What are the Signs of Addiction?

Of the nearly seven billion people around the world today, the United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 will die every year as a result of substance abuse. That's the entire city population of Tacoma, Washington. The American Society of Addiction Medicine characterizes addiction as a chronic, fatal, and pervasive system of re-routed brain rewards and abnormal physiological responses to substances that make way for psychological and spiritual distress. For many who have never struggled with addiction, an addict can seem like an unmotivated junkie. But for those who know the compulsive disease all too well, the reality of alcoholism, drug abuse and more is a far cry from an addict's former self. Researchers find that today prescription pill abuse continues to exceed expectations for addiction, with the U.S.'s 5 percent of the world's population popping 75 percent of the world's prescribed medication. That's a big problem.

But what is addiction?Is it caused by genetics, the chemical makeup of a substance, or is it a fatal disease that can afflict anyone? How does unresolved psychological trauma affect a person's susceptibility to addiction? There's no clear-cut answer, but this playlist gives some important insight into the science and psychology behind the disease. Watch and listen as these videos point out some of the telltale signs and symptoms of addictive behavior, and what to do next if these behaviors look too familiar. And remember: one day at a time.

Written by Curiosity Staff May 6, 2014

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