When it comes to defining addiction you will find that it can be seen as a mental illness. As one suffers from progressive psychological deterioration, which results from a dependence on either a substance or habit. Substance abuse, like other mental illnesses affects individuals from all cultural, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Childhood experiences, trauma, environment, peers and genetic can all play a significant role in the development of addiction.
Defining addiction has been termed a clinical dependence syndrome by the W.H.O. that includes a sense of compulsion to use a substance of which the user has difficulty in controlling and terminating the levels of use. A user will experience severe physiological withdrawal symptoms when the substance no longer has an effect, which means they will then keep using more to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
If a user is fully dependent on psychoactive substance, then their addiction can be defined as a mental illness. Addiction can be defined by the lack of employment and family activities, social withdrawal and low grades if still attending school. Addicts invest in excessive amounts of energy and time obtaining and using a substance of their choice. Despite the dangers, health implications, financial and legal issues an addict will continue to use the substance.
Another condition that is related to substance abuse is antisocial personality disorder whereby individuals look for more harmful ways in which to harm themselves, and have no consideration of the consequences. Research has shown that around 90 percent of people with personality disorder also have a co-occurring addiction. Families that have a family member that is an addict suffer extreme stress as they will invest significant amounts of money to try and get help and emotional support for their loved one.
Defining addiction as a mental illness also happens when the addiction is also associated mental disorders such as bipolar, ADHD, schizophrenia, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Studies have revealed that there is a high rate of co-occurring disorders and it is suggested that addiction starts first which in turn causes other mental illnesses. Commonly associated illnesses associated with addiction are anxiety, panic attacks and depression. A major contribution leading to addiction is due to people self medicating themselves.