Did you know that not all addictions are substance based? In fact, there are a number of addictions to different types of behaviors. These addictions are not always taken seriously by friends and family because they equate addiction with substances, but they can nonetheless destroy lives and require treatment.
One of the reasons people do not take these types of addictions seriously is that lifetime abstinence is often not a viable solution. However, it is exactly this which sheds a light on the treatment of addiction and challenges the perception that ‘once an addict, always an addict.’
Here are the types of addictions that are more common than you think.
Sex addiction is a relatively common condition (potentially affecting 3% of the adult population). Individuals with a sex addiction compulsively seek one form of sex or another. Sex may provide a sense of validation or it may provide a pleasure that the person becomes hooked on.
Sex addiction can include cybersex or sexting. Treatment does not require people with sex addiction to give up on sex. Rather, it helps them reframe sex within a healthy context that encourages moderation.
Gambling addiction may be one behavioral addiction that many people do not find surprising. Gambling provides a thrill due to the very real stakes, and an addiction to it can lead to financial ruin. Some gambling addicts try to use it as a way out of financial strife, only to fall further and further into trouble. Others use it in a self-destructive way, becoming more careless as time goes on.
There are those who have money to lose without facing financial issues but for whom gambling becomes an addiction. For them, the thrill is vivid and the allure of VIP treatment in a ‘Winners’ Circle’ is strong.
Social media and smartphone addictions are seen by many as something not to be taken seriously. Part of the reason for this is that almost all of us are, to some extent, dependent on our phones. When we feel distressed, we reach for them, and we have come to see that as normal.
But smartphone addiction is serious and is becoming more widespread. In the case of an addiction, the individual becomes more and more dependent on their phone to manage their difficult feelings. They struggle to go without their phone even for short periods of time. They are also likely to find a decreasing amount of comfort in their phone.
The above addictions are all fairly common and are treated in rehabs. While there may not be the same kind of withdrawal symptoms, the behavior replaces healthy coping mechanisms, just like drugs and alcohol.