Addiction refers to a difficulty in controlling certain repetitive behaviours to the extent that they have harmful consequences. They are the result of powerful compulsions to use and do certain things excessively, often out of a need to escape from upsetting emotions or situations. These compulsions can trigger a self-perpetuating process, which can cause pain and suffering not only for those with the problem, but for their loved ones too.
Addictions can develop from what may be fairly innocent, or at least common social habits. Drinking alcohol, gambling, eating, taking drugs and using the internet can all turn from what is considered a common activity, to a darker, more destructive compulsion.
Addictions may come from the way these activities and habits make people feel, both emotionally and physically. They can be pleasurable – a form of escapism for someone who perhaps is going through a difficult time. But this moment of pleasure can trigger a powerful need to continue the habit or activity, over and over, in order to feel that way again.