What Are the Different Types of Addiction?
Types of Addiction
When you first downloaded the app, you expected to delete it within an hour. Before you knew it, you looked up, and the sun had set—and, somehow, your wallet was a whole lot lighter. It has been weeks since you’ve seen your friends, you’re struggling to pay rent and can’t focus at work or school.
Are you addicted to an app?
Living with addiction doesn’t always involve drugs or alcohol. Identifying many types of addiction can help you find the help you need to finally end a vicious cycle.
We’ve created this guide to help you understand the complex signs of addiction. If you recognize these patterns in yourself or someone you love, you can help change a life.
Continue reading to learn the real causes of addiction and addictive behavior.
What Is Addiction?
Think about the last thing that made you feel good. Perhaps it was spending time with friends, biting into a warm cookie, running, or snuggling a pet.
Your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters during each interaction. These flood your bloodstream with feel-good chemicals, creating positive associations.
Not all brains are alike, however. Some brains produce an excessive amount of dopamine following a positive experience. This can elevate a happy moment into an experience of profound pleasure.
Your natural inclination will be to recreate that positive experience.
Not every feel-good experience is good for our brains or bodies. Using substances such as drugs or alcohol can also cause these positive feelings.
In some cases, humans become addicted to behaviors associated with rewards. These include gambling, gaming, or exercise.
Over time, our brains produce less dopamine and serotonin with each experience. You might begin to rely on these experiences to feel anything positive at all. When an individual’s preoccupation impacts their well-being, it is an addiction.
Types of Addiction
Mental health professionals separate addictions into two categories. They are substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. We’ve outlined the differences between the two below.
Substance Use Disorders
When most people think about addiction, they are thinking about substance use disorders. This category includes drug or alcohol addiction.
An addicted individual’s pursuit of substances impacts their health, emotions, and social life. They may experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using.
Common substance addictions include:
- Alcohol addiction
- Opioid addiction
- Nicotine addiction (cigarettes, vaping, etc.)
- Amphetamine or methamphetamine addiction
- Cocaine addiction
- Cannabis addiction
Professionals can treat the above substance addictions using group and individual therapy techniques. Some medications may also be helpful tools for recovery.
Behavioral addictions are universally less well-understood than substance use disorders. Still, they work much the same way.
Rather than addiction to a substance, individuals become addicted to a reward. It might be tangible or chemical.
Most behavioral addictions do not have diagnostic criteria. In most cases, they mimic substance addiction.
Behavioral addictions may have health consequences but do not typically cause physical withdrawal. However, managing psychological withdrawal can be just as challenging without professional support.
Common behavioral addictions include:
- Gambling addiction
- Internet gaming addiction
- Exercise addiction
- Food or sugar addiction
- Sex addiction
- Media addiction
- Social media addiction
- Shopping addiction
Many behavioral addictions lead to financial stress. Gambling, gaming, and shopping addiction can cause personal bankruptcy.
When individuals begin borrowing money, it can put stress on relationships. Eventually, this leads to isolation.
Likewise, media, social media, and gaming addictions can lead to reclusive, asocial behavior.
Food, sugar, and exercise addictions can cause long-term health complications. Sometimes these addictions become eating disorders, which have a high mortality rate. These individuals often need medical and psychological intervention.
Sex addictions can put individuals in unsafe or risky situations.
Both substance use disorders and behavioral addictions can be detrimental without treatment. Most individuals try a combination of medical and psychological support during recovery. A therapist can help you replace harmful behaviors and manage temptation.
Substance Abuse Disorder Treatment
Certain addictions involve unique treatments. For example, many drug addicts benefit from suboxone to detox safely.
What is suboxone? It is a partial opioid agonist that weakly activates the brain’s pleasure centers. This can help ease withdrawal symptoms and make it possible to live with addiction.
In some cases, detox is the best option for recovery. Many mental health facilities require patients to be sober upon admission. Some facilities offer detox support on-site to simplify the transition.
Treatment usually involves a combination of group and individual therapy. You may also engage in recreational therapies like art, music, or equine-assisted therapy.
Behavioral Addiction Treatment
Individuals with behavioral addictions can benefit from individual therapy. Your therapist may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. You will work to develop positive coping skills to replace unhealthy behaviors.
Many individuals with behavioral addictions join support groups or self-help groups. This can help with isolation or reclusive behavior.
You may have an underlying mood disorder. If so, your therapist might recommend SSRI medications to help with your addiction.
Treat Your Brain With Kindness
Addiction is never a moral failing or a character trait. It’s a sign that your brain’s reward system needs help to operate correctly.
All types of addiction can become debilitating without treatment. Seeking addiction help is the best way to be kind to your brain as you move forward.
Improving your life is always an active choice. The first step is browsing the other high-quality lifestyle articles on the blog. You might find the motivation to change your life for the better.
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Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.