TYPES OF ADDICTION
There are two types of addiction: addiction to substances and addictive behaviors.
Traits of Addiction
Many addictions and addictive behaviors have similar traits, such as:
- Acting in response to negative emotions or negative situations.
- Doing more than you want to, need to, or can handle.
- Being emotionally disconnected.
- Feeling compelled to act.
- Feeling a rush or a high, which is followed by a lack of pleasure and the need to maintain using to keep from feeling negative symptoms.
- Shame and guilt.
- Feeling big, proud, and empowered; or small, self-conscious, and out of control.
- External focus:
- Controlling people, places, situations, and things; not focusing on self.
- Looking outside of self for a fix of mood.
- Inadequate and inconsistent nutrition.
- Increasing energy, focus, and time involved in the practice of the addiction.
- Planning your life around your addiction.
- Lying to important others.
- Rewarding yourself by making using, an okay choice: “Because I need it, it’s okay.”
- Thinking about it a lot.
Addictive behaviors can be simplified as any behavior causing significant or regular harm, loss, or problems to the addict or someone close to the addict. The addict continues to use in spite of the negative impact on others or him/herself. The addict’s behaviors are focused on the reward or high, not the depth or consequences of the experience.
It’s necessary to recognize that the using behavior is the primary issue in addiction and occurs independently of other mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or mental illness. Poor impulse control is considered its own diagnosis but should not be ignored; it can lead to more serious addictive behaviors and other issues.
In order to be diagnosed with an addictive behavior, a person must have at least five of the following symptoms:
Preoccupation: You have frequent thoughts about all aspects of using.
Tolerance: You require larger amounts or more frequent using to experience the same rush.
Withdrawal: You experience emotional/physical pain that is associated with attempts to cease or reduce using behavior.
Escaping: You use addictive behavior to improve your mood or escape issues.
Chasing: You use to compensate for losses.
Lying: You try to hide the extent of your behavior by lying to family, friends, or professionals.
Loss of control: You have unsuccessful attempts to reduce the behavior.
Breaking of boundaries: You break a personal, social, or legal limit in order to fulfill your desire.
Rescuing: You turn to family, friends, or another third party for assistance.