Chemical Addiction or Other Compulsive Behaviors
What Is Chemical Dependency?
A person becomes chemically dependent when he or she develops a craving for a substance in
order to feel good or "high" or to keep from feeling discomfort, including the discomfort
of not using the substance. The need for the substance is always psychological but may be
physical as well.
One way of looking at chemical dependency is to view it as an attempted short-cut to
feeling pleasure. Natural pleasures can be received through exercise, success in one's
profession or in school, athletic or musical accomplishments, interpersonal relationships,
and many more daily activities. Chemical pleasures are swallowed, smoked, snorted or injected.
When a person first abuses alcohol or drugs it makes him feel better, maybe less
lonely, more confident, more sexy, or more intelligent. As the addiction progresses,
the chemically dependent individual keeps seeking these good feelings. Instead, however,
she begins to pay an emotional price for these behaviors. When efforts are made to
control the amount or the frequency of use they often fail, and as the uncomfortable
painful feelings become stronger, the chemically dependent person depends on alcohol
or drugs just to reduce the pain or just to feel "normal."
The sad fact about addiction is that the "fantastic high" which seduces the substance
abuser into drinking or using becomes harder and harder to achieve. And the pain
experienced when not high becomes greater and greater. The disease of chemical
dependency can become chronic, persistent, and relentless. The substance abuser
eventually moves from the early stage where the substance appears helpful and
seductive to an uncontrollable craving. In the late stages of the disease the
dependent's body starts to give up. Many physical problems arise. The dependent's
mental, emotional and spiritual strength is depleted. Because the disease is progressive,
the dependent's condition becomes increasingly more severe over time.
If the chemically dependent person continues to abuse his or her substance, the addiction
will eventually lead to death.
- Death due to liver, heart, kidney, pancreas and lung failure.
- Death due to overdose.
- Death due to suicide.
- Death due to auto, water, or fire accidents.
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