Addiction can be defined as a compulsion to engage in a specific act such as gambling or sex or to take substances such as alcohol or drugs. An addiction is an illness, as the person affected cannot control the urge to continue engaging in the behaviour that is causing them and their family harm. Drug and alcohol addiction have been a problem in the UK for many years now but, in recent years, gambling addiction is on the increase, which may have a lot to do with the recession and people becoming desperate for money.
There is no specific reason for someone developing an addiction although there are a number of risk factors that cause some to become addicted to a particular substance or behaviour. These can include stressful or traumatic experiences, growing up with parents who suffered addiction, or mental health problems.
Nobody plans to develop an addiction but, for some people, something that began as a form of enjoyment can quickly turn into a serious addiction that starts to consume his or her whole life. It is believed that chemical changes in the brain can cause some individuals to develop dependencies on particular substances or activities.
As they continue to engage in these activities, they become tolerant to them, wanting more and more to experience the same ‘rush’. They soon begin to crave the substance they are addicted to and can think of nothing else. When this happens, many turn to criminal activities to fund their addictive lifestyles.
This is what happened to Adrienne Wells, who stole £40,000 from the savings of pensioners at the building society at which she worked. She targeted elderly customers who had not withdrawn from their accounts for some time and hoped that they would not notice. However, when 94-year old Doris Cash noticed that £20,000 was missing from her account, things began to unravel for Wells.
The elderly woman had saved money for her funeral and she knew that she had not withdrawn it. When she complained, the building society insisted that she must have spent it herself. Another pensioner Jim Hunt noticed £2,200 missing from his account but staff at the building society again insinuated that he must have withdrawn the money. However, he had his paying-in books at home, which showed no record of the withdrawal.
Many people think that addiction is localised and affects only the individual concerned as well as his or her family. Those who have never had to deal with an addiction are often oblivious to the damage it can do. They are removed from the problem and do not see how it can affect many people.
Those who are affected by addiction though will usually be living a life of hell. Addiction causes heartache and distress to the family and to the individual. Without the right treatment, the addiction can become a destructive force and, in some instances, as in the case of Adrienne Wells, can affect strangers too.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering with an addiction, getting help as soon as possible is important. The sooner they receive treatment, the sooner your loved one can begin to get back to the person they were before their addiction took hold. Call us at Rehab Helper and we can direct you to a suitable rehabilitation programme.