Those who are addicted are no longer free

Addiction means being dependent - on drugs, play, computers, shopping, eating. Those who are addicted risk their health and their personality changes. In the long run one becomes lonely and finally isolated. Those who are addicted are in a vicious circle and need help, because addiction is a disease. Addiction can hit anyone.

The vicious circle: Addiction is a process

The onset of addiction is a process that is gradually becoming a vicious circle. For example, in the beginning there may be a harmless sleep disorder due to stress being treated with over-the-counter sleeping pills. Gradually, the dose is increased in order to sleep through. The next day you feel tired and tired, lie down for a nap. In the evening you can not fall asleep and resort to tablets again.

The vicious circle of an addiction almost always looks like this: After the use of drugs or alcohol or a shopping spree the person concerned experiences an unsatisfactory or intolerable situation or mood - apparently. But the effect subsides, "Disillusionment" is spreading. Now, the desire for recovery is greater than before, the craving for the drug increases from time to time.

Searching Facts: Numbers & Data

In the first place of all addictive substances is alcohol: 7.8 million Germans drink too much alcohol; 1.8 million are already considered dependent. The number is so high because the dependency starts very early: According to the drug and addiction report of the Federal Government about every tenth adolescent and one in three young adults drink alcohol regularly - at least once a week.

Approximately 16 million Germans smoke regularly, 2.93 million of them need over 20 cigarettes daily for their addiction.

According to estimates by the German Center for Addiction Issues (DHS) there are currently about 1.5 to 1.9 million drug users in Germany. Due to the high number of unreported cases, the number of those affected is probably much higher.

Cocaine and cannabis seem to be the most popular stimulant drugs in Europe. This is clear from the drug report of the European Union. Some 87.7 million Europeans aged 15 to 64 have ever smoked or swallowed marijuana or used hashish, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) estimates. Last year alone, there were 23.5 million adults. Cocaine, on the other hand, has consumed around 17.5 million Europeans before.

In Germany, over 440, 000 people suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.

Gambling addiction, buying addiction and internet addiction in numbers

According to the DHS yearbook, more than 455, 000 people in Germany have problems with the gambling addiction. Of these, approximately 215, 000 people belong to the category of pathological gambling, while problematic gambling behavior is observed in more than 240, 000 people.

Approximately 800, 000 Germans suffer from buying addiction, as the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) announced, citing an investigation of the University of Applied Sciences Ludwigshafen. The risk of buying addiction is around four million Germans, that is a little less than five percent.

Estimates suggest that more than 560, 000 people use the Internet compulsively. The so-called Internet junkies spend up to 60 hours a week on the net. Almost 14 percent of the German population use the Internet at least to a "problematic" extent.

Addiction is a disease

"Addiction, " as defined by the Association for Addiction Aid, "comes not from" search ", but from" siech ", ie" sick. "Addiction as a creeping process is nothing more than a" Dahinsiechen. "No one is suddenly addicted, rather Addiction develops gradually, usually the addiction begins harmlessly: one two beers every night, a few cigarettes only, only this one tablet.

First, the positive effects of a drug are used - relax, be relaxed, sleep properly, and for many, it is actually harmless. For some, however, there is habit and abuse, some addictions and addictions. Professionals see the dependency career like this: first use, then abuse, finally addiction.

When is one addicted?

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes addiction as the unquenchable desire for a particular state of experience. The powers of the mind are subordinated to this desire. The WHO demands that people who are addicted to addiction are not subject to any weakness of will or character. Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone - an often chronic disease that can be understood through the interaction of biological and environmental factors. It usually appears at the same time and is linked to other somatic or mental disorders.

According to the WHO, these are four criteria that make someone addicted:

  1. There is an indomitable desire to procure and take the addictive substance.
  2. Increasingly higher doses are needed.
  3. It comes to mental and physical dependence.
  4. It causes harm to others and society.

Signs of addiction can be physical and mental disorders: sweating and nausea, sleep disorders, loss of interest, mood swings, restlessness and anxiety or indifference. Dependents deny and hide their addictions, others gloss over them.

What is addictive?

First of all, a distinction is made between substance-related and substance-independent dependency:

  • Alcohol, drugs, medications are substances that make you dependent.
  • Substance unbearable are addictions such as labor, buying, gambling or sex addiction.

Most dependencies start in the head: The hallmarks of mental dependency are the irresistible desire to take an addictive substance, the loss of control and the centering of thinking and acting on the addictive substance.

The transition from mental to physical, that is, physical dependence, is fluid. Often she is noticed late. If the regular supply of drugs is suddenly interrupted (for example, by a hospital stay), comes with a physical dependence to typical withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, tremor, nausea and vomiting.

Addiction also affects the environment

Drugs not only affect the life of the addict but, without wanting to do so, close relatives, such as family members and closest friends, are affected. Relatives are in the truest sense of the word fellow sufferers, because they need to know how the addict is slowly ruined. When one speaks of addiction and addiction, the concept of co-dependency inevitably plays an important role.

Disappointment is especially stressful for family and friends: Mostly all attempts to dissuade addicts from their addiction are doomed to failure. Others ignore the dependency, help out of shame to cover them up and even support the patient in his addiction. Even the relatives can then - like the addict himself - only help with advice and support from outside.

What can you do in dependence?

A sobering number anticipates: sustained abstinence reach only a third of those affected. The first step is the most difficult: to admit that you are dependent. Four steps mark a therapy:

  1. motivation
  2. physical withdrawal
  3. weaning
  4. Follow-up

The first way can lead over the family doctor to the psychiatrist or to a clinic. Psychotherapeutic care is important in the weaning phase: self-confidence and personal responsibility should be strengthened in order to be able to say "no". This phase lasts weeks to months. Only then does rehabilitation begin in the familiar environment. Addiction counseling centers and self-help groups are often important companions in this phase for many years.

What do the health insurance companies pay?

The health insurance companies, for example, cover the costs of alcohol, medication, drug or multiple dependency. Non-substance dependent addictions, such as gambling or workaholism, find it more difficult to get adequate long-term care.

The German Association for Addiction Aid further explains: "The health insurance funds are responsible for people with eating disorders, the service providers treat them like a psychosomatic rather than an addictive disorder, but in most cases stationary psychosomatic treatments take only a few weeks, which is not always sufficient.

People with eating disorders have the opportunity to apply for outpatient psychotherapy or to participate in special offers in some counseling centers. People who are affected by gambling addiction receive, if necessary, long-term care from the pension insurance institutions at specialized specialist clinics, but only in some cases an outpatient procedure. "

Helping those affected is crucial in any form of dependency, because "self-withdrawal" is almost never successful.

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