Addictions are often associated with activities that initially bring pleasure and release from everyday life and pressures. The highs and satisfaction gained from participating in such activities stimulate chemicals produced in the brain encouraging participation. When life is empty and these chemicals are not naturally present; when we are low or depressed, the tendency to addiction can increase. Stimulation and reward are often ingredients of addiction. Alcohol, drugs, eating, gambling, shopping, sex and internet use all produce highs which need to be repeated.
The craving or impulse associated with addiction offer a temporary escape from the realities of life and is often used to deal with depression or anxiety. The long term consequences bring extra guilt and shame which eventually create an increasingly destructive cycle drawing in family and friends.
Addiction can be viewed as an inability to stop repetitive behaviour in spite of the harmful consequences.