Types of Addiction
If you believe everything that the popular media tells you, you could be forgiven for thinking that there are only two types of addiction: alcohol addiction and drug addiction. And on the face of news footage and reports, you would probably accept that these two types of addiction only affect high-profile models, football players and film stars. The truth behind the celebrity façade is very different. Whilst alcohol and drug addictions are both very common and can affect anyone regardless of their social standing, there are a whole host of other types of addiction which afflict people like you and I on a daily basis, but which never quite make centre stage.
The point is that no addiction is worthy of ignorance. All types of addiction are undesirable and potentially harmful. But all types of addiction can be beaten, too.
In order to assess whether or not you are suffering from one of the many different types of addiction given below, it is worth bearing in mind the following simple description of what an addiction is.
An addiction is a pattern of behavior which, through repetition over time, you no longer have control over and which you continue to repeat despite being aware of the undesirable or harmful consequences.
Common types of addiction
We live in an age of immediacy; everything can be done or obtained fast. Thanks to the internet and email we can access information, buy goods, play games, conduct business and socialize with anyone, anywhere in the world in an instant.
We now have twenty-four hour clubs and bars, pharmacies, casinos, clinics, supermarkets, garages and more – enabling us to walk out of our homes and make purchases around the clock. This ease of availability has opened the doors to new and surprisingly common types of addiction.
- Alcohol addiction
Alcohol is often used as a relaxant; it helps us to unwind or temporarily forget about our problems or issues. Alcohol cannot provide a permanent escape though. If you have reached a point at which you rely upon alcohol to get through your day, you risk physical as well as psychological addiction. You need to seek professional help before any harm you are inflicting upon yourself or those close to you becomes irreversible.
- Drug addiction
We generally used to think of drug addiction in terms of illegal street narcotics such as heroin, marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine. Now, freely available prescription drugs which produce similar effects to illegal narcotics have contributed to a worldwide increase in drug addiction, across people of all ages and social statuses. The types of prescription drug to which people typically may become addicted include painkillers, tranquilizers, diet pills and antidepressants.
- Nicotine addiction
Nicotine is an addictive drug and is the constituent of cigarettes which stimulates the brain’s release of pleasure enhancing and relaxing dopamines when we smoke. This ‘high’ produced by nicotine each time we smoke is what makes smoking so addictive and therefore a difficult habit to break.
- Solvent addiction
Commonly referred to as ‘glue sniffing’ and typically popular amongst teenagers, solvent addiction can actually arise from the use of a wide range of products freely available in any supermarket or hardware store. Inhaling the chemical vapor released by solvents induces a euphoric high, the effects of which may last for up to an hour. However, the abuse of solvents in this way is extremely dangerous and has resulted in a high fatality rate.
- Food addiction
Also referred to as ‘compulsive overeating’, food addiction is an illness like any other addiction and can be seriously detrimental to health, possibly leading to morbid obesity or bulimia. Certain foods such as chocolate and caffeine are known to have addictive qualities, but the psychological feeling of wellbeing produced by eating – so called ‘comfort-eating’ – can lead to an habitual pattern of addiction.
- Gambling addiction
Compulsive gambling is a psychological disorder which results in a person continuing to gamble, beyond their control, whether they are winning or losing and irrespective of their emotional state of mind. The rise of online gambling, whereby roulette, poker and slot machines can be played in your own home has seen a significant increase in the number of gambling addicts. Whilst there are no physical signs or symptoms, gambling addiction is nonetheless an illness, and left untreated may result in financial hardship, relationship issues and recourse to criminal activity.
- Sex addiction
The compulsive desire to engage in sexual activity in order to satisfy cravings for sexual satisfaction is probably one of the most difficult addictions to admit to, and yet it affects an estimated six per cent of the population. Sex addiction is an illness and requires professional treatment. The consequences of sex addiction may be particularly harmful both to personal health and to relationships.
- Computer addiction
A phenomenon of the internet age, computer addiction is a general term for a number of computer or online related activities which have elicited addictive behavior. Such activities include the use of internet chat rooms, social networking sites, pornography sites, online gaming, online auction sites and online shopping.
Getting help with different types of addiction
If you recognize the signs or symptoms of any of these common types of addiction in either yourself or in someone you care about it is vital that you seek professional help. An addiction of any type is undesirable and in the long-term may become harmful to you or to others around you. It is important to remember that addiction is an illness, and as with most illnesses, if remedial treatment is sought the addiction can be recovered from.
No matter what type of addiction you may be suffering from there is a world of supportive, non-judgmental professional help and care waiting to get you clean and restore you to an addiction-free life.
If you can admit that you have an addiction and you want to do something about it, you are already on the way to recovering from your addiction. Now you need the professional help that will see you through to a clean and happy future.