What are we Addicted to?

Some people get addicted to drugs, which in themselves develop a chemical craving and can even cause people to feel unwell if their bodies have become dependent on the drug. Examples of this include alcohol, heroin and nicotine. Alcohol dependency is so dangerous that stopping drinking when someone is highly dependent on alcohol may result in fitting and put so much pressure on the organs that it may result in death.

Some get addictions to what goes in


Drug addiction is the most commonly recognised addiction, and this includes: nicotine, caffeine, prescription pain relief medications, and Chrystal Meth. Drugs are substances which change the way the body or mind behaves.

For more information about substances check out the excellent TALK to FRANK website. People also get addicted to other substances which they consume that helps to change how they feel and this can include sugar and simple carbohydrates.

Others have addictions to what goes on

The other type of addictions people experience include, activities which help distract people from thinking about their situation or temporarily change how they think about themselves.


These addictive behaviours can include gambling, exercise, and sex, and any activity that has a delayed reward structure which you can immerse yourself such as shopping or work. The addictive aspect of sex addiction is not the activity itself but the process of the pursuit of sex and of getting a new partner.

Both sex and exercise are addictive as they can also have an endorphin release which is a chemical reward which makes you feel good. It is common for those who over exercise to feel down or depressed, just as dependent substance users may feel if they do not exercise and get an endorphin release.

Addicted to feeling excited

The body’s survival and defence mechanisms create substances which change how we feel and they too can be addictive for people. Some people get addicted to adrenaline which is released when the body is in a high state of arousal, feeling under threat. People with this addiction often display high risk activities such as kleptomania, gambling, and chaotic behaviours which ignore the predictable consequences of actions. People who get an addiction to adrenaline tend to be very impulsive, make rash decisions and display a lack of inhibitions. People who get addictions to risk tend to have low self esteem and feel liberated and secure when there is chaos in their lives, as this chaos distracts them from thinking about themselves and how unhappy they feel.

 Overall addiction comes in many forms and ways to demonstrate it but its main function is to distract the person from thinking about themselves or their lives.  Effective treatment, then for all addictions, once you have supported the addict with any chemical dependency is built on supporting them to function in their world successfully and giving someone the tools and skills to accept and value themselves.

No matter what someone has an addiction to, there is an effective treatment or course of treatments which will collectively help someone to find new coping strategies and aid them to live fulfilling, sustainable and rewarding lives whether they are expereincing an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or any other addictive behavour, Access specialist treatment and trust the process.

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