If you are a person who feels you aren’t affected by addiction, you may think of it as a problem that “other” people have. People who don’t share your willpower, level of maturity, or ability to make good decisions. You may think of addicts as selfish or weak, you may find yourself thinking of them as those “other” people. But are they?

The fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” published by the American Psychiatric Association does not look at addiction as something defined by the severity of the problems caused by the substance one is addicted to. Instead it defines addictions as something that is craved, something that someone still consumes even after they have tried to stop, a substance that someone has built up a psychological tolerance to. It goes on to classify the severity of addictions, but these rankings are based on the effects of the addiction not on the substance one is addicted to. Knowing this, if we really look at ourselves, aren’t we all addicts?

Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, prescription painkillers, these are all substances we can become addicted to. Addicts crave these substances, they feel they need these things to be normal, they don’t want to give them up. There are other things that produce the same effects for some of us though, smoking, exercise, a glass of wine with dinner. There are less obvious substances that many find themselves addicted to as well, such as travel, conspiracy theories, or collecting. We are all addicts, we all have our addictions, some more socially acceptable than others. We may think our addictions are harmless, and they very well may be, but any addiction, if it becomes severe enough, can cause harm. We should also be aware that the damage caused by addiction is rarely isolated to the addict alone. Addiction is a condition that affects everyone within its reach.

As you view these photos they may seem fairly obvious in their editorial content, but I believe that if you think about yourself and the people you know while viewing them, that additional meanings will become obvious. Just keep in mind, addiction seems to ignore all social and economic and cultural boundaries. You are probably one of those “other” people as well.

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