Different Types of Addiction

When people think of the word “addiction,” what mainly comes to many minds is substance addiction. We have a tendency for our minds to go straight to opioid, alcohol, or other illicit drug addiction. Yet we forget addiction takes many other forms, not just an addiction to a drug. In order for us to understand the different types of addictions, we must first obtain a clear understanding of what exactly addiction is.

What Is Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a “treateable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences; People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.” Addiction is a complex disease and for every person who struggles with it, it might look different. However, there is one key similarity and that is it interferes with one’s brain function. The reward system of the brain is disrupted so when one partakes in whatever they’re addicted to it releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine has the ability to reinforce an association between the addiction and feeling pleasure or reward, causing one to seek it out constantly.

Behavioral Addiction

Behavioral addiction involves performing a certain behavior or action over and over again to seek out that feeling of pleasure/reward. Normally, these behaviors are compulsive which is why they’re classified as an addiction. 

Types of commonly seen behavioral addictions are eating disorders, gambling, using cell phones, and even exercise. Addiction to these things can cause a similar “high,” as an addiction to a substance would. Some key similarities between a behavioral addiction and a chemical addiction are they both can cause repeated behavior to be carried out, loss of control, and even take on forms of withdrawal symptoms.

Chemical Addiction

Chemical addiction is different because it means a substance is now a part of the equation. After many years and years of research, the DSM-5 has created criteria regarding what constitutes a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). The four main categories include impaired control, social problems, risky use, and physical dependence. Depending on what you score overall on those criteria determines your level of severity of SUDs. Ranging from an at-risk SUD all the way to a severe SUD which is then considered to be an addiction.

Pursue Help at American Treatment Network in Newark, DE

Addiction requires help as it’s a complex, multi-dimensional, and chronic disease. Seeking out help is brave and the only way to finally put an end to your addiction. Our substance abuse clinics in Havertown, PA and Newark, Delaware have a team of experts who are ready to be at your side as you face this challenge. Whether you’re struggling with alcohol abuse, opioid abuse, and even mental health disorders our treatment plan works so you can become addiction-free and reclaim your life.


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