Addictions                                                       To Home Page

 

 

Chemical Dependency

(Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Cocaine, Heroin,  Methamphetamines,  Club Drugs,  Marijuana)

Eating Disorders

Anorexia

Bulimia

Overeating/Obesity

Sex Addiction

Other Addictions

Gambling, shopping/debting, compulsive exercise, cleaning, workaholism, internet

(This section is under development, Some topics are not linked yet)

 

Description

One definition of addiction is the compulsion to do or use something regardless of negative or adverse consequences, and the inability to abstain from it for periods of time.  It is characterized by psychological dependence and often physical dependence.  It can be applied to behaviors other than drinking and using drugs.

Addictive behaviors play a critical role in life, from the onset of the problem to addiction and recovery.  There are many types of compulsions that have been termed "addictions".  There are common personality traits, symptoms, and psychodynamic factors that occur in clusters in addicted persons.  Interestingly, there are "addictive personalities" who can become addicted to almost anything, from food and caffeinated beverages through over-the counter drugs or exercise to illicit drugs.

Substance use disorders affect a staggering proportion of the population of the U. S. and other Western nations.  Recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that nearly 20% (about 48 million people) of the general population  qualified for a substance use diagnosis at some point during their lifetime (Regier et al., 1990).  The same researchers found that persons suffering from psychiatric disorders who come for mental health treatment had twice the risk of having a drinking problem, and four times the risk of having a drug problem compared to the general population.  Nearly a third (29%) of persons seeking mental health treatment will also suffer from a substance use problem at some point in their life.

Our cultural preoccupation with food and its relationships with success has been cited as a cause of the increase in the incidence of eating disorders, especially among women (Schwartz, Thompson, & Johnson, 1983).  It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on eating disorders because those individuals often keep them a secret from everyone else and often don't seek professional help (Mueller, 1995).

The estimated rate of compulsive and problem gamblers in the United States is approximately 2-5% of the population (Prevention Researcher, 1999). The average debt for gamblers is also unknown, but one treatment center revealed that the average debt of those in their treatment center was $54,662 (Blackman, Simone, & Thomas, 1986).

A workaholic is defined as, " a person whose need for work has become so excessive that it creates a noticeable disturbance or interference with a person's bodily health, personal happiness, and interpersonal relations, and with their adequate social functioning (Oates, 1971).

Addiction to sex and love can range for individuals who masturbate compulsively (perhaps 10-15 times per day), who are preoccupied with pornography, or individuals who engage in prostitution  or excessive promiscuity.  It can reflect persons who involve themselves in numerous affairs  in order to get the love they feel they need.  In many cases sex is only the enticer, or the avenue through which their emotional, intellectual, or spiritual needs are met.  It is also possible to be in a primary relationship and compulsively fantasize about others.  Even without sexualizing the relationship, many sex and love addicts maintain that they compulsively engage in emotional affairs.  Logan (1992) points out that a pattern of negative emotional, social, physical, financial, and legal consequences associated with sex and love addiction often exists and is not consequential enough to deter the behavior.  Sex-and-love-addicted individuals can put themselves in dangerous situations by picking up strangers and going with them to remote places.  Sexualizing relationships can also lead to guilt and resentment, suicidal ideation, depression, self-loathing, fear, and a diminished sense of self-worth (Kasl, 1989).