The many types of addiction can include the abuse of substances, such as alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and certain behaviors, including gambling, shopping, or sex. Addiction is associated with psycho-emotional and behavioral effects that occur in response to brain changes hallmarked by intense cravings and the inability to control one’s actions despite adverse life consequences.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory…and is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and relief by substance use and other behaviors. The addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships.
Qualities that All Forms of Addiction Have in Common
When most individuals hear the word “addiction,” they think of those types of addictions related to alcohol, narcotics, or other substances. However, addiction exists on a much broader spectrum than many realize. Many behavioral or process addictions aren’t commonly recognized, including plastic surgery, pain-seeking, and shopping. Sometimes, even activities intended to be healthy, such as exercise, can adversely impact an individual’s life.
Addictions can take over an individual’s life and rip families apart, cause emotional trauma, financial issues, and physical and mental complications. Financial and legal problems can also be the result of the loss of employment or destructive behavior. Addiction is often associated with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, ultimately contributing to severe depression and suicidal ideations and behaviors.
Addiction has both physical and psycho-emotional elements. Addicts tend to use their addiction as a means of coping, reducing stress, or detaching themselves from reality. All addictions are characterized by compulsions that can include physical dependence or maladaptive behavioral patterns.
As it stands, addiction of any kind provides a person with feelings of pleasure and reward while they are high. These may be feelings above and beyond what they would typically feel or just pleasant enough to ward off withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, addictions that are left unaddressed tend to be progressive and become more severe.
Types of Addictions Related to Substances
Over time, repeated use of substances causes tolerance in users, which is hallmarked by consuming the substance more frequently and in higher doses to induce the desired effects. Likewise, repeated use can also result in physiological dependence—a condition in which a person’s body and brain have become accustomed to the substance’s presence and become unable to function correctly without it.
Also, dependence causes the person to experience unwanted withdrawal symptoms if they stop using, such as anxiety, depression, nausea, and tremors.
The following is a list of some substance use disorders identified in the DSM-V:
- Anti-anxiety agents
- PCP (angel dust)
Most Common Substance Addictions
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant derived from the coca plant native to South America that boosts levels of dopamine, which is a brain neurochemical associated with a high risk for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Cocaine and it’s less pure form, crack cocaine, are commonly used drugs in party and social scenes due to their desirable effects on mood and their ability to motivate and provide a rapid energy boost. Cocaine can be ingested via snorting, smoking, rubbing it onto the gums, or, less commonly, injecting it intravenously.
Relatively speaking, cocaine has a very brief duration of action of usually no more than 30 minutes. To avoid a comedown, individuals often use cocaine in a binge-like pattern, which increases the risk that they will develop an addiction and other major mental and physical health complications.
Opioids (Heroin and Prescription Painkillers)
Heroin use can swiftly produce addictive behaviors that can cause a person to lose just about everything they cherish except for drug use itself. Unfortunately, although heroin is the subject of many adverse reports regarding the significant risks involved, a tremendous number of individuals continue to abuse it.
Opioids, such as methadone, were once readily used to help heroin addicts abstain from use. Potent painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone were also excessively administered to persons with chronic who eventually became hopelessly dependent. Decades into the opioid crisis, however, it has become increasingly challenging for individuals to obtain prescription opioids beyond 5-7 days.
For those who become addicted, heroin continues to serve as an illicit alternative in many of the nation’s regions, both more accessible and less expensive than prescription opioids. Regardless of how heroin is delivered, its effects are potent and intense, and repeated use can quickly result in a severe and dangerous dependence.
Prescription opioids are meant to induce pain relief, but they have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Individuals can become dependent on opioids even if used as prescribed, though this is less likely to occur than when they are abused. Those who misuse opioids also tend to use other substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and illicit drugs.
Methamphetamine is a potent stimulant that, although occasionally found in prescription form (e.g., Desoxyn), is most often mass-produced by drug cartels labs or made in clandestine home labs. The latter was more prevalent before the purchase of certain cough and cold medicines that included pseudoephedrine, meth’s main ingredient, became tightly regulated for purchase.
As this was occurring, drug cartels took notice and began taking advantage of the reduced meth supply and the amount of demand. As a result, much of this drug found in the United States is now manufactured in and imported from Mexico.
Types of Behavioral Addictions
Note: Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers treat all manners of addiction to substances as well as co-existing mental health conditions. Nonetheless, we do not specialize in the treatment of behavioral addictions, although these may be addressed in addition to substance abuse with dual diagnosis treatment.
Again, addiction is often understood in regard to substance-related issues, but there are other forms of addiction primarily based in behaviors. Like substance abuse, behavioral addictions are characterized by a loss of control and the compulsive pursuit of an experience regardless of the incurrence of adverse consequences.
Addictive behaviors can be related to sex, love, the internet, or even adrenaline-inducing sports such as bungee jumping or parachuting. Behavioral addiction is primarily based on an activity or behavior, and most of the activities associated with substance addiction are similar to those that occur in association with behavioral addictions.
Essentially, all addictions develop in individuals who feel that they are suffering to cope with or escape this reality. Adverse effects can include mood changes and less time spent engaging in hobbies and social activities, as well as broken relationships, strained family life, and financial ruin. Like substance addiction, attempting to quit engaging in a behavioral addiction without treatment can lead to withdrawal-like psycho-emotional symptoms or relapse.
Here are some examples of addictive behaviors:
- Video gaming
- Plastic surgery
- Spiritual obsession
Getting Treatment for Substance Abuse
An addiction to drugs or alcohol tends to be a devastating health disorder that adversely impacts the life of the individual suffering as well as those close to them. Fortunately, however, most cases of addiction can be treated using a long-term, personalized approach to sobriety and wellness.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer a comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment that consists of research-based services beneficial for the recovery process. These services include psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, substance abuse education, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and more.