Experiencing some trouble with your relationship with a substance can be frightening sometimes. The same goes for when a person in your life might be showing signs of a problem.

At what point do substance use and abuse become an addiction, though? Similarly, when is it time to seek help with these battles and try to start a new chapter in your life?

We’re going to discuss an addiction definition today, giving you a better idea of how to draw the line between use, abuse, and addiction.

Addiction Definition: What Is An Addiction?

The idea that we may have an addiction is a difficult one to stomach. The same goes for people in your life who might be getting too deep into substance abuse.

It’s troubling, at first, to accept the idea that we may have strayed too far down the wrong path. That said, it’s important to take an objective look at our behaviors and see how we can move forward with help if we need to.

So, when is it an addiction?

In general terms, addiction is a habitual relationship to a particular substance that, despite the consequences, a person cannot break. A person who is addicted might display changes in their personality, motivations, and relationships as they continue using.

For example, a person might steal money to support an addiction. They might forgo responsibilities that were previously crucial to their personality and identity. They might even alienate those who would try and keep them from their drug of choice.

Where The Line Is Drawn

The question of “when” the addiction starts, though, is a little more difficult to answer. Typically, there are a number of things that contribute to a person’s addiction that come into play before the drug is introduced.

In that sense, an addiction could start in early childhood, or after a particularly traumatic experience. When use begins, though, it’s tough for a person to determine whether they’re doing so recreationally, habitually, or if that use has developed into an addiction.

We tend to see addiction when a person’s use out shadows their responsibilities, health, and personality. At the same time, a person might use their drug of choice for years without others noticing, still having an addiction but maintaining the appearance of normalcy.

The guiding hand of addiction is how the drug responds to a person’s dopamine reward system, leading the person to experience withdrawal when they’re absent of the drug and only released when they introduce more of the substance to their system.

That process is gradual, and there’s no exact point where it transfers from casual enjoyment to habitual need. If you’re wondering where you or a loved one is at on that spectrum, though, it might be time to consider talking with a professional who can give you a clearer idea.

Considering Getting Help?

Whether or not you fall into a particular addiction definition, you are the one who can say if you’d be better off getting a little help. We all need a helping hand or two every now and then.

We’re here to assist you in that process. Contact us or explore our site for more information, resources, and ideas on how you can move forward with your health and well being.