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Types of Addiction

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Addiction is a complex condition characterized by persistent drug use or problematic behaviors, despite knowledge of the negative consequences. Although substance use may be the activity most commonly associated with addiction, a person is capable of developing an addiction to certain behaviors, such as gambling, as well 1,2. Whether the addiction is chemical or behavioral, compulsive use, diminished control, and significant impairment in the individual’s life point toward the existence of an addiction.

Addiction impacts many parts of a person’s life. Need help with your, or a loved one’s addiction, consider a residential treatment option for best chance of success. Learn more about the United States best treatment program to ensure a life free of these consequences of substance addiction3,4:

  • Brain changes resulting in drug or alcohol tolerance.
  • Impaired learning, decision-making, memory, and judgment.
  • Organ damage, depending on the substance used.
  • Increased risk of communicable diseases.
  • Accidents.
  • Suicide.
  • Family strife and child custody issues.
  • Work problems, including declining performance, absenteeism, and loss of employment.
  • Diminished academic performance.
  • Legal issues.
  • Financial problems.

Behavioral addiction and substance addiction have a high rate of co-occurrence, suggesting the two conditions may share a common cause 5. The two addictions have similar mechanisms of action in the brain. Both substance abuse and engaging in addictive behaviors targets the brain’s reward system and produces feelings of pleasure 5.

Other similarities between substance addiction and behavioral addiction include 1,5:

  • Euphoria resulting from use or behavior.
  • Cravings.
  • Psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • Loss of control.
  • Development of tolerance.
  • Perceiving mind-altering effects.
  • Denial of problems, even with evidence.

Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Substance addiction is a progressive, relapsing condition that is characterized by compulsive alcohol or drug use despite negative consequences 6. Addiction significantly impairs the user’s ability to control or quit substance abuse. Two mechanisms that fuel substance addiction are tolerance and dependence. Someone who has developed tolerance to a substance requires increasing doses to feel the desired effects. Taking ever-increasing doses or taking them more frequently to overcome tolerance can speed up the development of dependence. When someone is dependent on a drug, they need the drug just to feel normal and will often experience some form of withdrawal when use is cut back or stopped. Although dependence and addiction are not the same, addiction is almost always accompanied by dependence as well as tolerance.

While every drug produces different short-term and long-term effects, some drugs lead more easily to addiction. Click below to learn more about each individual substance addiction.

Behavioral Addiction

Woman with behavioral addiction

While most people are familiar with substance addiction, research shows that it is also possible for a person to develop a behavioral addiction. A behavioral addiction – or process addiction, as it is sometimes referred to – is similar to a substance addiction in that a person essentially becomes dependent on the pleasurable feelings that certain behaviors (e.g., gambling) bring about, and begins to compulsively act out that behavior to reach that high time and again. A person may be diagnosed with a behavioral addiction if they show loss of self-control over the behavior, including continuation of the behavior despite negative consequences in work or social relationships 5.

Researchers have identified some common behaviors that can lead to addiction. Click below to learn more about each individual behavioral addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

It is important to familiarize yourself with the indicators of addiction so that you can recognize problematic substance use and/or behaviors in yourself or a loved one.

Signs of addiction include 5,7:

  • A great deal of time is spent using substances or engaging in the problematic behavior.
  • The inability to cut back or quit using or engaging in the behavior.
  • A strong desire to use or engage in the behavior.
  • An inability to fulfill obligations at school, work, or home.
  • Relationship or social problems resulting from use or behavior.
  • Previously enjoyed hobbies are abandoned in favor of use or behavior.
  • Tolerance to the substance or behavior.
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use or behavior.

Finding Help for an Addiction

Addiction varies by person, and American Addiction Centers goes above and beyond to provide personalized treatment for each and every person while offering the best Addiction Treatment in the country.

Health insurance plans will cover treatment for addiction and mental health disorders. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans now have access to these forms of treatment. Plans can vary in terms of what type of coverage they provide or how long they will cover treatment, so it’s best to check with your provider or the rehab program you’re interested in attending.

Nations Best Addiction Treatment Program

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is the nations best addiction treatment program. AAC specializes in alcohol, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment programs. AAC offers many specialty programs in Addiction Treatment for veterans, LGBTQ communities and more. AAC also stands behind the treatment program.

If you successfully complete our 90-day program, AAC guarantees you’ll stay clean and sober, or you can return for a complimentary 30-days of treatment. AAC’s clinical program was developed using best practices in addiction treatment, proven to be effective for long-term recovery.

Every American Addiction Centers facility provides its own combination of proven therapies and services to meet your needs.

Group therapy is a big part of successful addiction treatment. Sharing your own experience and learning from others can make a big difference in your recovery journey. All American Addiction Centers facilities provide some combination of the following:

  • 12-step groups
  • Process groups
  • Trauma groups
  • Grief groups
  • First responder groups
  • Veteran groups
  • LGBTQ groups
  • Anger management groups
  • Mindfulness groups
  • Communication groups
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy groups
  • Coping skills groups
  • Psychodrama groups, and more.

American Addiction Centers offers a Free, Safe & Secure way to check insurance coverage for addiction related services.

If you believe that you or someone you love may have a drug or behavioral addiction, please call our helpline at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? . Our trained staff will provide you with information about available addiction treatment options.