Addiction isn’t limited only to drugs and alcohol. Though state-sponsored school programs taught us about illegal drug use, the signs of drug use, and the drug use definition, we’re not taught much about the other types of addiction.
The answer to the question of why do people use drugs reveals why people experience addiction outside of drugs and alcohol.
There are different types of addiction. Read on to learn more about them.
Chemical Addiction or Substance Use Disorder
Chemical addiction is known as “substance use disorder.” This is the most common way people think about addiction as it involves a dependency on drugs and alcohol.
This disorder, so often comorbid with other mental illnesses, also includes legal drug addiction. Legal, prescription opiates and other pain medications are very addictive and often lead to IV drug use.
Why do people develop substance use disorder? It has to do with your brain. When you use a substance to get high, you feel good. That good chemical feeling from the substance causes a chemical reaction in your brain.
This chemical reaction through your neurotransmitter system wires you to associate a substance with a good feeling, causing you to seek it out again and again.
Say you take a bump of cocaine at a party. You think, what’s the big deal? Yet you love the way it makes you feel, especially after you’ve had a drink or two. Soon enough, your brain wires itself to associate alcohol with cocaine.
Signs of Substance Use Disorder
According to the DSM-5, the signs of drug use and substance use disorder fall under three different classifications. These are mild, moderate, and severe. Certain criteria define these three classifications like hazardous use, tolerance, and withdrawal.
Other criteria include interpersonal problems, high tolerance, failed attempts to control or quit, and physical or mental illness.
What is considered heavy drug use? Meeting six or more of these criteria defines severe substance use disorder.
It’s not just illegal drug and alcohol addiction that disrupts a family.
Behavioral addiction that involves compulsive behavior around a certain activity also causes havoc. Though the DSM-5 only includes gambling and internet gaming, you can develop compulsive behavior around many activities.
Pornography addiction plagues teenagers in a similar way as teen drug use. The brain associates these behaviors with bliss and euphoria the way it does with drugs.
Signs of Behavioral Addiction
Since the invention of the internet and the increased access to high-speed broadband, a proliferation of pornography occurred. Young people have more easy access to explicit materials than ever.
Behavioral addiction includes many other activities like shopping, food, social media, and television. Since the APA only defines gambling and internet gaming addictions, there are no official criteria for these addictions.
Extended amounts of time engaged in these activities, hiding participation, and lack of control are signs of this addiction.
Seek Help for These Types of Addiction
If you suspect you suffer from these types of addiction, you must acknowledge you can’t kick them alone. Substance use disorders and behavioral addictions are tough to handle alone.
Addiction is a destructive force that can ruin your relationships and your finances.
If you need help or suspect a friend or family member suffers from these types of addiction, please reach out to us to learn more about how we can help.