Addiction is defined as a compulsive need for, and use, of a habit-forming substance or behavior. When someone suffers from addiction, they are compelled to repeat the same destructive behavior even though it is causing harm to their body or well-being.
Understanding what addiction is and how it can affect an individual is often the best first step to take for rehabilitation. Whether the addict suffers from drug addiction, alcohol addiction or another type of addictive behavior, such as sex or gambling, often the course of action is quite similar. In the simplest of terms, addiction is a chronic disease that can affect a person physically, psychologically and emotionally.
An individual who is addicted is often unable to control their craving for the object of their addiction and frequently relapsing after promising themselves or others that they would abstain. Eventually the cost outweighs the benefits to the addict and the individual either goes through an effective addiction treatment program or succumbs to the more severe effects of the addiction, which can include sickness, injury, great financial and personal losses or even death. This is true of all addictions.
Most Common Addictions
In addition to drug addiction and alcohol addiction, there are many other types of addiction in today’s culture. There are different types of compulsions that individuals face and try to work through on a regular basis, some of which are less well-known or understood by the general public. This can create more of an obstacle for addicts causing them to believe that no one understands their disease.
Drug Addiction – Substance abuse, whether it is to street drugs such as cocaine or a prescription drug like Oxycontin, can cause trouble at work or at home. Drug addiction is not about how much is consumed, it is about the effect it has on relationships and life in general. Drugs have an impact on an individual’s brain chemistry, and causing them to act in ways that would never normally be acceptable to them. Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of any drug addiction are similar. Addicts often isolate themselves and abandon activities they use to enjoy to make room for the drug. Trouble with the law is always a risk due to the fact that many drugs are not legal to obtain or the addict may turn to various crimes to fund their addiction.
Alcohol Addiction – Alcohol addiction is a form of substance abuse that may make it difficult to identify when an individual has crossed from being a casual drinker to someone who needs help. Drinking to cope with the pressures of daily life is not a safe place to tread. Addicts may feel the need to lie and hide the fact that they drink. They may also feel angry for no reason and let their emotions control their thoughts. After a certain amount of drinking an individual may not remember periods of time that occurred while being intoxicated, this is often referred to as blacking out. Alcohol addiction builds up subtly, therefore being aware of the warning signs is crucial.
Internet Addiction –An obsession with the Internet can become a struggle for individuals with regard to personal relationships and finances. Internet addiction is a psychological disorder in which the addict spends countless hours online to the extent that it interferes with their everyday life and responsibilities.
Sex Addiction – An individual suffering from sex addiction has trouble controlling their urges or thoughts that involve sexual acts. For some, their behavior does not go to extreme measures, but even over abundant masturbation and pornography or the use of sexual service providers can cause problems for the family of the addict. In extreme cases, more severe acts such as child molestation or rape may be involved. Sex is natural human nature, but if compulsions become insatiable, there may be a deeper conflict. These strong sexual compulsions often result with the addict isolating themselves from friends and family members. Sex addicts also run a high risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Gambling Addiction – Excessive gambling can lead to an addictive disorder called ludomania. A gambling addiction is not defined by spending large amounts of time at a casino, but by the lack of concern for harm it can cause. In recent years, the American Psychiatric Association stopped labeling gambling as an impulse control disorder and began classifying it as addictive. Gambling addiction can have devastating effects on an individual’s financial stability, as well as with personal relationships
Shopping Addiction – Oniomania is the official term for a compulsive shopping habit. Shopping without need to the point of spending all of one’s money is an impulse control disorder. If an individual is spending above their means, buying things that are not needed or hiding purchases that they made from friends and family members, their shopping habits may have become a problem. A typical habit that can be found with shopping addicts is lying. They will purchase items they don’t need as a means of filling a void in their life and then suffer from extreme guilt afterwards.
If you think that you or someone you love might suffer from one of the above addictions or disorders, it is important to get help right away. Being an addict is not something to be ashamed about, as there are many people who suffer from similar compulsions and diseases. The important thing is to identify whether or not you or a loved one are suffering from a case of impulse control or a more serious disorder such as addiction.
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