What is addiction in psychology - types, stages of formation and prevention in adolescents and adults

Greetings, friends!

A few decades ago, it was believed that only certain chemicals caused addiction. But later it became clear that this phenomenon has a complex psychophysiological nature. And very often, addiction is only a consequence of the fact that a person is looking for a way to “escape” from reality. This phenomenon was called addictive behavior, and today we will analyze in detail what this phenomenon is, how it manifests itself, how it develops and how to deal with it.

What is addiction

In psychology, the concept of “addiction” is a form of disorder that entails destructive behavior. Studied by clinical sociology and psychology. Due to life difficulties or family relationships, a person seeks to escape reality into the virtual or unreal world. Addiction begins as a simple addiction and, after emotional satisfaction, it becomes an addiction. A person prone to addiction begins to use various substances in order to change his own psychological state.

Strategic family psychotherapy

This approach involves identifying discrepancies between the family hierarchy and the traditional one and its subsequent correction. In ordinary families, parents control their children. In families where a teenager develops an addiction, he begins to control his parents, remaining dependent on them financially and emotionally. In the process of psychotherapy, the doctor helps to establish relationships in the family in which parents occupy the highest level of the family hierarchy. Communication between parents and children, in addition to the emotional component, includes clearly defined expectations for the child’s behavior, the rules of his behavior and the measures that will be applied in case of violation of these rules. After the normal hierarchy is restored, the teenager cannot control his parents, due to which constructive behavior is restored.

Signs of addictive behavior

Addictiveness is a very complex disorder. To come to the aid of a loved one, you need to determine whether he is addicted or not. It is difficult to identify this, especially when a person is between “two fires,” that is, in the first stages of the disorder. To find out at what stage this problem develops, consider the characteristic signs of the disorder:

  • Lie. This is either a pathological personality trait of a person or an acquired one. The person hides the truth and tries to transfer responsibility to someone else.
  • Complexes. A person begins to close himself off, constantly looking for ways to humiliate himself. Outwardly, the patient tries to find a way to look and behave better than others.
  • Fear of getting attached. A person avoids any manifestations of attention to his person, prefers to remain lonely and not look for a soul mate.
  • Anxiety. The patient has paranoid anxiety, due to which he can stay for a long time near the object of his addiction. Premonitions of some kind of trouble prevent a person from going out.
  • Manipulation. Due to the fact that the patient has various complexes, he tries to manipulate his loved ones, threatening violence or suicide, wanting to achieve what he wants.
  • Stereotypical thinking. Roughly speaking, a dependent person tries to imitate the “herd,” that is, his close circle. This happens regardless of the desire of the patient with addiction. Other people's thoughts are his thoughts. The patient cannot express his own opinion, is complex, believes that his point of view means nothing.
  • Reluctance to take responsibility for one's actions. A patient with such a disorder does not want to be responsible for his actions, actions, and is afraid of criticism or condemnation.

Characteristics of an addictive personality

In the modern world, it is difficult to determine deviant behavior of a person, even taking into account all the above signs. The fact is that society and people's social lives are constantly changing. Because of this, communication difficulties arise, and the individual cannot fully reveal his potential, he simply does not have time. This gives rise to complexes, feelings of inferiority, stereotypical thinking, and more.


If your loved one is characterized by gambling, loneliness, the desire to stand out from the crowd, psychological instability, unfavorable life circumstances, and others, he is at risk. Addictive behavior occurs when a child or person lives in a family that is in a difficult situation. That is, any negative emotions and attempts to express oneself at the expense of a psychologically weak child or person lead to such consequences.

Addiction can manifest itself across generations, from parent to child. This disorder affects children from immoral or single-parent families, even where violence, scandals or criminal tendencies are present. The development of the disorder can also be influenced by a public place (school, university, work). In such institutions, hard work and acquiring knowledge are paramount, but not relationships between peers.

Addictive behavior in adolescents

Unfortunately, today most teenagers suffer from addictive disorder. The problem is that during adolescence the child tries to join a group of peers who may turn out to be bad company. He unknowingly starts drinking, smoking or taking drugs in order to prove that he is the same as others.

A temporary bad habit gradually turns into a permanent one. A family in which a child does not feel needed and loved can also lead to addiction. He runs away from problems by closing himself off, playing games or drinking with his peers in the yard. If you do not notice the signs of an addictive disorder in time, the child can destroy himself: during this period his emotional threshold is very high.

How to recognize if you are addicted to something?

Most people are sure that addictive behavior is the lot of homeless people or losers in life. In fact, this can affect anyone. Here are 7 signs by which you can recognize an unhealthy relationship with your favorite things (actions/substances/products):

  1. Your behavior has changed . For the sake of pleasure, you are able to leave the house at night, go to the other end of the city, and cheat.
  2. You feel bad when the source of pleasure is absent . Without your usual actions or medications, you experience anxiety, worry, and cannot concentrate on household chores.
  3. You spend too much money on pleasure . You don’t buy necessary things, don’t pay your rent bills, borrow money from friends.
  4. You feel physiological discomfort . When you try to give up the usual pleasure, a headache, sleep disturbance, incomprehensible fatigue or classic withdrawal begins.
  5. You change your mind . For example, when you voluntarily give up sweets, you begin to come up with various excuses - why you need “sweets for the brain” or without the usual candy you will not be able to concentrate on work.
  6. You change your usual daily routine . The day begins and passes under the slogan of your favorite habit. If you are unable to perform your usual ritual, you will be nervous and feel that “something is wrong.”
  7. You are not interested in the opinions of others . You are not afraid of scandals, ultimatums, problems at work, or condemnation from your relatives. You only think about your habit and prove that you are right.

Now it’s clear how to define addictive behavior. Now we need to decide what to do about it.

Stages of formation of addictive behavior

Addictive behavior is divided into five stages. In the first two cases, a person can still be saved by taking him to a psychologist to determine the main causes of the disorder and take measures to avoid the subsequent development of addiction. At the last stage, the person’s personality is completely destroyed, which can lead to other more serious mental disorders. Next, let's look at the steps in more detail:

  • Stage 1. “First tests”. At this stage, a person first becomes acquainted with a subject that causes addictive dependence.
  • Stage 2. “Addictive rhythm.” This stage is considered a “transfer point”. Depending on the severity of the problems, a person decides whether to move on or stop everything.
  • Stage 3. “Addictive behavior.” At this stage, the patient does not recognize his addiction. He develops anxiety, restlessness and other addictive reactions. If at the second stage the person still doubts, then at the third stage a conflict begins inside the patient between “I am the former” and “I am the real one.”
  • Stage 4. “Complete predominance of addictive behavior.” The person’s former “I” is destroyed, the object of addiction does not bring the same pleasure.
  • Stage 5. “Addictive catastrophe.” At this stage of addiction disorder, the person’s personality is completely destroyed mentally and biologically.
  • Skin cancer initial stage - photo
  • Treatment of seborrheic dermatitis at home
  • Why do women dream about pregnancy?


It is better to identify addiction in the initial stages and prevent it from progressing further. Preventive measures have a specific action plan.

It is necessary to try to determine the tendency to addictive behavior in childhood or adolescence. With the help of conversations, you can understand whether there are problems in the family: whether the child has low self-esteem, problems at school and other experiences.

It is important to tell children as much as possible about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. It is necessary to talk about methods with which you can cope with stress.

As a last resort, you can contact a psychologist who will conduct a conversation and correct the child’s negative outlook on life.

Types of addictions

The problem of addictive disorder in the modern world has become significant. The fact is that the causes of this disorder are growing. Addictions appear depending on the appearance of new gadgets, alcoholic beverages, drugs and other items that cause addiction. Addictive disorders are divided into chemical and non-chemical types of dependence.


Chemical addictive disorders require a specific substance to cause dependence. These include such addiction options as: alcohol dependence (alcoholism), drug addiction, substance abuse, smoking. Next, we will discuss the signs of chemical addiction disorder. There are only seven of them, however, only at the first stage can you still somehow help a person:

  • the measure of substance use is lost;
  • memory losses;
  • physical suffering, changes in speech;
  • negation;
  • thoughts are aimed at satisfying their needs regarding addiction;
  • taking substances to improve well-being;
  • problems in the environment.


Non-chemical addictions do not require a specific addictive substance. Behavioral addictions include such activities as: computer addiction, relationship addiction, workaholism, Internet addiction, sports addiction, shopaholism, overeating or starvation, procrastination, gambling. Signs of a non-chemical addictive disorder:

  • the player is constantly in the game;
  • the range of interests changes;
  • loss of self-control;
  • the appearance of irritation and anxiety;
  • loss of strength to resist.

Deviation Definition

Addictiveness or addictive behavior of adolescents belongs to the group of behavioral deviations (dependencies). The concept appeared not so long ago. The broad meaning of the word “dependency” implies placing hopes on someone or something in order to obtain satisfaction or adapt to environmental conditions.

Teenagers are more likely than other age groups to become addicted. Their psyche is not yet fully formed, hormonal changes occur in the body, the individual learns to recognize himself as part of society, communicate, and adapts to adult life. Addictive behavior is very closely related to the abuse of psychotropic substances, communication with certain people, certain types of activities (sports, sex, gambling) and violations of rights and personal needs, which should make the rebel harmonious and happy.

Translated from English, the word addiction means “inclination, addiction.” If we turn to the Latin roots of the word, we get the translation “tied by debts.” When a person constantly tries to escape reality, a persistent psychological dependence arises. It is not as difficult to eliminate chemical factors as psychological ones.

Types of addictive behavior

Addiction among adolescents comes in varying degrees of severity. It can be almost imperceptible, similar to the individual’s normal behavior, or it can go to extremes. A high degree of addictiveness is accompanied by psychosomatic pathologies. Different forms of dependencies have the ability to combine and transform into one another. Having given up alcohol, a person begins to smoke a lot; Having given up drugs, many people come to religion, becoming fanatics and thus maintaining their psychological state at the same level as before.

Treatment of addictive behavior

Addiction can only be dealt with if the patient understands the complexity of the problem and strives to get rid of the addiction. The quality of treatment depends on the wishes of the patient. However, this is possible if he is supported by his family or close people. Practical treatment is prescribed by a psychologist or narcologist. In case of drug addiction, the patient is placed in special drug treatment centers for detoxification of the body.

( 1 rating, average 5 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
For any suggestions regarding the site: [email protected]
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]