There are several diagnosed types of addictions. Much as people joke about addictions, claiming addiction to chocolate or addiction to a television show, diagnosed addictions are defined as reliance on a substance or habit that is continued regardless of how negatively it is affecting social, business or relational aspects of your life. An actual addiction goes beyond usage of a substance and crosses over into the territory of being extremely difficult to quit due to psychological, emotional, habitual and physical withdrawal symptoms.
The following are common addictions:
Alcohol addiction is perhaps one of the most common and yet most debilitating addictions. Because alcohol is legal and widely available, it's easy for alcoholics to deny a problem, claiming to use alcohol as a social vehicle or as a relaxant at night after a hard day's work. Since medical studies have shown benefits to drinking moderate quantities of alcohol, especially red wine, it's easy for addicts to fool themselves into thinking their alcohol consumption is lower than it is. Alcoholism is considered problematic if you need drinks in the morning to stave off hangovers, you drive drunk, you rely on alcohol to steady your emotions to the point where you can no longer go without a drink or limit how much you drink in a sitting or your drinking has adversely affected your job performance or relationships.
Nicotine addictions are tough to beat; only seven percent of people who try to quit on their own-without assistance-can stop smoking for more than a year. Because smoking is legal and many smokers begin at a young age, it's easy to become addicted but hard to quit. Nicotine is an especially tough habit to kick because it sends a lightning quick response to your brain with every puff, releasing dopamine, a hormone that makes you feel good. Every puff delivers a shot of "feel-good," leaving you craving more. The problem with this? Smoking is the third leading cause of death in Americans, causing heart and lung problems.
Drug addictions vary from illegal substances like coke and meth to prescription drugs like vicodin. Drug addictions can be so serious that the addict would rather drug himself or herself to death rather than quit. If you suspect you have a drug addiction, you will need professional help to kick the habit before it kicks you.
Caffeine addiction is the least serious of the substance addictions listed here. While it may cause sleeping problems or anxiety issues, it is one of the easiest addictions to break and does not bring with it significant risks.
Sex addition is different from all the addictions above because it does not involve the use of a substance. Instead, sex addicts are addicted to pleasure-whether it comes from masturbation or intercourse-and the relief that pleasure brings from the doldrums of everyday life. Sex addicts have a problem if they choose to engage in sexual activity regardless of the fact that it risks their jobs, relationships or health.
Addiction Recovery: Can't You Just Quit?
Addiction recovery is difficult. For some people, recovery proves to be impossible, and the addiction only ends when that person passes away. For others, interventions, support groups and in some cases pure stubbornness can overcome an addiction. For a true addict, recovery is never easy, and support is usually required for the addict to recover fully and for the rest of a lifetime.
Addiction support groups offer help and strength, but it is important to have an idea of what to expect before you take that first step.
Food addiction recovery entails learning how to eat in moderation. This involves quite a bit of retraining of habits.
Alcohol addiction can be difficult to identify. Because alcohol is legal and most adults drink at least socially, it can be easy to hide an alcohol addiction, even from yourself.