Types of Addiction and Tips to Overcome - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Types of Addiction and Tips to Overcome

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 30 Oct 2015 - 12:50


Addiction is the most abused word and rightly so, very destructive in nature. It's easier adopted than withdrawn. According to Medilexicon's Medical Dictionary, "Addiction is habitual psychological or physiological dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control." 

Addiction types:

Addiction can be of various types ranging from substance addiction like, alcohol, smoking, drugs to activities like work (workaholic), watching TV, playing video games, shopping etc. It’s an obsession for a thing or activity, without which it is almost impossible to live with. It can take a toll on the person when it’s not checked or efforts made to control in its early stages.

Dr Kathleen Brady, an addiction expert says addiction does not happen overnight, but over a long period of time, through a series of steps, leading to loss of control on the urge to experience it.

What causes addiction?

The origins of addiction:  Evidence from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study," Felitti, a co-author of the landmark study, suggested that signs of addiction such as obesity, frequent smoking or drinking, or abusive use of illicit or prescription medications is "actually an individual's flawed solution to the real problem. It is the impact of a lingering or forgotten series of adverse incidents that happened in childhood, sometimes decades before.

The ACE study showed that as the number of these events increased in an individual's life, so too did significant health impacts (risk behaviors, behavioral health disorders, addictions, suicide attempts, even cancer and other diseases) with life-shortening consequences. ACEs reported/incidence in lives of ACE study group:

  • Major psychological abuse--11%
  • Physical abuse--28%
  • Sexual contact--sexual contact/abuse--22%  (28% women, 16% men)
  • Emotional neglect 15%
  • Physical neglect 10%
  • Alchoholism 27%
  • Loss of parent before 18 (death, divorce, abandonment)--23%
  • Depression or MI in another family member--17%
  • Domestic violence directed toward mother--13%
  • Member of family incarcerated--5%

Some addictions include:

Drug addiction: In India an NGO survey revealed that 63.6 % of patients coming in for treatment were introduced to drugs, below 15 years. Heroin, Opium, Alcohol, Cannabis and Propoxyphene are the five most common drugs being abused by children in India. Drug addiction is not a lack of self-control but in reality it is a mental illness, which can be treated with medicines, just like in case of any other illness. Sensitization programs about drug abuse in schools or for children out of school and a substance abuse policy can help control it to an extent.

Shopping addiction: Shopping is another behavioral addiction that, when it whirls out of control, it is regarded to be an impulsive disorder. Addiction to shopping is mostly seen in women, resulting in major problems personally as well as financially. Shopping is perceived as a solution to relieving stress and end up spending, irrespective of any need, ultimately leading to financial problems.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the way to overcome shopping addiction.

Addiction to Food: this lead to eating immodestly, devoid of a proper diet pattern. This kind of addiction could be due to either with unsuccessful relationships or past trauma. Binge eating disorder is not necessarily seen among the overweight or obese but among the normal weight persons too. Mark Gold, chief of addiction medicine at the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida says that overeating in spite of knowing its ill consequences, is considered as food addiction.

Addiction to Alcohol: Alcoholism is a progressive and chronic disease of addiction to alcohol. It includes problems like being preoccupied with alcohol, problem in controlling drinking, consuming alcohol even if it is causing problems, physical dependence.  Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear when drinking is stopped rapidly. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking where the person drinks five or more drinks in a row which leads to problems including health risks and social problems mostly seen in young adults and teenagers.  

Addiction to Video Games: Gaming addiction is a serious behavioral addiction that causes people to obsessively play video games for hours, ultimately leading to health, financial problems and other negative outcomes. Researchers say that one in ten video players, aged between 8-18 years is "out-of-control gamers.” However, a new study published in the US National Library of Medicine showed the power of a drug called Bupropion for treating gaming addiction.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), without a proper treatment or involving in retrieval activities, addiction only increases and can result in impairment or early death. Some tips include:

  • List down the harmful effects of your addiction: Brainstorm a list that includes all negative effects, you have experienced since your addiction started. This will help you stop your addiction as soon as possible.
  • Seek professional help: You need to take a professional help to overcome this addiction. Fix an appointment with a therapist accomplished in helping people through addictions. CBT motivational interviewing and life skills developing program are amongst the techniques that have been proven successful for those looking to beat addictions.
  • Stay clear from triggers: Stay far away from people, places and things that make you want to go back to your old habits. You might need to build all together a new routine for a short time, until the edge wears off a bit.
  • Reward yourself: When you notice that you are trying to overcome an addiction, even though in baby steps, encourage yourself to keep going. Give credit to yourself.
  • Replacement Therapy: Dr Phil Mc Graw, a well-known mental health professional explains that if you realize that taking a drug or any other addiction keeps you calm and takes away your anxiety, or lifts your spirit, then use some alternative techniques like breathing exercises to replace your addiction. 


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.