Although the precise symptoms always vary from one addiction to another, when it is clarifying what is an addiction, there are two aspects of visible symptoms that all type of addictions have in common.
First aspects, the addictive behavior is always maladaptive or counter-productive to the individual who are addicted to something. So instead of helping the person adapt to the situations or overcomes from the problems, it is tends to undermine these abilities of that addicted persons.
For example: (01). A gambler might wish he/she had more money, yet gambling is more likely to drain his/her financial resources. (02). A heavy drinker might want to cheer his/herself up, yet alcohol using contributes to the development of his/her depression. (03). A sex addict may crave intimacy to someone, yet the focusing on sexual acts may prevent real types of closeness from developing.
Second aspects, the behavior of an addict is persistent. When someone is addicted, they will always continue to engage in the addictive types of behavior, despite it causing them trouble always.
What’s the Problem If It Is Not Doing Any Harm?
We know that, addictions are always harmful both to the person with the addiction, and to the people located or situated around them.
The biggest and strongest problem is the addicted person’s always failure to recognize or find out the harm their addiction is doing. They may be in denial always and continue to all time about the negative aspects of their bad habit of addiction, particularly choosing to ignore the negative effects on their health state, regular or daily life patterns and on the relationships. Or, they may blame at the outside circumstances or other people at around in their lives for their difficulties.
This type of harm caused by addiction is particularly difficult to recognize or find out when this type of addiction is the person’s main way of coping with the other problems including they have. Sometimes other types of problems are directly related to his/her addiction, for example, health hazards or serious health related problems, and sometimes they are indirectly related to the addiction, for example, relationship problems for that.
Some of the people who get addicted to substances or any relevant activities are very aware of their type of addictions, and even the harms that caused by the addiction, but keep doing the addictive types of behaviors in anyway. This can be because they are not able to feel they can cope without the process of addiction, because they are always avoiding and dealing with some other issue that the addiction distracts them from such as being abused as a child or because they do not know how to enjoy his/her life any other way that may always become to pleasurable and enjoyable.
The harms of addiction may only be recognized or find out when the addicted person goes through a dangerous type of crisis. This can happen when the addictive substance or behavior is taken away completely and the person goes into withdrawal process and cannot able to cope. Or, it can occur as a consequence of the addiction, such as a serious type of illness, a partner or love one leaving or loss of a job.