Mental Health

Types of Addictions


5 minutes - Article

A list of the most common addictions

By Elder Connie Forbister

1. Alcohol - You may understand what alcoholism is, but how does it start? Alcoholism is a result of a combination of inherited, emotional, environmental and social factors. The more risk issues a person shows, the more likely they are to become an alcoholic. And sometimes those risk issues are entirely out of the person’s control.

2. Drugs - The reasons why people use drugs vary greatly for every individual. More often than not, a person is trying to fix an issue within their life and they see drugs as the solution. In contrast, many individuals use drugs as a way to self-medicate. Others use drugs to alleviate symptoms of trauma.

3. Tobacco- Most individuals start smoking as teenagers or young adults. Addiction to the nicotine in tobacco can happen very quickly, even after only smoking for a short time. Nicotine is highly addictive. When you smoke a cigarette it only takes six to ten seconds for the nicotine to reach your brain. This makes smoking tobacco very addictive and difficult to stop.

4. Food - When acting on cravings, the brain gets a reward which is a feeling of pleasure with the release of dopamine. The reward is what cravings and food addiction are all about. People with food addiction get their “fix” by eating a particular food until their brain has received all of the dopamine it was missing.

5. Eating Disorders - Eating disorders are rarely about food or wanting to be thin. In its place, sufferers use food and unhealthy behaviors like dieting, starving, bingeing and purging to cope with disturbing emotions and stressful situations. These behaviors relieve anxiety and stress. Long term, they actually increase anxiety and stress and create other serious complications.

6. Gambling - Gambling starts as mere entertainment, and a source of enjoyment, but for some, emotions will take control over wisdom. When you start believing that you are able to develop strategies to “beat the system”, you are likely to lose control and spend large amounts of money. The feeling of excitement you get after winning or losing, pushes you to gamble more. Gambling is an addiction that develops more or less quickly.

7. Shopping - Some people develop shopping addictions because they essentially get addicted to how their brain feels while shopping. As they shop, their brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time, these feelings become addictive. Like other addictions, shopping is usually a way of coping with the emotional pain and difficulty of life, and it tends to make things worse rather than better for the shopper.

8. Sex - Untreated compulsive sexual behavior can result in intense feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. Different mood states, including sadness, loneliness, and happiness, might also lead to an inability to control sexual behavior in people with the condition. Some people may develop severe anxiety and depression. Other complications may include: family and relationship problems, including breakups, financial problems, sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

9. Love and Relationship - An addiction to a person involves obsessive thoughts about the relationship, feelings of hope, expectation, confusion, and desperation. Addictive relationships are toxic, powerful and are fantasies. You are in love with what you wish the person was, not what they are. Because the relationship is so unfulfilling, you are left with a constant state of emptiness, which is temporarily reduced with each encounter with your object of obsession (the person).

10. Internet - As the internet becomes increasingly entwined in our lives, some experts have raised concerns around the concept of people having an internet addiction. Many psychologists argue that excessive internet use should be treated the same as other types of addiction. There’s no single cause of internet addition. Several factors can play a role in the development of addiction. These factors vary from person to person. Risk factors for this addiction may be loneliness, stress, depression and anxiety, which may trigger the addiction to the internet and should be treated.

11. Vaping - The original intent of e-cigarettes which was to help smokers reduce and ultimately quit smoking. Vaping involves the same actions as smoking. The e-cigarette cartridges, which are battery powered, are filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, chemicals and pleasing flavours. Once heated, the liquid turns into a vapour. These have been linked to both respiratory and heart issues. Nicotine contained in vapour products can be potentially addictive.

Help is all around us

12 step programs include, Alcohol Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Alanon, Alateen, Gamblers Anonymous, Over Eaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, and more.

Professional help is available from Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Medical Doctors, Social Workers, Counsellors and Therapists.

Last but not least is our own Elders and Spiritual Elders. All you have to do is ask to see someone and they are there for you.

Respecting our culture is necessary for healing!

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