According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word "addict" is defined as a person who gives himself over obsessively to a substance, activity or behavioral pattern. Many of us tend to think of the term "addiction" as referring explicity to drugs and alcohol - however, the term is far broader than that. Illegal substances are certainly addictive, but there are other things that can become the source of addiction, too. For example, a person might become addicted to card games or placing bets. If you think about it, addiction in its various forms is rampant in our society. It is so widespread that it has, in fact, become characteristic of our very culture.
There are hundreds and thousands of citizens, for instance, who see no danger in going out to a game hall for the occasional round of Bingo. It may seem innocent, indeed, but is it really? Among those thousands of innocent Bingo players, there are some who are masking their addiction to the game. These regulars make it a habit to play Bingo nightly, shelling out wads of cash to participate and to buy new cards to fuel their obsessive activity. They go to a new hall every night so as not to attract suspicion. Spending excessively, hiding their whereabouts, sneaking around - such actions are the very hallmark of addictive behavior.
While addiction may be physical in nature, it can also manifest itself as an invisible or non-physical activity. Many of us tell small lies as a way of being polite to those around us, but what about people who tell lies every single day, all the time, as though they had no other option? These compulsive liars have as little control over what they say as gambling addicts do over their need to play Bingo. It is but one example of an emotional, intangible behavior that is a manifestation of an addictive personality.
One way to understand both these physical and emotional addictions is to examine the root cause of addictive behavior. All addictions have at their source some deep-seated psychological need to act in an obsessive or compulsive manner. That is why you cannot just take away an alcohol's bottles and expect him to be cured. You cannot treat just the physical symptoms or restrict access to the object of the obsession. You must dig deeper and address the cause. For this reason, addicts are regularly inducted into treatment facilities where their emotional, as well as physical, needs are taken care of.
In nearly every household across this country you will come across at least one person who has some obsessive activity-playing a video game, golfing, buying shoes. So curing addiction is not just a matter of stopping the activity itself - it's more important to address the root cause, the innermost need to do that activity. As long as we fail to see that point, we will continue to be a nation of addicts.