Addiction is a disease that affects the lives of so many people, the numbers are staggering. Even more alarming is the fact that many addicts are in denial, which means that the number of people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in our country could be far greater than we actually know.The addict of drugs or alcohol is generally in a state of denial and believes that he or she can stop at any time. This is not true. Once an addict has begun the cycle of denial, they have entered the realm of addiction. Although they know it is wrong and they know the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on them both mentally and physically, they put these negative effects and consequences out of their mind and continue to use. This is the quagmire of addiction. How, then, does addiction work? Let’s take a brief look at what some of the determining factors are.FROM A SCIENTIST’S POINT OF VIEWCompulsion is the main aspect that propels an addict through their addiction. Addiction manifests itself in different ways, and can sprout up seemingly out of nowhere. Science has been studying addiction for many years now, attempting to locate the addiction centers to see exactly how they work. The trouble with this is that addiction is a very individualized behavior, slightly different with every individual it affects.Psychological addiction is when an addict believes that he or she needs the substance they abuse to be able to function. Whether it is a drink to calm their nerves or a line of cocaine to give them a pick-me-up, the psychological addict honestly believes that they are fine, but that they require these substances to feel balanced. Although not as serious as a physical addiction, psychological addiction is very strong and debilitating for addicts nonetheless.Physical addiction is when the addict’s body requires certain amounts of a drug to be able to function. This is quite common with users of crack cocaine, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and even alcohol. The addict has used these substances for so long and so frequently that there body is unable to function properly without certain levels of drugs and/or alcohol in their system. Without the drugs or alcohol, the body begins to experience withdrawal. Withdrawal is a painful process in which the body begins to shut down and violently crave the drugs that it needs in order to function.GENETICALLY SPEAKINGAccording to some scientists, a person’s genes can determine whether or not they have a propensity for addiction. There are even some in the scientific community who have gone so far as to claim that certain ethnic backgrounds are more at-risk for addiction than others. Whether this is true or not, statistically speaking, familial traits do seem to play a role in the addictive behaviors of individuals. This could also be because those who have sought treatment in the past recognize it at earlier stages than those who have not had to deal with addiction in their families.ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORSEnvironment has a lot to do with how individuals behave. Many addicts grew up around other addicts, whether in the immediate family or with those that they spent a lot of time with during their development. Neighborhoods where drugs are prevalent naturally have more addicts than “clean” neighborhoods, although no one is immune to the problem of addiction.FINAL THOUGHTSThe fact of the matter is that addiction cannot be traced back to one factor. There are usually several precipitating factors that ultimately help to spawn an addict. A combination of genetic or family history, combined with an environment in which the potential addict is exposed frequently to drug and alcohol abuse compounds the likelihood of addiction in an individual. The important thing to remember is that addiction is a disease. No one chooses to become an addict; there are many factors involved. Seeking help and beginning a rehab program of recovery is the best way to fight back.