The Different Types of Addiction: A Basic Guide
Are you worried about addiction?
23.5 million Americans have an alcohol or drug addiction. Even more suffer through non-physical addictions too. For many, they can feel like there is no way out.
But if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you're not alone. It can be useful to know what you're up against, and how to get the help you need.
Read on to learn about the most common types of addiction and what action you can take.
What is an Addiction?
Addiction disrupts how your brain functions, especially the reward system. When you're doing something you enjoy, your brain releases dopamine (a neurotransmitter).
Dopamine doesn't cause feelings of euphoria or pleasure, that's a myth. What it does is reinforce how your brain associates certain things with pleasure.
It then pushes you to seek those things out again in the future when you want those feelings. The desire to experience that pleasure can set off cravings for what caused it. Cravings are often the first sign of an addiction.
Types of Addiction
Addiction can come in many forms, it can be anything you derive pleasure from. Here is a list of some of the most common types you may come across.
Gambling is one of the most common kinds of addiction, and it can affect more men than women. For women though, it can take root faster. In some cases, it starts from a desperate need for cash. In other cases, it's more from the high of having a win.
Over time, the bets get riskier and riskier, and they aren't able to hold back. Once it gets to this point, where even negative situations don't make them stop, it's an addiction.
Drug addiction or alcohol addiction is what most people think of when they think of this topic. With substance abuse, it's both a physical and psychological issue.
A sign of substance addiction is building tolerance. This refers to not feeling satisfied by the amount and frequency of the substance. They need more and more of that substance to get the same feeling of pleasure. But in the end, no amount will be enough.
One of the trickier addictions to spot is food addiction, after all, it's a necessary part of living. Food sustains us, and also releases chemicals in our brains associated with pleasure.
As we chew, those endorphins give us a mild, natural high. It's this feeling that food addicts chase, at it'll cost them. It can lead to obesity and associated health hazards. Not to mention the impact on their mental health and self-esteem.
Each type of addiction requires different addiction treatment. For example, a detox process is often the start for treating substance addiction to get it out of the system.
After that, going into a drug rehabilitation center is a positive step forward. This gives the person a fresh start, and helps them learn to cope with their addiction, and stay sober.
For behavioral addictions, there isn't usually a detox period. There aren't any chemicals to purge, after all. The body still requires release from the actions that cause pleasure. Due to this, a stay in rehabilitation is vital in separating the body from the addiction.
Types of Addiction: Knowledge is Power
There are many different types of addiction, and knowing what to look for and when something has become an addiction is important. It's the first part of accepting there is a problem.
Once you have accepted this, you're on the road to getting the support you need. Remember, you're not alone and there is no shame in asking for help. Addictions are treatable, and there are people in place to support you and help you or your loved one get better.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more.