The Spice Girls had a song with a chorus that goes, “too much of something is bad enough” and it’s totally true. Addiction is the chronic or prolonged urge to find and use something despite its adverse effects in order to experience rewarding or pleasing stimuli. Addiction in any form is a brain disease, a disorder, because of its psychological effects on the brain.
While we’re more familiar with drug addiction, there are other forms of addiction that we may not know about or are vaguely familiar with. Here, we name at least ten things that a person may be addicted to other than drugs.
Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a disease that affects everyone regardless of demographics. It is a disease because ingestion of alcohol has direct effects on the brain’s chemistry and activity, and alcoholism may cause permanent changes to the brain. Alcoholism of one person differs from that of another, as both of them may not take the same amount of alcohol within the same length of time, and perhaps one may binge drink for a time and stay sober for say a month, but the other may drink incessantly.
However, a person becomes addicted to alcohol based on the frequency and amount of intake, shows high tolerance for alcohol, drinks at inappropriate places and times, tries to hide stash of alcohol, can’t function properly without intake, and face legal and job problems because of alcohol intake. Yes, despite some people admitting to be functional alcoholics, they’re still addicts and such addiction can have negative consequences on their health, relationships, finances and careers.
Tobacco is addictive, no doubt about it. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in tobacco products. That’s why it’s a great challenge for many people to quit smoking. Despite the horrific pictures of sick people and dire warnings on cigarette cases just how dangerous smoking is to health, and amidst the price hike and smoke bans, people continue to smoke. After the new taxation imposed on tobacco products in 2013, the Euromonitor reports that the tobacco industry in the Philippines is now on recovery mode. Cigarette manufacturers have tobacco addiction to thank.
According to Wikipedia, there are about 17 million adult Filipino tobacco smokers, and this number represents more than 28% of the population. Most smokers are aware of the dangers of their addictive habit, but they find it hard to quit because nicotine activates the brain’s reward pathways and induces feelings of pleasure. This effect happens very fast, within 10 seconds of smoke inhalation, and dissipates just as quick, so the smoker needs to continue smoking to remain in the happy state. Sadly, smoking not only affects the health of smokers, but also those exposed to the smoke (second-hand).
People addicted to gambling are also called pathological gamblers. Their gambling activities go overboard that it starts to have social, financial and emotional impacts, especially on the addict’s family. Gambling is a form of thrilling entertainment, but can easily become a problem when a person can no longer control his or her gambling habits, overspend, go on debts, and neglect responsibilities.
Pathological gambling is an addictive disorder characterized by the need to spend increasing amounts of money on gambling, having negative emotions when gambling budget is curtailed, difficulty in quitting, the need to gamble whenever depressed, the need to lie about gambling activity, and the habit of taking loans to finance gambling addiction. In the Philippines, the lottery and casino games are legal, but other forms of gambling are prohibited or restricted.
- Sex & Porn
Another form of addiction is sexual addiction. Porn addiction is a sub-category of sex addiction. People can easily get obsessed with sex with the former being a natural instinct. Like other forms of addiction, sex addiction is characterized by compulsive urge to find and have sex in the most inappropriate times and places, with just about anyone, with little to no regard to emotions or moral for that matter. Sex is just a pleasurable act and no longer a physical manifestation of love and affection.
Young people don’t get addicted to sex right away, although sexual curiosity and urges are there. A brief exposure to porn, nudity or sexual act seems scary and disgusting at first, but addiction starts when the person begins the habit of thinking and having sex all the time, regardless of the person and circumstance. Simple expressions of affections are no longer as exciting or gratifying, and the addict starts to venture to more graphic porn and/or rougher and more dangerous sexual activities just to get satisfaction.
- Computer & Internet
Internet addiction comes in many names such as internet addiction disorder (IAD) and problematic internet use (PIU), but the thought remains – it is a disorder and it is a problem. Along this line, there is also such thing as computer addiction. A person becomes a computer or internet addict when he or she starts to excessively use the internet or computer despite adverse consequences of such use to their health, relationships, careers, etc.
Anyone computer or internet activity that disrupts or destroys normal life belong to this category. This disorder is affecting more and more individuals today with the proliferation and the advancements in computer and internet technology. While years ago, only a few privileged individuals have access to computer let alone internet, today, there are internet cafes everywhere, and anyone with a smartphone can already use the internet via data allowance or wifi.
Food addiction mostly centers around excessive consumption of fatty and sweet foods. Food addicts, also known as binge eaters or compulsive eaters, go on binge eating or consuming large amounts of food in frequent episodes, at the cost of their health. Food addicts are known to suffer obesity and other health issues that go along with their habit including but not limited to anxiety, depression, diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems and stroke.
- Video Game
In relation to computer and internet addiction, video game addiction is likewise another form of addiction to technology. In fact video game addiction and internet gaming addiction are interspersed in most discussions. Both are a form of gaming disorder or technology addiction. Gamers come from all lifestyles, and video gaming is no longer a pastime among young kids and teens, but also among grownups.
While it is normal even healthy for people to engage in video games now and then, when the gaming habit becomes a problem, disrupting normal life activities and destroying relationships, it becomes an addiction. A person is diagnosed with the gaming disorder when the person thinks about the game often, become restless if they can’t play, neglect or ignore body aches due to excessive gaming, lie about their gaming lifestyle, and put their personal and professional life at stake because of gaming.
Shopping addicts are also called shopaholics. Like other forms of addiction, excessive and unhealthy shopping is a disorder, but is often tolerated if not praised among women. I mean, some women proudly describe themselves as shopaholics. The disorder causes people to buy compulsively and overspend chronically on things they don’t really need or use. For shopaholics, they don’t care about what they buy or the availability of funds, the most important thing is spending money. Aside from facing financial problems and debts due to excessive, compulsive shopping, shopaholics may resort to shoplifting and other criminal acts just to feed their shopping cravings.
Yes, that’s right. Some people are addicted to anger. Being angry makes them euphoric and happy. They find joy in being angry at something or someone. Like many forms of addiction, there is a way to overcome anger addiction and that is through anger management. You might have heard about anger management in the past, but are unfamiliar with anger addiction. Anyone who gets angry uncontrollably and for no reason at all may be suffering from this disorder and needs help fast. Anger addiction, when left unmanaged or uncorrected can escalate into an aggressive and violent behavioral disorder.
There are many workaholics among us. Perhaps our father or older sister is one. A person who is very attached to their job or work and tends to frequently overstay in their office or workplace may exhibit signs of work addiction. The addiction is a result of a person need to attain perfection, fame, status or power. They have the compulsive and uncontrollable need to climb up the ladder of success. They can’t accept failure and mediocrity. They want things at work to be perfect all the time, not minding the other aspects of their lives. All they care about is work. Because of this compulsion, workaholics face social, emotional and mental problems, and eventually fall apart.
So there you have it – ten forms of addiction or addictive disorder other than drugs. You or a person you know may be suffering from any one of these addictions. If you don’t mind, come and share with us your story. You might have helpful tips to share about overcoming addiction. That would surely be priceless information for us and our readers.