person holding a playing cards

Have you ever heard someone joke about being addicted to chocolate or something else and unfortunately the reality of addiction is no joke.
An addiction can be to a substance like drugs or alcohol or to a behavior like playing video games, so what is the difference between really liking something and being addicted? The difference lies in three main things; obsessive thoughts, feeling like you can’t stop and continuing to use or do that substance or behavior despite having negative consequences.

Meet Tony, he really likes video games and plays them everyday… at first he kept up with his grades but started doing less of his homework then he started staying up later and later to play, this caused him to be exhausted at school. When his parents tried to get him to stop playing so much, Tony got very angry which wasn’t like him and he started skipping school so Tony’s parents had him talk to a counselor… he didn’t want to at first but things slowly started getting better, the real Tony returned when he got some balance back in his life and reconnected with those around him.

So how does someone become addicted and why can’t they just stop? Sometimes a person starts using a substance or behavior to fit in, other times it’s to ease the pain from a traumatic experience or mental health issues, it also has to do with how the brain works when you do something that feels good or exciting like eating ice cream, the pleasure pathways in your brain are activated and feel-good chemicals are released, this same pleasure pathway is activated when you consume drugs or alcohol over time and the pathways in your brain get used to having this thing in your life which can make it really hard to stop if you feel like you just can’t stop doing something you’re not alone…. with the help of a counselor you can begin to work to get your brain back from being hijacked. It will take time for your brain to create new pathways but you can get back on track and find some peace in your life

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