How We Define Addiction

Addiction has genetic, medical, environmental, and emotional roots. That last category — how we feel and what our personality is like — often goes unexamined, but it can be a powerful predictor of who will succumb.

People who have a hard time managing big emotions may experience a powerful need to seek outside sources of comfort. Often, addicts are trying to fill a void in their lives. Drug users in particular may be compensating for a lack of close relationships or affection. Or they may just be bored or lacking purpose.

There are many activities that can turn into addictions. Research shows that non-substance addicts such as gamblers have abnormalities in their dopamine levels. Compulsive shopping, stock market obsessives, and even social media users basically become addicted to their own brain chemicals. You may have more in common with heroin users that you think.

Take a powerful look into the reality of addiction with our Instaread on In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

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