Category Archives: Traits of Addiction


Abstinent and Maintenance Addictions

It’s essential you have a clear and strong response to your addiction. Depending on the type of addiction and your relationship with it, this requires either abstaining or maintaining, or abstaining after attempting to maintain.

Abstinent Addictions

Abstinence requires total avoidance from the addiction. Consider the following:

Drugs or Non-Prescription Medication

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Caffeine
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Marijuana
  • Nicotine: Smoking or chewing
  • Opiates
  • Over the Counter Medications
  • Performance Enhancing Medications: Steroids, human growth hormones, etc.
  • Synthetic or designer drugs
  • Tranquilizers



Ingestion of non-food materials

Self Harm

  • Burning, Cutting, and Pounding
  • Suicide attempts


Pornography, Internet

Maintenance Addictions:

With some addictions aspects of the addiction are unavoidable or have some redeeming value. Your recovery approach needs a structured plan with specific limits. Some addictions may necessitate a brief period of abstinence, such as sexual abstinence when you are in recovery from a sex addiction.


  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Tanning: Tanorexia



  • Cluttering and Hoarding
  • Status: Art, cars, women, an entourage


  • Sports: Watching or participating
  • War: Against self or others


From high risk behavior

  • Criminal activity
  • Drama
  • Extreme activities: bungy jumping, hang gliding

Extreme Exercise and Body Building


Ego-acknowledgment, achievement, money, attention


  • Overeating
  • Binging/purging
  • Dieting
  • Eliminating:  suppository
  • Obesity
  • Sugar or carbohydrate abuse
  • Under-eating: Anorexia

Gambling and Gaming

  • Personal or Interactive
  • Video: Units and online


  • Saving
  • Spending: For pleasure
  • Spending: For effect, status, control, ego

Power and Control

  • Accumulation: Making, keeping
  • Institutional: Organizational, religious

Prescription Medication

Relationship, Love, Romance


  • Personal, Interpersonal
  • Video, Television, Movies, Porn

Work, Personal Projects

Note: Categories are not clear-cut. Depending on the details, addictions could be in a different or more than one category.

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Addictions: Causes & Types – Part two

Addiction Defined


There are two types of addiction: addiction to substances and addictive behaviors.

Traits of Addiction

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

Addictive Behavior

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.

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