Addiction - Does it exist or is it a state of the mind? by Saaim Khan

Essay by saaimkhanA, March 2004

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To smoke and drink, or not to do so, is not the question here. The question in fact, is the very nature of these indulgences. Why do we adhere to them so religiously? That is because they are forms of pleasure that we think we can't do without. Nicotine is a relaxant of some sort and we seem to rely on it. Not knowing why, we think we are 'hooked' to them. I'd like to concentrate more towards smoking because that is what most teenagers are into these days.

I have a lot of friends that smoke and drink, and all of them seem to believe that they are 'hooked' onto it. Yet, I find it hard to believe since not only have I read, but seen, examples of people quitting smoking and drinking after being indulged in it for more than a decade.

This leads me to think about the origin of addiction itself.

Once reading a psychologists' journal, I came across one psychiatrist observing the following:

"Insomniacs are, in most cases, people who have convinced themselves (subconsciously) that they do not need sleep, thus, suffer from the lack of it."

So, it is, in my view that addiction is a state of mind. I don't think it is prudent to include pages and pages of medical data, but I suppose everybody agrees that the pang and urge to have nicotine and alcohol is 75% based on psychological factors than that of physical. Only in cases of more severe drugs like heroin, could I agree that it is indeed an addiction of physical nature. Nevertheless, I'd like to indicate that smoking and drinking are only choices we take to live by. Beyond that, they are nothing more than indulgences.

As I mentioned earlier, people who seem to have...