The addiction


Addiction, or as it is called in the jargon, the "harmful use and dependence on psychoactive substances", is a huge problem that does not adhere to layers or educational standards, but affects all strata of the population.

Almost everyone knows somebody, who "fully refuels every weekend until the pupil stops". Also smokes almost every 5th adult in Germany, although in the meantime most of them may be aware of what the consequences are or can be (see also mental disorder / drug psychosis).

Substances that are addictive affect both the body and our psyche. Mostly, they ensure that you temporarily get into a state that is experienced as nicer, quieter or more relaxed than without the substances. The problem here is that people can get used to such conditions and want to experience them as often as possible. They become dependent. An addiction is negated.

Here you can read more about the consequences of drugs like cannabis, ecstasy or amphetamines.


Seek drugs

How many people ultimately meet the criteria for dependence can only be estimated. Unfortunately, because it typically belongs to the disorder that there are tendencies to understatement or denial of consumption, one tries to use various well-known statistics (eg accident statistics or arrests for doge possession).

The most common addictive disorder is tobacco dependence. Statistics assume at least 10 million dependents.

The second most addictive disease in Germany is alcohol dependence / alcoholism. About 2.5 million suffer from this disease.
However, there are also estimates that, with the inclusion of the so-called "dark figure", an incidence of 10-15%, ie 8 to 12 million patients, can be assumed.

About 1.5 million people in our country suffer from drug dependence (painkillers, sedatives, sleeping pills, etc.)

Regarding the so-called illegal drugs (heroin, cocaine, etc.), the numbers vary between 90, 000 and 160, 000 patients.

Apart from drug dependence, there are significantly more men than women in the group of patients. The typical starting age for tobacco and alcohol is between the ages of 16 and 18 years.

Classification of addiction

Substance-related addiction

Substance-related addiction describes the dependence on certain substances. The sufferers have a very strong desire to consume this substance over again and lose depending on which substance is used, the control of their lives.

The alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction is a widespread phenomenon. Those affected consume larger quantities of alcoholic drinks every day.
This has a negative impact on the cardiovascular system. In addition, organ damage can occur. Especially the liver is often affected. Over time, the affected can also come to a change in nature.
Therapy should be from several areas. Psychotherapeutic care is an important foundation here.

The nicotine addiction

Another widespread addiction is the nicotine addiction. Nicotine stimulates the body's reward system and feels good. Over time, a dependency arises.
However, nicotine is very harmful to our bodies. In particular, the heart, lungs and stomach are damaged. It comes to symptoms such as high blood pressure and shortness of breath, but also stomach ulcers may arise. In addition, the risk of cancer cancers rises sharply.
There are several tips and tricks on how to stop smoking successfully.

The cannabis addiction

The consumption of cannabis (so-called "grass") has increased significantly in recent years. It has a relaxing, euphoric effect. Regular consumption leads to mental and physical dependence.
Cannabis has a negative impact on cognitive performance, such as memory. In addition, psychosis and hallucinations can be triggered.
Depending on the severity of the dependency, outpatient or inpatient treatment may be necessary.

Memory problems and / by drugs - Causes & Therapy

Look for hard drugs

Hard drugs are substances such as heroin and coke. These have a euphoric effect on mood and quickly lead to dependence.

Cocaine has negative effects on the cardiovascular system and can lead to hallucinations. Pure heroin, on the other hand, hardly damages the organs. However, this drug leads to a social isolation, since those affected are very fixated on consumption.
Therapy should be on several levels, including psychotherapeutic measures.

Looking for medicines

The drug addiction describes the strong desire for certain drugs. These are usually analgesics and sleeping pills. The affected are mostly women of older age.
The drug addiction is a widespread phenomenon, which is often not recognized correctly. When discontinuing the medication typical withdrawal symptoms arise such as restlessness, irritability, nausea and the mental craving for the drug.

Patients should first contact the family doctor or seek psychotherapeutic treatment.

Substance-independent addiction

The anorexia

Anorexia (also called anorexia nervosa) describes an escalation that affects mostly young women. Those affected try to eat as little as possible to lose as much weight as possible. This can even lead to life-threatening conditions, as the organs are no longer sufficiently supplied with nutrients.
Other symptoms that can be caused by anorexia are circulatory disorders, hormonal disorders and depression.

Treatment for anorexia should be inpatient. In addition, a psychotherapeutic treatment should be done to treat individual conflicts that cause this eating disorder.


Also, bulimia is an eating disorder with the aim of weight loss. In contrast to anorexia, those affected eat a lot in a short time. However, as these food cravings are associated with weight gain, self-induced vomiting is often provoked.
Symptoms of bulimia include circulatory disorders, electrolyte imbalances, anemia, heartburn and depression.
Therapy should also be stationary. Accompanying psychotherapeutic measures should be taken.

The media addiction

The media addiction describes the excessive use of media, such as the Internet, the TV or the cell phone.
Affected chat for hours on the Internet or play online. Others sit in front of the TV all day. Social contacts are increasingly being neglected.

Those affected should receive psychotherapeutic treatment for these reasons.

The gambling addiction

This addiction describes a loss of control in gambling.
Affected people are investing more and more money and trying to compensate for losses. You get caught in a vicious circle and get into debt frequently. Even social contacts are neglected.
Physical symptoms are scarce. Only irritability, nervousness, sleep problems and depressive moods can be observed.

The therapy should be done by psychotherapeutic measures. In addition, self-help groups are available, which you can turn to.

The workaholism

Workaholism describes people who are dependent on their work and need it for their personal well-being.
The affected people work above average and are very perfectionist. Social contacts are neglected for reasons of time. In the course of time, symptoms such as depression and anxiety may arise.

Those affected should be treated psychotherapeutically to identify the cause of addiction and to treat successfully.

The shopping addiction

Shopping addiction describes the compulsion to buy clothes or items that are not needed. Often, these are young women trying to improve their self-esteem and gain recognition.
Due to this compulsion, those involved spend money unchecked and get into debt. Consequently, a bad conscience, anxiety and depression arise.

In Germany, shopping addiction is not recognized as an independent disease. Those affected are recommended for treatment behavioral therapy or joining in self-help groups.

Classification of addiction to ICD-10

To diagnose a disease, at least 3 of the following criteria must be met:

  1. It comes to tolerance development. Tolerance means that a patient needs more and more substance over time to feel the same positive effect.
    For example, an alcoholic who drank half a bottle of schnapps at the beginning of his illness to induce a state of pleasant intoxication will probably need a whole bottle after a few weeks to feel like he did at the beginning of the illness.
  2. Physical withdrawal symptoms. This means that if you do not take the substance you will get the typical physical symptoms that indicate the body needs its "poison". Typically one sees here an increased sweating, physical restlessness, trembling and insomnia.
  3. Substance use with the aim to reduce withdrawal symptoms. This means that the advanced stage of the disease is no longer just about intoxication, but rather that it is often necessary to take substances to get into a "neutral" state at all.
  4. Decreased ability to control the onset, cessation, and amount of consumption. Normally you take a substance to get a specific effect and then stop feeding. You drink a certain amount and then stop. The addictive disease, however, makes the patient "baseless" or "low-maintenance". They lose control over the beginning, end and amount of consumption. This is operated as an unlimited matter of course and thus pursues no real, limited purpose more. For example, take a single glass of wine to drink and then drink a whole bottle.
  5. Strong desire to consume certain substances. This mechanism is also called "Craving". This refers to a desire that is so strong that it overlays all good intentions or imminent negative consequences. This form of desire is not associated with withdrawal symptoms.
    Example: An alcoholic patient once called this desire towards me: it feels like you are trekking through the desert for three days and then finding an oasis. There can still be so many warning signs. They will drink!
  6. Narrowed behavioral pattern in dealing with psychoactive substances. This means that, for example, the alcohol or cannabis loses its original purpose in the context of dependency. Previously, they might have been seen as a boost or simply as part of a successful weekend and socializing. Later, however, you are only used to no longer perceive reality, or simply because it has become a habit. It's about being "on it" because life so sober is so hard to bear.
  7. Progressive neglect of other pleasures or interests. By this is meant that addiction, much like cancer, proliferates into the patient's life and determines more and more areas of life.

The Addiction 1995 (February 2020).

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