Addiction can be defined as a compulsive need for a habit-forming substance. Addiction is associated primarily with narcotic drugs or alcohol. However, a person can be addicted to anything, not just drugs and alcohol but also soft drinks, tea, coffee, driving fast cars, tobacco, gambling, food, or even sex, pornography, computers, work, and shopping / spending. While eating disorders, like other behavioral addictions, are usually considered primarily psychological disorders, they are sometimes treated as addictions, especially if they include elements of addictive behavior. For example, common food substances, especially chocolate, caffeine, sugar and salt, may have the potential for addiction. Thus addiction is basically being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.

An addicted person is under the uncontrollable compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its consequences. Even though the addict might be aware of the consequences, he or she cannot control the habit to avoid repeating the act. Many drugs or behaviors can precipitate a pattern of conditions recognized as addiction, which include a craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure, and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus. Most drugs and behaviors that directly provide either pleasure or relief from pain pose a risk of dependency, leading to addiction.

The medical fraternity categorizes the addiction into two categories: dependence (withdrawals) and psychological addiction (or simply addiction). Physical dependency on a substance is defined by the appearance of characteristic withdrawal symptoms when the drug or the habit-forming substance is suddenly discontinued due to any reason. For example, opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, alcohol and nicotine are all known for their ability to induce physical dependence. Psychological addictions are a dependency of the mind rather than body, and lead to psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Many treatments are available to get rid of addictions. Rehabilitation centers work across the globe to make people get rid of their addictions. There are many psychiatrists who work in the field of rehabilitation. If noticed and treated at the initial stage, habits can be prevented from becoming addictions.

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