Addiction is talked and written a lot. This makes – on the one hand, the impression that the gravity of the problem has reached a wide range of society and is treated with due seriousness, and on the other – few or no attempts to counteract these phenomena by state bodies, social and educational institutions, and those who deny it themselves . There are consistent opinions in the discussions about the harmfulness of addiction, regretting the effects of these phenomena, while in many cases the same people most often unknowingly contribute to addiction expansion, allow it without noticing the problem or – worse, fall into it themselves. This statement can be met with the following reaction: I am not an alcoholic or a drug addict, so can we talk about addiction? It should be noted that addictions go far beyond the scope of alcoholism, drug addiction or nicotinism and relate to many other human behaviors having the hallmarks of addiction, e.g. addiction to television, computer, advertising, fashion, eroticism, work, food, etc. addiction treatment in Cape Town

It is indisputable that every addiction has specific effects, both psychological and physical. Therefore, a broader discussion of addiction issues and the threats they cause seems justified.


Addiction as a social problem is not defined in the PWN Universal Encyclopedia, neither in the Catechism of the Catholic Church nor in the lexicons I know. There is also no defined – previously used in Polish language to describe this phenomenon – the word: addiction.

It seems helpful to refer to the etymology of the English equivalent of the word “addiction”, namely addiction. The word is derived from the Latin addictus, which in Ancient Rome referred to a man committed by a court decision in slavery to a creditor in exchange for significant debts that he could not pay. Therefore, it was a state of incapacitation, loss of freedom.

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Addiction, as a serious social problem with negative effects, has long been the subject of psychological, biological and sociological studies. It has always been emphasized that this is a very complex problem and there are many sources of addiction.

There were theories – supported by more or less convincing arguments – seeing the basic source of addiction in the biological sphere of man. These theories boiled down to suggesting that there is (in some people) a congenital or acquired (?) Need to supplement the body with certain chemical substances (otherwise harmful to health) and their deficiency threatens the normal biological existence of man. But if such a theory were accepted, the addicted person should be completely released from responsibility for actions. And this is not the case. There may be a biological tendency or susceptibility to addiction. Similarly, it can take place in the psychological sphere of man, but it is never – speaking of the source – a factor determining the emergence of addiction.

The environment in which a young person resides (family, school, peer groups) can have a much greater impact on falling into addiction. Each of these environments can have a positive impact on people: give a sense of security, acceptance, upbringing, transfer of knowledge, but can also be a place conducive to the formation of addictions. As research shows, half of drug addicts come from pathological families and among alcoholics this percentage is much higher. There are many signals that dealers distributing drugs (even free) appear in large schools with greater anonymity, thus gaining future buyers. In addition, the school, despite enormous efforts and extensive educational activities, is not always able to prevent the formation of deviant groups from which a small step to contact with drugs or alcohol. A friend group is even more conducive to the spread of addiction. A young man with a characteristic attitude of rebellion, negation of values ​​(especially valued by the older generation), escape from tradition is prone to adopting a specific lifestyle sometimes preferring strength, violence, brutality, sexual perversion. This style is often promoted by the mass media and there should also be sources of addiction. Studies show that a third of drug addicts are interested in drugs in peer groups.

The above, very cursory, presentation of sources of addiction shows that there are many circumstances more or less conducive to their emergence. The task and duty of the state, the church, parents, educators, we are all vigilant and take action to minimize these negative circumstances. “However, there is also no doubt that the individual does not fall into addiction against his will. Curiosity, lack of responsibility, escape from the realities of life, maladaptation, laziness, lack of effort are some of the personality traits that contribute to the formation of addictions. Therefore, any addiction is, at least in part, slavery at their own wish “[2]. Recovery Direct in South Africa

In the above considerations, drug and alcohol addiction were analyzed. Anyway, for many people, the word addiction or addiction is usually associated with the use or abuse of certain chemicals, such as alcohol, drugs or medicines. This is understandable because the existence of alcoholism or drug addiction and their negative effects, especially at the stage of advancement, are noticeable and indisputable. But reducing addiction to chemical agents is a simplification and causes that you do not see other addictions such as passionate gambling, lack of mastery in food, the “need” of several hours of contact with the TV or computer, obsessive dealing with eroticism, work, etc. And yet the existence of these addictions and their negative effects are a fact, regardless of whether they are noticed or not.

Addiction can occur in almost every relationship, person or thing. Because there is such a high possibility of addiction, the question arises when does an action or relationship become addiction? What is the classification criterion? After all, all people eat, a significant part drink alcohol occasionally, watch TV, take care of the computer and only a small group refers to the addiction to food, alcohol, television, computer. Well, it is commonly believed that addiction can be talked about when there is a tendency or even a compulsion to repeat a given activity, when they distract a person from duties and activities, when they cause negative psychological feelings of a person and deprive him of a choice. Let’s try to briefly discuss these features.

Addiction features

Simply repetition of a given action caused by duress is not enough to achieve satisfaction. There is a need here to escalate, increase the dose of the agent or sensations, a person becomes more and more internally involved, a given activity becomes more and more important.

Addiction is characterized by the fact that it is increasingly narrowing the field of interest and action, eventually limiting it to addictive activity and ensuring its repetition. Family, professional and social matters are of secondary importance. Social relations and interests diminish and then disappear.

Personality changes.

Addiction is accompanied by unpleasant psychological sensations, anxiety, fear, guilt. Compulsive activities dull them, while being an escape they do not give positive feelings. The addicted person feels the fear of symptoms of withdrawal or cessation of activities, hence accompanied by fear of possible exhaustion of the possibility of continuation. Such a person – aware of the emerging or existing addiction – tries to convince himself and the environment that it is not so, that it is not a state of addiction, which is evident self-deception. The mental state of the addict deteriorates due to the fact that the addictive nature of the addiction is noticed. The addicted person usually realizes at a later stage the negative nature of actions and effects, but the progressive weakening of the will makes it difficult or impossible to give up the addiction.

The problem of addiction cannot be discussed in isolation from the effects they cause. The characteristics of addiction already reveal these effects, and therefore the assessment of whether a given phenomenon is an addiction or not is also in some way in the sphere of effects.