Addiction is another word for dependency. We can be dependent on many things, but this does not always have to be negative. Most people are dependent on social relationships; during childhood and adolescence we are dependent on our parents. However, when we speak of an addiction, the situation is different. In such cases, a person is so heavily dependent on a certain substance - like alcohol or drugs - or on a certain behavior – such as computer games - that they cannot imagine a life without it. People often lose control of themselves and are unable to overcome their addiction without help. With physical addition, addicts get so used to the substance over time and thus need more and more of it over time to achieve the desired effect. People with an alcohol addiction for example can drink much more than other people before they feel drunk. In Germany, addiction is considered as an illness, and therefore affected people are entitled to medical or physiological treatment.

The reason why people become addicted to certain substances or behaviors is hard to tell. However, one thing is certain: Whether substances like alcohol or drugs, or certain behaviors like playing World of Warcraft, the addiction helps to forget negative thoughts or feelings for a certain period. Therefore, it is assumed that people who have experienced difficult times in their lives are more likely to develop an addiction than others.

The consequences of an addiction heavily depend on the type of addictive substance. Those who are dependent on cigarettes are at high risk of developing lung cancer, but are not psychologically restricted and live a normal life as other people do. Conversely, people addicted to computer games don’t necessarily have to fear physical consequences, but might not be able to maintain friendships or concentrate on school or work. Some addictions can destroy people both mentally and physically. This includes, for example, addiction to various drugs like alcohol, heroin, and in some cases even cannabis.

If you have the feeling, that you cannot cope without a certain substance or behavior, even though you feel that it is not good for you, you may have developed an addiction. Even iff you are unsure, you should get always look for support, for example, with the online advice from the FeM-Mädchenhaus