By Jennifer McDougall
Addiction is a complex topic and one that can be difficult to understand. It is essential to recognize the different types of addiction and know how to identify their symptoms. By understanding the various forms of addiction, individuals struggling with addiction can more easily seek out help and treatment.
One of the most common types of addiction is substance abuse. This type of condition refers to an individual’s physical dependence on a particular drug or alcohol, which leads them to use it compulsively despite any negative consequences it may have on their life or relationships. Some common signs of someone struggling with substance abuse include frequent intoxication, withdrawal from social activities or family gatherings, weight loss or gain, and changes in sleeping patterns.
In addition to substance abuse, there are also behavioral addictions. Behavioral addictions refer to any behaviors an individual feels compelled to engage in regardless of any consequence they may experience. Gambling is a behavioral addiction; however, other addictions, such as sex, shopping, video gaming, social media, technology, and food, can also fall into this category. Common signs of someone struggling with a behavioral addiction include excessive preoccupation with the behavior in question, changes in mood due to engaging in the behavior (e.g., irritability when unable to partake), and neglecting responsibilities due to participating in said behavior.
Finally, process addictions refer to addictive behaviors that don’t involve substances or activities but instead revolve around obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals. One example of a process addiction is OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Some common symptoms associated with OCD are compulsive checking (e.g., repeatedly checking if doors are locked), repetitive cleaning rituals (e.g., washing hands for long periods of time), compulsive counting (e.g., counting steps while walking), and intrusive thoughts that cause distress or fear.
All forms of addiction—whether substance use disorders, behavioral addictions, or process addictions—are serious issues that require professional assistance and support for individuals suffering from them to find freedom from dependency on these substances or activities. If you think you might be suffering from an addiction problem or know someone dealing with an addiction issue, it’s essential to recognize the signs and seek help to get back on track toward better health and wellness outcomes down the line.