Intoxicants and addictions

Addictions may be based on habits or genetic factors.

An addiction is formed when using a specific substance or doing specific things gives you physical or mental pleasure. Things like alcohol or gambling make you feel good, and you get addicted to this pleasant feeling. The faster you gain pleasure, the easier the addiction is formed.

Addiction may develop as a reaction to life crises. There may also be habits learned in childhood or youth behind the addiction, or genetic factors that increase the risks of addiction. Often, addiction is a sum of multiple factors. Young people become addicted to intoxicants more easily than adults.

Nuortenlinkki (in Finnish) provides information about various substances and habits that cause addiction.

Using intoxicants always results in physical and mental problems

Addictions harm health and well-being. The addictive substances or habits provide pleasure, but also guilt. Along with the addiction, you have less control over your life, and your behaviour harms both yourself and the people close to you.

The use of intoxicants may cause problems even before serious addiction. Intoxicants impair your judgement and may make you more aggressive and irritable. Intoxicants also affect the nervous system and the entire body, and poisonings and mental health disorders are possible.

If you stop using intoxicants suddenly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sleeping problems, restlessness, trembling, confusion, increased body temperature, sweating, nausea and various problems with balance and the sense of touch. The blood pressure and heart rate may also rise. At their strongest, withdrawal symptoms may even involve loss of consciousness, convulsions, visual and auditory hallucinations and psychotic symptoms.

If you feel you have problems with intoxicants or gambling, for example, you can seek help. The Youth Station offers services to young people aged 13–23 regarding problems related to intoxicants, among other things.