Addiction: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Research has shown that over 65% of people globally have at one point or the other being addicted to a particular practice or behaviour. Addiction is often attached to bad practices or behaviours ranging from drug abuse to gambling to alcoholism and sex.

What is Addiction?

Addiction according to the Oxford Current English Dictionary is defined as the condition of doing or using something as a habit or compulsively. It is also a condition in which a person is unable to stop using a substance or engaging in a behaviour.

Addiction could be substance or behavioural related. The substance part of addiction involves the use of hard drugs, caffeine, alcohol and so on, while the behavioural part includes practices like gambling, smoking, masturbation, hyper-sexualism and so on. Addiction is also a state of being compulsively committed to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.


Addiction could be caused by any of the following:

1. Peer Group influence: a lot of people addicted to one form of lifestyle or the other were introduced to such by friends and peer groups, after which it became an addiction for them.

2. Loneliness: like the popular saying ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. loneliness tends to make people engage in so many vices capable of leading to addiction, therefore their mind has to be engaged with productive ideas.

3. Curiosity: ‘curiosity kills the cat’ as the saying goes, sometimes people may start a habit out of curiosity, which over time can lead to addiction.


The following are some of the Symptoms of Addiction

  • An inability to stop a particular habit, that is, not being able to live without engaging in a particular thing or habit on a daily or continual basis, even when its consequences are negative.
  • Changes in mood, appetite and sleep: addiction affects your mood and sometimes your enthusiasm.
  • Continuing practice despite negative consequences. The habit cannot be easily dropped, it forms part of your normal daily routine over time.
  • Engaging in risky behaviours, like drug abuse, alcohol and other vices capable of causing harm to the person involved.
  • Losing interest in other things you used to enjoy doing before. When you are addicted to such a lifestyle you discover you begin to lose interest and participation in things you hitherto had a passion for.
  • Tends to be secretive lately. Addiction will make you start hiding some behaviour and this may have an adverse effect on you.

The way out

The Solution to Addiction includes the following amongst others

Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be used to address thought and behaviour patterns that contribute to addiction and its cravings.

Medications: To help treat cravings and withdrawal symptoms as well as other drugs to treat underlying mental disorders and anxiety.

Support Groups and self-help: This can also help in treating addicted individuals. Great resources for education and social support are given and individuals learn new ways to cope during recovery.

Watch and Care: Watch and care should be placed more on people or age groups that are prone to one form of addiction or the other, they should be monitored continually to ensure that they are engaged in productive activities.


Addiction should be viewed from a psychological and physical perspective rather than from a spiritual angle as is often the case in Africa. We tend to view people’s behaviour or a certain way of life as being influenced by spiritual forces. Behaviours and Habits are formed over time, leading to a way of life. Therefore, people should be encouraged to form and imbibe good and positive habits. Rather than affiliating it to spiritual interference, spell or spiritual attacks, it should be physically or psychologically handled.


If you like this article, please share with others
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments