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Addiction is not only to substances exerting a physical effect on the body, such as drugs and alcohol, but can also be to activities such as gambling, shopping, even using the internet.
Engaging in these activities can make you feel happy e.g. winning a bet or going on a shopping spree. Your brain releases "feel-good" chemicals, which encourage you to repeat the behaviour as it provides a "high."
This "high" can lead to an uncontrollable desire to continue with the activity, despite the negative effects it may have on your life. If this is the case, you are dealing with an addiction.
All addictions have to be taken seriously, as they can have a huge impact on your physical and psychological health. Addictions can cause depression, sleep disturbances, panic attacks, poor performance at work, obsessive-compulsive traits and financial difficulties.