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Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a very broad topic, and sometimes when you’re concerned about a loved one, it can be hard to pinpoint whether or not they’re suffering from an addiction.

While there are some types of addiction that are common, such as nicotine addiction, drug addiction or alcoholism, there are many other types that may go unnoticed. Our simple guide can help you better understand addiction, its characteristics and its forms.

What is an addiction?

Sometimes people mistake a habit for an addiction, and this is the first differentiator you need to know about addiction. Habits and addictions are two completely different things.

A habit is something that is done by choice and can be stopped whenever a person chooses to stop it.
An addiction, on the other hand, is something that a person does that they are psychologically incapable of stopping without professional help.

What are some of the characteristics of an addiction?

  • The person is dependent on their addiction
  • Addiction interferes with the person’s daily lifestyle
  • The person might not necessarily be aware that they are suffering from an addiction and view their behavior as normal
  • If the person tries to quit the substance/activity they are addicted to, they suffer from withdrawal symptoms
  • The person does not necessarily enjoy the substance/activity they are addicted to

What are the types of addiction?

There are two main types of addiction. The first one -which is more commonly known- is the addiction to a physical substance, such as nicotine, alcohol or drugs such as cocaine.

The second type is an addiction to an activity, such as sexual relations and gambling.

Addiction comes in many forms –even ones that might seem harmless.
For example, a person might be addicted to chocolate. These types of addiction are harder to spot because we tend to perceive addiction as something related to a dangerous activity.

What are some of the substances a person could get addicted to?

  • Nicotine (cigarettes, cigars, hookah)
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs (such as cocaine or heroine)
  • Cannabis (such as marijuana)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Chocolate
  • Junk food
  • Smelling things like glue or lighter fluid

What are some of the activities a person could get addicted to?

  • Sex
  • Gambling
  • Work
  • Using the internet
  • Playing video games
  • Shopping

What if I suspect a loved one is suffering from an addiction?

Addiction is a serious condition, and it could have very negative effects if not properly treated. It’s best that you talk to your loved on and put them in contact with a professional so that you can combat their addiction and help them get better.


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