The Addiction Definition: How to Properly Classify Addiction

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.

We help people with addictions and substance use disorders recover. Get mindfulness training and learn the 12 Steps for deeper healing.

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.

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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