7 Examples of Addictive Behaviors: Substance Abuse, Gambling, Video Games and More

Constantly defying your odds? Of all behavioral addictions, gambling addiction is the one that most closely resembles drug and alcohol addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies gambling disorder as an addictive disorder. Studies show that gambling addictions illuminate the same areas of the brain as drug addictions, and treatment for gambling disorder is generally included in the same type of therapy settings as drug and alcohol abuse. Can't you keep your hands off that game console? Research shows that video game addiction is more common in boys and men, and one study even found that up to 1 in 10 video players between 8 and 18 years old are gamers out of control (and games start to look more like reality than fantasy).

If you're addicted to video games, treatments include counseling and behavior modification. When talking about addiction, drugs and alcohol often accompany the discussion. But are drugs and alcohol the only substances that can be addictive? Are there other substances not categorized as drugs and alcohol that can be addictive? In addition, can certain behaviors also be addictive? Here is a list of the most common addictions compiled by psychologists and addiction experts that reveals some answers to these questions, some of which may surprise you. Substance addiction, as the term implies, refers to the abuse of any substance (for example, illegal drugs, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, food, coffee and even sugar) despite the harmful effects and negative consequences that may arise. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has included gambling disorder in the newly created category of behavioral addictions.

Research has found that gambling disorder is similar to substance-related disorders in multiple forms. These similarities will help people become more aware and educated in the hope of receiving much-needed treatment and rehabilitation. Although similar in many ways, food addiction is different from binge eating disorder. Both can lead to obesity, but people who struggle with food addiction can also have a normal weight. Compared to substance abuse addiction and other process addictions, video game addiction seems relatively harmless.

However, compulsively playing video games can disrupt a person's ability to positively connect with others and have healthy relationships, maintain responsibilities at work, and make decisions that support their physical and mental health (e.g., getting enough sleep). Ultimately, those who don't receive treatment may end up completely isolating themselves from the real world, losing their ability to function, be with family, and achieve any goal outside of the gaming world. Most people engage in hundreds of different behaviors throughout the day, each with its own consequences. In general, people make decisions about what behavior to adopt next with relative consideration and with the intention of improving their experience. For example, if you're hungry, you can choose to have a healthy snack that not only satisfies your hunger but also gives you energy to continue your day.

However, a person living with a food addiction may choose to eat even when they are not hungry and may overeat unhealthy foods in large quantities. While this is an unhealthy option, many people can and will overeat or will eat when they aren't hungry and don't struggle with food addiction. What support groups are there for behavioral addictions? For almost every type and style of behavioral addiction, there are both online and in-person support groups ranging from informal meetings to formal therapy sessions that are designed to create a base of support for people who want to learn to live without engaging in behavioral addiction. For example, for people living with a food addiction, some support group options include Food Addicts Anonymous and Food Addicts in Recovery. Gambling addicts can find support in the SMART Recovery Gambling Addiction group or Gamblers Anonymous.

Similarly, those living with a shopping addiction can attend Shopaholics Anonymous meetings, and those living with a sex addiction can find support in Sex Addicts Anonymous groups. Substance use disorders are a type of mental illness characterized by the use of a harmful substance such as drugs or alcohol. Behavioral addictions include compulsive participation in behaviors such as sex, gambling or shopping. According to the National Institute of Health risk factors for addiction include environmental and genetic factors.

An addiction doesn't form spontaneously during the night. Instead it is the result of a long process of repeated substance abuse that gradually changes the way a person views a drug and the way their body reacts to it. This process is linear and has the same progression for each person although the duration of each step in that progression can differ greatly depending on the person the dose and the type of drug being abused. Substance abuse is a pattern of compulsive substance use characterized by significant recurrent adverse social work legal or interpersonal consequences such as repeated absences from work or school arrests and marital difficulties.

Many people engage in compulsive substance use or addictive behavior without experiencing an addictive disorder. Since research over the past two decades suggests that a wide range of substances and behavioral addictions could serve similar functions it would be useful to think about addictions in terms of lifestyle and individual problems. While addictions to substances such as alcohol tobacco and other drugs have been extensively investigated there has been a growing interest in potential non-substance addictive behaviors (e.g., video games). Experts believe that all entities that stimulate the mind and body can be addictive and that addiction can occur in many forms.

However addictive disorders are treatable and finding an effective treatment plan can help you recover from addiction and avoid relapse. Often physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms is assumed to be necessary.

Ginger Baney
Ginger Baney

Subtly charming food specialist. Extreme internet ninja. Unapologetic sushi lover. Avid coffee lover. Typical food buff.