Addiction is defined as a chronic relapsing condition characterised by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain. Addiction is the same irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or nicotine. Certain behaviours, such as gambling, eating, under-eating and various sexual behaviours, can also follow an addictive pattern.
Every addictive substance (or behaviour) induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Continued use of the addictive substance induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable craving and, all too often, relapse.
Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions from withdrawal. The risk of addiction is in part inherited. Genetic factors account for about 40% of the risk of alcoholism. The genetic factors predisposing to addiction are not yet fully understood.
Alcoholism is medically recognised as a primary, chronic, progressive, and sometimes fatal, disease. It is characterised by a mental obsession that causes a physical compulsion to drink… more
Heroin is used as both a pain-killer and a recreational drug and has an extremely high potential for abuse. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance, moderate physical dependence, and severe psychological dependence which often develop into addiction… more
Crystal Methamphetamine / Tik
The chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine is called methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. The shortened name is simply ‘meth’. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth, TIK, ice, Tina, or glass… more
Ecstasy / MDMA
MDMA, or Ecstasy, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA produces feelings of increased energy euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time perception and tactile experiences… more
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the worldwide. It is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds and leaves, derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; THC for short… more
Codependence is a pattern of detrimental, behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship which is regarded as an emotional disorder, and by some as a psychological disease… more
Sexual addiction refers to a phenomenon in which individuals report being unable to manage their sexual behavior. It has also been called “sexual dependency”, and “sexual compulsivity”. The existence of the condition is not universally accepted by sexologists and its etiology, nature, and validity have been debated… more
Problem gambling is an urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. The term ‘problem gambling’ is preferred to ‘compulsive gambling’ among many professionals, as few people experience true compulsions in the clinical sense of the word… more