey.

About the Author

Sharanya Swaminathan holds a post-graduate degree in Psychology from Christ University in Bangalore and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. Sharanya is invested in making mental health the new normal through an evidence-based eclectic approach. She is one of the few certified Prevention of Sexual Harassment members that is empaneled by the Government of India. Sharanya is ecstatic that HealthifyMe shares the same belief that overall well-being can be achieved only when physical and mental health work in tandem.

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