There disease of addiction has different levels when someone becomes physically addicted it usually means that they are in the later stages of the disease. Being physically addicted means a person's body actually becomes dependent on a particular substance. Prescription medications such as pain killers, muscle relaxants, and even some sleeping aids can create dependency. Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are also physically addictive. Addiction also means building tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than before to get the same effects. Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, prescription medication or cigarettes will experience withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.
The most difficult part of addiction is the psychological aspect. Craving for a substance can over power all logic and take over. Even though the person affected knows that using the substance is troublesome, they have no power to defeat the desire. Many people believe that all it takes to surmount addiction is will power; this is one of the most dangerous misconceptions about the disease. Addiction to a substance has nothing to do with how smart, resourceful or strong the individual is in other aspects of their lives. Addiction is a disease of the mind that does not allow access to the logic part of the brain. In the later stages the substance and the need to use it become part of the body's needs rather than wants. When craving comes and the individual is not armed with the proper support there is not choice, they will use. The substance becomes the center of the individual's thoughts and dominates their lives.
Denial is the biggest obstacle that stands between addiction and recovery. Before someone can do anything about a problem they have to acknowledge that there is a problem. Addiction is the only disease that tells the person affected that everything is OK and they are in control, most of the time it takes a lot of suffering before the person is even willing to admit that they are out of control.
Hitting bottom is a term used to describe when someone is ready to stop.
Before hitting bottom the person is usually faced with several attempts to stop or slow down by them selves. This tends to be the longest part of the process, not wanting to believe that they can no longer control the substance, and the inability to imagine life without it causes them to look to others to help. This is when recovery can begin. Recovery is a multifaceted process, and may take several attempts to work. However the idea that the substance it the problem, not the solution must be realized deeply.