The progressive disease of addiction affects millions of Americans, and its’ devastating impacts go beyond the life of the addict.
Addiction affects the family and loved ones of the addict as well as the community and can lead to strained relationships, dysfunction, unemployment and incarceration–just to name a few of the consequences. According to various estimates, about 3.6 million people in the United States are addicted to or dependent on a wide range of drugs. Many are addicted to more than one. In addition, there are about 18.7 million alcoholics. However, there are millions more who may be addicted to things and activities that are outside the scope of drugs and alcohol. While it is true that people can technically be addicted to anything, the term addiction can be used liberally and can lose its’ true meaning. It is important to understand what addiction really is, what it does and some common things and activities that people can engage in an addictive fashion.
The Definition of Addiction
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the definition of addiction is the following:
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.“
To break it down in the simplest terms possible, addiction centers on the behaviors of those who are affected by this disease. While the degrees of separation that exist between addiction and dependence can be can vague, those who display true addictive behaviors focus their energies on obtaining the substance or performing an activity to such an absolute degree they fail to meet their personal, social, familial, educational and professional responsibilities. Additionally, those who are in the grips of addiction act impulsively and even recklessly and will continue to engage in this pattern of behavior despite the consequences of their actions.
Addiction: It Can Happen to Anyone
Oftentimes when people think about addicts, they may associate the term with those who are derelict or exist on the margins of society. In reality, addiction can develop in anyone and at anytime, regardless of age, socioeconomic status or cultural background. The line between things that are habitual and those which are addictive is the fact that habits are those actions done out of choice and a person could successfully stop those behaviors at any time. On the other hand, addictive behavior can develop in anyone and is a repetitive process that is used to distract us from feeling deeper discomfort, pain and trauma. Whether it is through a substance, thoughts or activities, addictive behaviors is to distract someone from actual pain they may experience.
Those actions–whether negative (such as substance abuse) or positive (such as exercise)–release powerful chemicals called endorphins in the brain which allows people to feel pleasure. The release of these chemicals reinforces the behavior and the addict will constantly engage in those behaviors that will help them feel good and becomes reinforced by repeating those actions; however, the real source of their stress and anxiety is not being addressed. People will continue to engage in those behaviors that are pleasing while the real source of their problems will continue to grow worse over time. As a result, those who are addicted are not aware of the damage their behavior is creating in their environment.
What Are The Common Addictions That Affect People?
While the primary focus of addiction is on drugs and alcohol, people can develop addictions to other things and activities and the effects of their lives and the lives of the family and loved ones can be equally devastating. Some common examples of these addictions can be the following:
People who are addicted to food tend to overeat or eat in binges, and they’re unable to control their eating. People who engage in these behaviors may do so because they are trying to cope with past trauma or fast failed relationships as example People who are addicted to food are often overweight or obese, but those of normal weight can also suffer from food addiction.
Shopping is an addiction in which people who are affected compulsively spend money regardless of need or if they can realistically can afford those purchases. It is estimated that six percent of the American population is affected by shopping addiction, and it can cause enormous financial difficulties for people. People who are addicted to shopping find it to be a stress reliever, and ironically, it helps them forget about their problems, especially money problems.
People enjoy the thrill they get from gambling and the risk that comes with it. Like shopping, gambling is a type of impulse control disorder. Those who are addicted to gambling often become obsessed with the thought of winning back the money they have lost, and so they continue to gamble despite the financial consequences.
Some people are addicted to emotional intimacy, which is a love addiction. People with this form of addiction engage in compulsive patterns in romance, sexuality and relationships that have harmful consequences for the addict and their partners. They seek the high that comes from being in love, and while it may be viewed as less damaging as other forms of addiction the end result can be broken relationships, lost marriages and custody issues.
People who are addicted to exercise are seeking out the rush of endorphins and adrenaline they feel from working out. Too much exercise can even lead to physical problems.
The Many Facets of Addiction
In addition to the ones listed above, people can also develop addictions towards the internet, pornography, anger and rage, body image, and video games to name a few. When people experience these types of addictions, they may feel guilt, shame or embarrassment they allowed themselves to fall into these traps. If you or a loved one are experiencing an addiction of any kind, there is help available to you that can allow you to break the cycle of addiction and reclaim your life. You can consult with your doctor, physician or an addiction specialist in regards to possible treatment options. Additionally, there are countless 12-Step programs that are available for many forms of addictions. While addiction can be very painful, there is help and resources available to help you find peace, serenity and recovery.
24 responses to “Different Types of Addictions – More Than Just Drugs”
Sex addiction is wretched!
You failed to mention one of the most common and serious addictions facing our teens and young adults today …. cutting and self harm. Please research and include these in your Listing. we have to be willing to talk about it and get addicts the help they need.
Thank you for mentioning this . I struggle with this and am in recovery. Thank you for caring.
I totally agree with you.
fucking Turtles <3
I don’t have nor plan to get piercings other than on my ear lobes. Just want to know if body piercings and tattoos can be addictive as well.
Jane Doe: body piercings and tattoos falls into “Impulse Control Disorders and Addictions” … Body Image
Addressed to “a mom who knows”: cutting and self-harm also falls into the “Impulse Control Disorders and Addictions” … Body Image.
drug addiction are not good in our body,health
Can looking at a mirror always be addictive?
I know a few people that seem to be addicted to criticizing and condemning others.
Area I was looking at was SEX ADDICTION.
Someone responded, ” Sex addiction is wretched. ”
I think its ok for me – until is causes problems, and then I will never stop wanting it until I die.
I would be a willing participant in a sexual addiction study of some sort.
All addictions are for a lack of something, not enough love growing up, isolation, being bullied, lack of pleasure in the brain, All areas are a pick me up for depression. Abuse as a child can bring harmful memories that are overwhelming and all it takes is something to trigger it. Anyway if you’ve heard of the seven deadly sins? According to the bible, Hell is real, I just want heaven as my home, not have addictions overwhelmingly over and over in Hell. Only one way into heaven is through Christ and Him alone. That’s what I’ve learned over 30+ years….
big props 2 cablevision i dont want no refund just ur help wen i was out
HI MY NAME IS LAMONE AND IM ADDICT. I BEEN ADDICTED TO OPIATES FOR 5YRS THIS IS THE WORST PART OF MY LIFE I DIDNT KNOW THE SIDE EFFECTS WOULD BE SO BAD I STARTED SNORTING ROXY “OXYCODONE” I WAS JUST SNORTING 1 PILL A DAY THEN CAME 2 A DAY AND IT GOT WORSE THE FIRST TIME I GOT SICK FROM THE I THOUGHT I JUST HAD THE FLU BUT IT WASNT THATS THE SIDE EFFECTS AS SOON I SNORTED A PILL I FELT BETTER THE SICKNESS WAS GONE FROM THAT POINT ON I KNEW THAT IT WAS THE PILL SO I KNEWI COULDNT GO WITHOUT A PILL FROM THAT DAY ON STILL I DIDNT KNOW I HAD A ADDICTION SO AS MY HABIT PROGRESS I STARTED TO DO THINGS TO GET MY FIX THAT I WOULD NEVER DO I STARTED STEALING FROM MY WIFE MANUPALATE TO GET MONEY TO GET MY FIX I BURNED SO MANY BRIDGES I DONE ALOT OF THINGS TO GET MY FIX I WENT TO REHAB TWICE NOT FOR MYSELF BUT TO SHUTUP MY WIFE I THOUGHT I DIDNT HV A PROBLEM UNTIL I BOUT LOST MY FAMILY I HV A 1YR OLD BABY GIRL THAT I LOVE TO DEATH AND WHEN MY WIFE TOLD ME THAT SHE WOULD LEAVE ME AND NOT TELL ME WHERE HER AND MY DAUGTHER MOVED TO I KNEW THEN THAT I HAD TO REALLY GET HELP NOT FOR THEM BUT FOR ME SO THE 3RD TIME I WENT TO TREATMENT ON 10/13/14 TO SEEK HELP AND REALLY WANTED FOR ME I LEARNED ALOT IN MY 32 DAYS IN MY RECOVERY I LEARNED THINGS THAT I DIDNT THINK IT WAS CONCERNING ME BUT EVERYTHING I LEARNED IT WAS FOR ME NOW IM BACK AT HOME WITH MY BEATIFUL WIFE AND DAUGHTER AND IM SO HAPPY THAT WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO LOOSE IS STILL HERE AND LOVES ME FOR ALL THE BAD THINGS I DID TO THEM NOW IM NOT GOIN TO LYE AND SAY IT IS EASY AND THAT IM CURED I STILL HAVE DREAMS THOUGHTS AND TRIGGERS THAT BOTHERS ME BUT I PRAY TO MY HIGERPOWER TO SEE ME THREW SO ALL THE PEOPLE THAT HAS A ADDICTION PLEASE GET HELP DONT DO IT FOR SOMEBODY ELSE DO IT FOR YOU BECAUSE IF U DOIN IT FOR SOMEBODY ELSE U JUST TAKING MORE DAYS OFF YOUR LIFE BUT IF U DO IT FOR YOURSELF THAT DAY YOU SAID I NEED HELP AND GET HELP YOU JUST SAVED YOUR LIFE THANKS FOR READING MY STORY OF MY ADDICTION
I am glad your doing so good and have your families love and support, I pray someone will read your story and it will inspire them to seek help for their self. May God continue to guide you with his love.
I’m addicted to the mobile web. I keep upping my data plan and it’s never enough. At work, I run to the bathroom and check my phone every five minutes. It’s less destructive than many forms of addiction , but people are starting to complain about me perpetually looking at my phone.
lamone, i like your testimony and i like to use it as a reference. thanks
wow these stories are so empowering
it made me stronger and thnks everyone for coming out clean
bro love your addiction but don’t let it kill you. you only got one life to leave
Good for everyone that can resist what they want to do. It takes work and effort, and also knowing yourself. Being honest with self is one of the keys,
in life. We need to check ourselves from time to time. Don’t let you get bye you. Look in the mirror and confront self sometimes. it’s beneficial
Wanting to know if tweeting is an addiction I was directed to this list. However, I don’t see it listed though the description of addiction describes what I am experiencing. Now what?
My battle started at the age of 3 when I was sexual molested an beat on up to the age 7 when I ran away from home an lived on the streets till the age of 15 .. depression Was so bad I tried to kill myself more then 10 times through out this time being on the streets I was so tired..family was never there couldn’t depend on them an the state just put you in worse danger then when u was at home ..so at the age of 15 I got into a relationship had gotten married and had 4 kids ..husband ended up on drugs got me into drugs lost my children my mind was not healthy from the get go..but to move on I did 11 years in prison and got my life right got out in 2010 by 2016 I am a senior Chaplain who goes into jails a. prisons an i talk with these women about my story because I hope someday someone will get something out of it ..I have a testimony to tell an what I said was just the icing I still got the layers of the cake to go …Blessings to all
The type of person you become is not because of what happens to you, but how you choose to respond to what happens to you. God bless you and the wonderful work you’re doing to help those who have not yet seen the light of who they can become.