- What Are the Most Common Addictions?
- Alcohol: One of the Common Addictions
- Why Busyness is Actually Modern Laziness
- Get More Done by Slowing Down
- Three Mindful Tips to Slow Down at Work
- Are You Addicted To A State Of Mind?
- Subscribe To Our Blog
- Behavioral Addictions
- Common Behavioral Addictions
- Why Are Certain Behaviors Considered Addictions?
- When Addiction Is Out of Control and Help Is Needed
- Statistics, Facts, and Data
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Types of Addictions: How We Treat Them
- Pornography Addiction
- Addiction Treatment
- The Big List Of Bad Habits
- 283 Bad Habits (The ULTIMATE List of Bad Habits)
- How Do You Break These Bad Habits?
- Bad habits and addictions
What Are the Most Common Addictions?
Certain substances are recognized by the scientific and medical communities as having addictive properties. Four of the leading and most common addictions are alcohol, nicotine, food, and drugs.
Alcohol: One of the Common Addictions
The legal use of alcohol and its general acceptance contribute to making alcohol one of the most common addictive substances. Transitioning from using alcohol occasionally to addiction is a process that usually develops over a period.
Alcohol is a powerful drug, though it is often not regarded as such. Signs of addiction include craving for a drink, loss of control over how much to consume, and the need to drink more to achieve intoxication.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that it can affect these areas of the body:
- Brain – By interfering with the communication pathways, alcohol can affect the way the brain functions. Changes in behavior and mood can result from the interference. Also, it affects the ability to think clearly and to move with normal coordination.
- Heart – While research indicates that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol may resist the onset of coronary heart disease. However, addiction impacts the heart negatively. An irregular heartbeat, arrhythmias, may occur as well as cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the heart muscle to stretch. Also, high blood pressure and stroke may result from addiction to alcohol.
- Liver – Processing alcohol is a function of the liver. Excessive alcohol use can lead to fatty liver, fibrosis, cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
- Pancreas – Toxic substances that the pancreas creates in response to alcohol can eventually result in inflammation that inhibits proper digestion.
- Cancer risk – Some types of cancer are associated with alcohol addiction, including esophagus, mouth and throat, breast and liver.
- Immune system damage – Research shows that excessive consumption of alcohol weakens the immune system and makes the body more susceptible to disease.
Addiction to Nicotine
Another of the most common addictions is smoking cigarettes, pipes or cigars. This is a convenient and socially acceptable way for nicotine addicts to get satisfaction. However, their use is restricted to many public and private areas today. About 2 milligrams of nicotine enters a smoker’s bloodstream with each cigarette and makes its way to the brain and causes a release of adrenaline. Some effects on the body include an increase in heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that tobacco contains at least 19 chemicals that are related to cancer, among more than the 4,000 others.
Addiction to nicotine produces different effects on different individuals, including these:
- Decreased appetite, a condition that encourages some to start smoking and others to resist quitting
- Increased blood pressure by as much as 5-10 mmHg
- Increased heart rate by 10 to 20 beats every minute
- Increased production of phlegm and saliva
- Stimulation to the brain that improves alertness
- Mood elevation
- Increases in intestinal activity
Researchers believe that nicotine and tar in tobacco lead to a risk of increased health problems. These are two of the most common addictions that cause dangerous health problems.
Addiction to Food
An NIH study implicates addiction to food as a possible cause of chronic cravings, binge eating, compulsive overeating, and obesity. Foods that were identified in the study as likely to have addictive properties include sweets, fats, carbohydrates, processed foods and those containing high levels of salt.
Signs of food addiction include eating at times when hunger is not present, eating differently when other people are around, following a routine of binging and purging, heart problems, diminished energy level, sleep disorders and much more.
When addiction to food results in obesity, the body experiences far-ranging negative effects that include these:
- Joint damage – Hips, and knees, as well as the lower back, endure stress when supporting the greater than normal weight of an obese person. The Mayo Clinic reports that the incidence of osteoarthritis increases as a result of obesity. The wear and tear on the protective cartilage that pads the ends of bones disintegrate eventually as a result of undue pressure.
- High blood pressure – The heart must work harder than normal to circulate the high requirement for oxygen and nutrients to fat tissue. Circulating the increased quantity of blood required by an obese condition increases the workload on the heart as well as the pressure on arterial walls.
- Heart disease – Hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis, occurs at a rate that is 10 times greater than normal in obese people. The buildup of fat deposits narrows the arteries that feed the heart muscle and leads to coronary artery disease. The reduced flow of blood to the heart can cause angina as well as a heart attack. Also, blood clots that cause strokes are more likely to occur.
- Diabetes – Obesity is a major cause of the common form of diabetes known as type 2 diabetes.
Addiction to Drugs
Drugs that lead to addiction include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, meth, and others.
Impact on the body from certain drugs includes these:
- Cocaine – Heart damage that results in death can occur from addiction to cocaine. Its use can lead to heart failure, stroke, heart attack and arrhythmia.
- Heroin – The most serious negative effect of heroin is that an overdose can cause death. In addition, using shared equipment that is not sterile can cause kidney and liver disease, lung problems and infection of the lining of the heart.
- Marijuana – Some researchers suggest a link between addiction to marijuana to lung cancer, but it is not proven. Low testosterone levels and sperm count are more frequent among addicts than among non-addicts.
- Meth – Addiction to meth has long-term effects that include weight loss, anxiety, dental deterioration, paranoia, delusions, and insomnia. The body experiences an increase in negative responses that include rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and increased respiration.
A variety of other addictions can also wreak havoc in a person’s life such as:
There seems to be no limit to the types of things a human can become obsessed with. Regardless of the substance or behavior involved, there are effective treatment programs available to help anyone overcome these common addictions.
Perhaps you’re familiar with this experience: After a long week of work, the weekend finally arrives. It’s time to wind down, relax, and do nothing. However, before 9 a.m. Saturday morning you’ve organized three social appointments, ordered a new IKEA closet, and set in motion four other plans that will keep you active for the rest of the weekend.
Or something like this has happened to you: It’s 8 a.m. and you’re in the office. On your desk is a clear list of the four important priorities of the day. Your phone rings, you answer it, and, before you know it, it’s 5 p.m. and time to go home. Your list is still there, untouched and unfulfilled.
Both cases are examples of action addiction, a deep-rooted human condition caused by imbalances in the chemicals of our brain. The hormone dopamine is the key player. Dopamine is a highly addictive, naturally produced reward-drug that, when released in the brain, provides us a short-term sense of enjoyment, relaxation, and gratification. Dopamine is a main driver behind our constant busyness. When organizing the three social appointments, ordering the new IKEA closet, or checking our Facebook page, dopamine is released. We feel good. For a moment. Then the brain craves another kick. More actions. And over time we are caught in a vicious circle of action and reward. Action addiction is in the making. Does it sound familiar?
Why Busyness is Actually Modern Laziness
Action addiction is an advanced sort of laziness. It keeps us busily occupied with tasks. The busier we keep ourselves, the more we avoid being confronted with questions of life and death. As we keep ourselves occupied with tasks, important or not, we avoid facing life. We keep a safe and comfortable distance to the issues that are sometimes hard to look at. Have we chosen the right career? Are we present enough with our children? Is our life purposeful?
It’s like climbing a ladder as fast as we can, only once we reach the top we realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall.
With all our activity we believe we get closer to something bigger. We might not know what it is, but we keep working at it. It´s like climbing a ladder as fast as we can, hoping to get to the top. And someday we get there. We reach the top in the form of a job promotion or a newly acquired house. But what’s the point of reaching the top of the ladder only to realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall?
Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time with people who made it to the top of the ladder. One CEO—who was not much different from the others I’ve met—has stuck in my mind. He had decades of action addiction on his curriculum vitae. He had made it to the top of an international insurance company. He had worked hard for years—hard enough to have suffered two strokes. But he was willing to take a beating to secure his retirement and family. Sadly, his health began to fail him and he wasn’t sure he’d make it to retirement age. And in the process of securing the future, he’d lost his family. Action addiction had kept him from noticing his family pulling further and further away.
This is all not to say activities are not important. Working, cooking, cleaning, and caring for our families and friends are mandatory for us all… But we can choose to write some space into our to-do lists.
The Dalai Lama was coming to town. More than 10,000 people were coming together to see him. Over 500 volunteers, dozens of security people, and masses of journalists had to be coordinated. The man behind it all, Lakha, was a little man in his late 70s and an old friend and study mate of the Dalai Lama.
We may have deadlines, projects, and activities, but we have the freedom to choose whether we become action addicts.
I arrived at the venue early, to meet friends and be there to greet the Dalai Lama. There was intense activity setting up security, managing the crowds, and taking care of the press. In the middle of it all Lakha was standing in his suit. I walked straight up to him and asked him the default question we all tend to ask each other when we meet. I have never asked anyone the question since then. “Hi, Lakha, are you busy?” Lakha turned to me, looked at me calmly and said, “There is lots of activity, but I am not busy.” His presence spoke louder than his words. Lakha was overseeing a massive project with numerous deadlines and details to manage. There was lots going on, but it did not get to him. He was not busy.
On that day I realized clearly that busyness is a choice. We may have deadlines, projects, and activities, but we have the freedom to choose whether we become action addicts and busy-lazy, or just observe the experience of many activities. It’s a choice. And the ability to make that choice comes from developing a clear mind, free of action addiction.
Nowadays we tend to all be busy, overburdened, and perhaps stressed. It is part of our identity. If we are busy we are important. If we are stressed, it’s because we are committed and working hard. It´s in the DNA of our modern societies. If we are not busy and stressed, we are not trying hard enough. Something is wrong with us. But Lakha showed a clear alternative; having many activities and being highly effective and productive, but maintaining mental clarity and calm—not giving in to action addiction. Not being existentially lazy.
There are good reasons to overcome action addiction and thereby better avoid busyness. In addition to keeping us from seeing the bigger picture, busyness kills the heart. In Chinese, the word “busy” consists of two syllables, one meaning heart, the other death. More explanation is not needed. The busier we get, the more energy flows to the head and away from the heart. The busier we get, the more we tend to distance ourselves from others and their emotions. Action addiction keeps us busy and away from asking why. And the less we ask, the further we get removed from purpose, meaning, and love. We become effective robots that achieve more. But more is very often much less. Because the heart is not in it.
Get More Done by Slowing Down
To avoid killing our hearts through busy action addiction, we must slow down before we speed up. We must live smart and work smart. Do the right things, not a lot of things. A great analogy to this is the cheetah.
You have likely watched animal movies and seen a cheetah hunt. It’s impressive. It’s the fastest land-living animal on the planet and reaches speeds faster than some highway limits, in seconds. Despite its amazing body, it does not just set off and sprint when it spots prey. Instead it slows down. Really slow. It crouches down and for minutes moves in slow motion while all muscle fibers in its body warm up. Then, when ready, everything explodes and in seconds it accelerates faster than a sports car and catches its meal.
The trick of the cheetah is to slow down to speed up, and we can learn from that in our pursuit of overcoming action addiction and busyness. Just as the cheetah doesn’t run around constantly trying to catch mice, we can learn to focus on the real important tasks and goals in life and at work–rather than doing things just for the sake of doing them.
When we slow down momentarily and let go of doing things, we allow the brain to let go of the immediate urge for dopamine and we can focus and choose our actions out of clarity and freedom, rather than impulses. That way we can better pursue the larger goals in life like kindness, happiness or whatever it may be. By slowing down, we can speed up.
Three Mindful Tips to Slow Down at Work
1. Take an Awareness Break
You can take a systematic approach to slowing down by implementing awareness breaks in your life. Awareness breaks are 45 second breaks performed once an hour. Awareness breaks are like a reset button. It helps you reset your mind, get out of wheel spinning, and increase your focus.
- Set a timer to notify you that it’s time to take a moment.
- When you get the notification, stop what you are doing, let go of thoughts and direct your attention to your breath.
- At the first breath cycle, relax your body and mind. At the second, focus your attention. At the third, ask yourself “What am I doing right now: Chasing mice or going after bigger prey?”
2. Halt Your Action Addiction
The consequence of action addiction is that we are constantly chasing short-term wins. We keep ourselves busy chasing details, thereby losing sight of larger goals. If you are reading this, and not really sure if it applies to you, here is a little test you can do:
- Next time you get to your office in the morning, just as you are about to get in action, sit down, and look out the window or at your computer screen.
- Don’t act. Don’t talk. Don’t solve a problem. Just sit. Do nothing. For three minutes.
If you find the test difficult, if you are challenged by the inactivity and get restless and experience an urge to be busy—you are experiencing some degree of action addiction.
3. Ask Yourself: Are You Choosing to Be Busy?
- Next time you feel busy, pause for a moment and contemplate: What’s keeping you busy? And is it worth it? Are there things on your plate you should let go? And is your mind inherently busy or just pretending to be?
- Let yourself contemplate these questions for a moment and be honest with yourself about the answers. There are no right answers.
This article also appeared in the October 2015 issue of Mindful magazine.
Are You Addicted To A State Of Mind?
How to replace unhealthy addiction activities with healthy and rational choices
We experience different states of consciousness every day. At work, we must stay “on,” stay focused, respond carefully, etc. At home, we like to “zone out,” to not be “on,” to relax. We also all enjoy a different state of consciousness: sleep.
But at other times, many of us also like something very different from either our “on,” focused, responsible state or our relaxed, “zoned out” state. Some chemicals and activities help us achieve these different states, e.g., alcohol, skiing, sex, internet gaming, dancing, etc. For many people, these result in wonderful states of consciousness, and they manage not to overdo them or get addicted to them. But supposing you are not so lucky and become dependent or addicted.
The dopamine rush
Modern neuroscience suggests that we all need a certain level of dopamine to feel okay. With dopamine, we act; without it, we don’t. Too much or too little can be a problem. Novelty, challenge, alcohol, sex, cocaine, chocolate…all lead to a spritz of dopamine (or a tsunami). Even just thinking about doing something that has led to pleasing feelings in the past will cause dopamine to be released…and then action may follow, but not always good action. And if you blitz your dopamine system too often, only that drug or activity you used may “ring your bell” in the future. This is why vitamins for drug detox include C vitamins, which can stimulate the production of dopamine, often un-naturally low after prolonged substance use.
Alternatives to addictive behaviors are required for successful addiction recovery.
Steps to living healthy
1. Accept the gap.
If you continually get in trouble with a particular chemical or activity, you will have to accept the “gap.” There is a gap between what you want to do in the short-run and what you can do, without messing up your life. And you can make things worse by demanding that that gap go away or not exist.
2. Set goals.
You won’t give up a favorite state of consciousness – something you like very, very much – without having a larger or more important goal that you want even more…or perhaps many goals, for example, good relationships, meaningful work, and the ability to have fun doing other things like fishing or cooking.
3. Do what is good for you.
What “rings your bell” or “lifts your spirits” but does not wreck your life? Those are the things you should do more of. Some, like music, give an immediate lift. Others, like relationships, yield their lift at various times and places. The lift is not so immediate and apparent but it’s no less important. You can sense what lifts your spirits. Initially, partly because you have whacked your dopamine system and it will take time to repair itself, nothing may ring your bell. But, given some time, you can watch which activities lead to a richer, more enjoyable life and which lead to more chaos and misery.
4. Expect down times.
Nothing will work all of the time. Why do Americans think they should be happy all or most of the time? Our moods are like the weather. There are gray days and stormy days, as well as sunny days. So find other ways to lift your spirits, spritz your spritzer and lift your dopamine levels. At the same time, resist your demand to close the gap. Where is the evidence that you can’t stand it?! And why is it so horrible that your mood is gray in the first place?
Change and acceptance
And, paraphrasing a prayer by Neibuhr for those who do not believe in a “Higher Power”:
May we learn how to change the things we can change, how to accept the things that we cannot change and how to cultivate the wisdom to know the difference.
This is the challenge. When we accept it, we will feel better – not always, but often.
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Addiction can occur in many forms. Often, it is assumed that physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms is required in order for someone to be diagnosed with an addiction disorder, but the fact is that behavioral addiction can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life minus the physical issues faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.
It is the compulsive nature of the behavior that is often indicative of a behavioral addiction, or process addiction, in an individual. The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community defines behavioral addiction. The person may find the behavior rewarding psychologically or get a “high” while engaged in the activity but may later feel guilt, remorse, or even overwhelmed by the consequences of that continued choice. Unfortunately, as is common for all who struggle with addiction, people living with behavioral addictions are unable to stop engaging in the behavior for any length of time without treatment and intervention.
Common Behavioral Addictions
Sex and Love Addcitions
Though almost everyone engages in all of the activities listed above – shopping, gambling, and certainly eating and exercise – to a certain degree and may even enjoy the behavior very much, it is not termed an addiction until the following is true:
- The person struggles with mental health or physical health issues as a consequence of the behavior and/or the inability to stop.
- The person has difficulties in significant relationships at home and, in some cases, at work because the behavior is so disruptive.
- The person experiences other negative consequences that are directly caused by continued, extreme, or chronic engagement in the behavior. For example, a person with a gambling addiction may gamble away the house, lose a job, and be forced into bankruptcy due to the extreme nature of the gambling.
- The person is unable to stop engaging in the behavior despite these consequences.
If you believe that you, or someone you love, are struggling with a behavioral addiction, the good news is that treatment is a powerful tool. Learning how to manage the behavior and begin to address the issues caused by the long-term behaviors begins with intensive and integrated treatment.
- Gambling Addiction
- Sex Addiction
- Gaming Addiction
- Food Addiction
Why Are Certain Behaviors Considered Addictions?
Most people engage in hundreds of different behaviors throughout the day, each one with its own set of consequences. In general, people make choices about which behavior to engage in next relatively thoughtfully and with the intent to improve their experience. For example, if you are hungry, you may choose to get a healthy snack that will not only satisfy your hunger but also give you energy to continue your day. However, someone who is living with a food addiction may choose to eat even when not hungry and may binge eat unhealthy foods in large amounts. Though this is an unhealthy choice, many people can and will overeat, or eat when they aren’t hungry, and do not struggle with a food addiction. When the behavior becomes impulsive in nature and begins to contribute to the development of a range of physical and mental health problems and the person is unable to stop, it is termed an addiction.Does this mean that you can be addicted to any behavior? It is a question that fuels an ongoing debate. Many do not feel that characterizing a behavior as an “addiction” is correct; they believe that a little self-control is all that is needed. Unfortunately, the fact is that if a little self-control were the only issue, then people struggling with behavioral addictions would certainly stop engaging in their behavior of choice long before it harmed their physical health, ended primary relationships, and caused a host of financial, legal, and mental health problems.
Whether or not any behavior can become an addiction that is harmful to a person’s ability to function is still open to debate. What we do know is that there are several behaviors that are commonly reported as occurring at an addiction level, wreaking havoc and destroying lives for as long as they remain untreated.
Gambling addiction Gambling addiction, also called problem gambling or gambling disorder, is an addiction that refers to any and all types of gambling or choices related to gambling that endanger or compromise a person’s life, job, or family. Whether it’s going to the casino and playing the slot machines, staying up for overnight poker games, gambling online, or sports betting, if the choice is characterized by the following then it is termed a gambling addiction:
- Placing bets more and more frequently
- Betting more than originally intended
- “Chasing” losses by continually betting beyond the ability to pay
- Feeling irritable or aggressive when unable to gamble or when losing
- Being preoccupied with gambling
When gambling turns into an addiction, those who seek treatment often report huge losses, including legal problems, foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, lost careers, and more. Additionally, many who struggle with gambling addiction may consider or attempt suicide.
Though we all have to eat, and many people are prone to overeating on occasion or eating out of boredom or for pure enjoyment, people who struggle with food addiction cannot control their compulsive eating behaviors. They tend to crave foods that are high in fats, sugar, and/or salt and often describe feeling “high” while engaging in the activity. Additionally, people who are addicted to food may develop a tolerance for food, as is characteristic of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. That is, they require more and more of their favorite foods in order to experience the “high” they seek. People who struggle with food addiction may be obese, but people who have a normal BMI may also struggle with the disorder. Damaged relationships, issues of self-esteem, and other health problems may also result.
Video Game Addiction
Addiction to the fantasy and escape provided by video game play as a growing phenomenon. Graphics are getting better all the time, new games are always coming out, and the ability to communicate with others via headsets while playing the game with people who would otherwise be strangers from all around the world is uniquely interesting to people who may have a hard time connecting with others in person. Similarly, taking on the role of someone else and living a virtual life can also be alluring. As compared to a substance abuse addiction or even to other process addictions, video game addiction may seem relatively harmless, and certainly many people can play video games on occasion without ever developing a problem. However, compulsive video game play can interrupt a person’s ability to connect positively with others and have healthy relationships, maintain responsibilities at work, and make choices that support their physical and mental health (e.g., eating regularly or healthfully, going to the doctor, etc.). Ultimately, those who don’t get treatment may end up completely isolating themselves from the real world, losing their ability to function, be with family, and achieve any goals outside of the video game world.
When Addiction Is Out of Control and Help Is Needed
Identifying when a behavior has turned into a problem issue and that problem has developed into an addiction can be tricky.
It can be easy to be too close to the person and unable to recognize when things have gone from occasionally upsetting to a diagnosable disorder that requires treatment.The fact is that addiction is defined as a disease of the brain , a chronic illness that requires intensive therapeutic and medical treatment. It can quickly spiral out of control, causing problems in every part of the person’s life. When this happens, and the person is still unable to stop engaging in the addictive behavior even with a genuine desire to stop or great fear or remorse about what has and will happen, it is time to seek treatment.
What Type of Programs Are Offered to Treat Behavioral Addictions?
Many of the same programs that are effective in the treatment of dependence upon drugs or alcohol are effective in the treatment of behavioral addictions. An effective behavioral addiction treatment program should offer all clients access to the resources they need. This may include any combination of the following:
- Detox support: Some clients describe insomnia, feelings of agitation, panic, angry outbursts, headaches, and other withdrawal symptoms when they stop indulging in the addictive behavior. Therapeutic support through this transitional period can assist the client in reaching stability in treatment and improve the capacity to focus on growth and healing going forward.
- Diagnosis and evaluation: Just as with substance abuse and addiction, there are often co-occurring disorders at play that may be impacting the person’s compulsivity and ability to remain abstinent in recovery. A thorough evaluation process can help to identify any co-occurring substance abuse issues and/or mental health disorders that may be contributing to, causing, or in any way impacting the person’s experience with behavioral addictions.
- Treatment plan: A unique combination of therapies will be chosen based on the person’s evaluation and diagnosis results, personal circumstances and comfort level, and goals for recovery now and in the future.
- Family support: It is often just as important for loved ones and family members to engage in their own healing processes as it is for the person living with the behavioral addiction. Family members are encouraged to not only take part in their loved one’s recovery but also to engage in support groups designed for family members, personal therapy sessions, and family therapy sessions with the person in treatment.
Choosing a range of therapies that assist the client in reaching treatment goals, and staying in treatment for as long as necessary to ensure that the client is strong and stable in recovery are key to an effective behavioral addiction treatment program.
What if Substance Abuse Is a Part of a Co-Occurring Disorder?
If a substance abuse or addiction disorder is a part of the experience of a client seeking treatment for a behavioral addiction, it is essential that treatment for that substance abuse disorder is integrated into the overall treatment plan. For many clients, the urge to drink or do drugs is coupled with the urge to engage in the process addiction. For example, some say that as soon as they get a drink in hand, the next thought is gambling. Others may include the use of stimulant drugs as a part of their ritual when they engage in behaviors triggered by or related to sex addiction. No matter what the combination of disorders is, it is often recommended that the person enroll in a residential treatment center that is equipped with the staff, resources, and experience to empower healing on all fronts.
Statistics, Facts, and Data
- Gambling addiction may impact up to 2-3 percent of the American public. Its signs, symptoms, and impacts may vary across genders, age groups, and other populations. Men are more likely to develop a gambling problem and at an earlier age as compared to women, but women make up about 25 percent of those living with a gambling addiction. Risk factors for the disorder include mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, mood disorders, and substance abuse disorders, especially cocaine and/or alcohol abuse or addiction.
- Though similar in many ways, food addiction is different from binge eating disorder. Though both may result in obesity, people who struggle with food addiction may also be of normal weight. The period between sessions of eating large amounts of food may be characterized with different eating behaviors among patients living with BED as compared to food addiction.
- It is estimated that about one in 10 young people who plays video games has an addiction to the behavior. Some people in treatment for video game addiction report experiencing something like withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to play – angry outbursts, sweating, etc.
- Compulsive shopping is often believed to be a female problem, but CNN reports that about 6 percent of women struggle with the problem – and so do 5.5 percent of men. Unfortunately, because shopping is a common and normal behavior, and compulsive shoppers often go out of their way to hide the evidence of their purchases, it’s not always easy to identify the problem. Even one of the common signs of the disorder – frequent arguments over money with a spouse or significant other – is a normal issue. However, alcohol use disorders and/or an eating disorder like binge eating or bulimia often co-occur with shopping addiction, so these issues may be signs of the disorder as well.
- People who struggle with sex addiction are often also living with other significant mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. Engaging in potentially self-injurious behavior during manic periods or in general may be a sign of these other disorders and must be considered as a possibility during evaluation and diagnosis at the outset of treatment.
- Social media use can lead to addiction if it is compulsive and disruptive to the person’s ability to function in everyday life. Well before it becomes an addiction, however, chronic social media use can contribute to anxiety in users who describe feelings of discomfort and agitation if they are unable to connect – an issue that could potentially be termed a withdrawal symptom.
- Some studies suggest that medication may be helpful in the treatment of some process addictions even if they do not co-occur with other mental health disorders. For example, some studies suggest that naltrexone may be an effective choice in the treatment of online sex addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a Difference Between ‘Process’ and ‘Behavioral’ in Regards to Addiction?
There is no difference between the terms “process addiction” and “behavioral addiction.” Both refer to compulsive indulgence in a specific behavior or type of behaviors that have the net result of harm to the person, plus the inability of the person to moderate or manage those behaviors without treatment.
What Types of Behavioral Addictions Are There? Individuals may report a number of behaviors that they compulsively engage in that contribute to their inability to move forward or focus on other parts of their lives. For some, it is a behavior that is at the base of the addiction. For others, it is a ritual that comes before or after indulging in a destructive behavior.For example, some clients in recovery from heroin addiction report feeling nostalgic about the process of “cooking up,” loading the needle, and tying off that comes before the actual high. Others describe their process prior to engaging in sex addiction (e.g., the “hunt”) as a ritual they enjoyed; others talk about the ritual of rolling a cigarette prior to actually smoking as being just as addictive as the behavior itself. Still others define the obsessive and compulsive behaviors engaged in due to OCD as being addictive.However, in general, though the cravings for different aspects of a behavioral addiction may play a large role in recovery, the top behavioral addictions are often reported to include:
- Sex addiction: Anonymous sex, sex with multiple partners, and other sex acts designed to be as highly stimulating as possible are often the focus of sex addiction. Often, this is a risky behavior connected to other mental health disorders as many do not use protection and thus open themselves up to the possibility of contracting STDs, including deadly viruses like HIV.
- Love addiction: Some clients prefer to feel emotionally attached to the partners they connect with. Often serially monogamist with little time spent in ensuring that the person will be a positive partner, the person craves the love and attention of the prospective partner before it is clear that there is any genuine connection.
- Porn addiction: Porn addiction may start small and be a relatively normal behavior among Americans, but when people find it impossible to engage one on one without the use of porn, compulsively engages in the use of porn to the detriment of their ability to engage in other activities, and/or begin to experience health issues as a result, it is an addiction that requires treatment.
- Gambling addiction: There are different levels of gambling that can indicate problem gambling and, ultimately, a gambling addiction. As indicated above, when it reaches the point of destroying the person’s financial status, career, and family, it is time to seek treatment.
- Shopping addiction: There is usually a “good” reason for the copious purchases made by someone who struggles with a shopping addiction: “It was a great deal I couldn’t pass up.” “We can use this later/on vacation/in this specific circumstance.” “So-and-so would love this.” “You can never have too many of these.” Unfortunately, the end result is usually totes, bags, and boxes of items with the tags left intact that are forgotten because the need is not necessarily the item but the feeling of acquiring something and filling a perceived hole in life.
- Video game addiction: As indicated above, addiction to playing video games is a growing problem, and one that can negatively impact the person’s ability to have functional relationships with others, remain employed, and to prioritize physical and mental health.
- Internet addiction: Just being connected and online can be compulsive and addictive for many people. Some check email compulsively, stock updates, breaking news, blog updates, and more, feeling as if they are missing out if they are not connected 24/7.
- Social media addiction: Similar to internet addiction, some people are compulsive in their use of social media. They may post even the minutest details of their life, spending hours taking pictures to post on Instagram, editing videos to upload to YouTube, updating their posts to Twitter and Facebook, and responding to others on those same social media forums. Unfortunately, it can mean that they do not make positive in-person connections and may ultimately reduce their options in life.
- Food addiction: As indicated above, the compulsive need to eat high-fat, high-sugar, or high-salt foods in large amounts when not hungry can be an addiction that leads to copious health problems especially related to obesity and mental health issues.
When Is It Time to Intervene and How? Because almost everyone engages in the behaviors listed above – social media use, shopping, etc. – it is not always easy to recognize when someone’s engagement with these behaviors reaches an addiction level and thus requires treatment. Though the signs of an addictive issue may vary depending upon the behavior at the focus of the addiction, it is time to get help for a behavioral addiction when:
- Practice of the behavior becomes an obsession.
- Practice of the behavior becomes frequent – daily and/or multiple times per day.
- The person chooses to engage in the behavior rather than work, spend time with family, or engage in other activities that were once enjoyed.
- Relationships are harmed by the person’s chronic engagement in the behavior.
- Other serious consequences result from an inability to stop the behavior (e.g., problems at work or maintaining a job, financial issues, health problems, legal issues, etc.).
What Are the Underlying Causes for Behavioral Addictions? Like a substance abuse and addiction, there is usually no single cause responsible for the development of the addiction disorder. Often, it is a combination of issues, including:
- Genetic predisposition to the development of an addiction disorder
- Living in or growing up in an environment that is permissive of the behavior
- Trauma that alters brain function
- Acute issues of stress that trigger the person to attempt to utilize the behavior as a coping mechanism
Are Addictive Behaviors Hereditary? In some cases, genetics and growing up in a home where other family members regularly engage in a certain behavior may contribute to a person’s development of a behavioral addiction. However, it is not guaranteed that because a sibling, parent, or other family member struggles with addiction that someone else in the family will have the same problem. Additionally, it is possible to develop an addiction disorder and have no known hereditary contribution to the issue.
What Therapies Are Used in Treating Behavioral Problems?
There is a range of therapies that can be useful in the treatment of behavioral addictions. These include:
- Personal therapy: Discussing the acute issues that may be triggering the urge to engage in the behavior during treatment while also discussing childhood and other past events that may have contributed to its development can empower the person to take responsibility for behaviors and institute new, healthier coping mechanisms.
- Family therapy: Often, relationships at home are negatively impacted by the person’s chronic engagement in the behavioral addiction. It can contribute to feelings of broken trust and resentment that must be addressed therapeutically if the family unit is to continue and thrive in recovery.
- Support groups: Connecting with others who also struggle with behavioral addictions, especially those who are in recovery for the same behavioral addiction, can help the person to feel less alone and increase the support network that is necessary for long-term healing.
- Alternative therapies: Sports and adventure therapies, nutritional therapy, animal-assisted therapy, journaling, and psychodrama – there is a number of holistic therapy options that may be beneficial to the person in developing new methods of self-exploration and paths for healing.
How Can a Family Help a Member with a Behavioral Issue? Family members can be instrumental in the person’s ability to accept that there is a need for change and understand that enrollment in an integrated treatment program can be a positive agent of that change. Additionally, the client’s loved ones can play an active role in that person’s recovery by attending family therapy sessions and going to support groups for family members to learn more about the disorder and what to expect during the first years of recovery at home. When family members are empowered to help their loved one in recovery, they can heal themselves and also help to heal the family as a whole, whether or not the client remains actively in treatment.
Are There Medications that Can Help Treat a Behavioral Addiction? In some cases, depending upon the specific nature of the behavioral addiction and the impact it has on the client as well as the nature of any mental health symptoms experienced and/or the diagnosis of a co-occurring mental health disorder including addiction, medication may be appropriate during some or all of the treatment process. However, this varies significantly from client to client, and medication is never the focus of treatment. Rather, it is used to assist in transitional periods of recovery that may be difficult, to address underlying chronic issues, and/or to help increase the client’s comfort level during the therapeutic process. Therapy, not medication, is almost always the primary focus in the treatment of behavioral addictions.<
What Kinds of Relapse Preventions Skills Exist for Behavioral Addictions? Avoiding relapse is a daily task, sometimes an active task that takes place minute by minute. Some of the ways that people can improve their ability to avoid relapse in recovery from a behavioral addiction include:
- Identifying the people, places, situations, feelings, and other events that can trigger the urge to engage in the behavior
- Determining how best to eliminate those triggers
- Creating an actionable plan to mitigate the impact of those triggers and deal with the urge to relapse that may occur
- Building a support system in recovery that includes people who genuinely support the client’s desire to avoid relapse and engage in more positive behaviors
- Learning how to return to recovery if a relapse should occur
What Support Groups Exist for Behavioral Addictions? For almost every type and style of behavioral addiction, there are both online and in-person support groups that range from informal meetings to formal therapy sessions that are designed to create a support base for people who would like to learn how to live without engaging in the behavioral addiction. For example, for people who live with food addiction, some support group options include Food Addicts Anonymous and Food Addicts in Recovery. Those who are addicted to gambling can find support in SMART Recovery’s 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 at Sex Addicts Anonymous groups.
Types of Addictions: How We Treat Them
An addiction to pornography or sex may have comical undertones for a number of people, but it is a very real problem for those affected; and one that can destroy their lives. In fact, the spouses of those with a diagnosed sex or pornography addiction often say it is the worst type of addiction one could have. They feel betrayed and devastated, and it can place an enormous strain on their relationship. Pornography addicts spend much of their time watching porn or thinking about it. As time goes by, they feel the need to watch more and more graphic images and material. Some pornography addicts find it difficult to enjoy sex with a partner, and it can have an adverse impact on many areas of their lives.
The above are just a few of the various types of addiction that people can be affected by. One thing they all have in common is the fact that they have harmful consequences for those affected. Addiction is an illness that can be treated with professional help. For substance addiction, it is generally necessary for the person to undergo a programme of detoxification. Recovering substance addicts will then need to abstain from this substance in order to maintain their recovery.
However, for those who are addicted to social media, the internet or who have an eating disorder, it is not possible to abstain from the thing to which they are addicted. They must, therefore, learn how to manage their addictive behaviour. Professional counsellors and therapists use a variety of treatments to help those with addiction overcome their illnesses. These include 12-step work, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, group therapy and alternative therapies.
The Big List Of Bad Habits
These are 173+ habits Pavlok will help you break:
- Picking Your Nose
- Smoking Cigarettes
- Biting Fingernails
- Drinking Coffee
- Drinking Tea
- Hair picking
- Watching Reality Television
- Eating Fast Food
- Alcohol (if you think you may be an alcoholic, please get professional help)
- Emotional Shopping
- Spending On Credit Cards
- Eating Candy
- Eating White Sugar
- Eating Chocolate
- Drinking Soda/Pop
- Obsessively Checking iPhone/iPad
- Eating Meat
- Video Games
- Cracking Your Knuckles
- Speaking With Your Mouth Full
- Talking To Yourself
- Using Slang
- Eating Dairy
- Eating Gluten
- Picking Your Teeth In Public
- Forgetting To Shave
- Going To The Club
Using Your Maiden Name
- Humming To Yourself
- Excessive Salt
- All Work And No Play
- Chewing Gum
- Smoking eCigarettes
- Biting Your Pen
- Nibbling While Cooking
- Hair Picking
- Skin Picking
- Not Holding Eye Contact
- Interrupting Someone
- Skipping The Gym
- Saying “Ummm” And “Ahhh”
- Porn Watching
- Staying Up Late
- Sleeping With Makeup
- Playing Kingdom Rush
- Eating Too Fast / Not Chewing
- Skipping Breakfast
- Not Protecting Yourself From The Sun
- Not Moisturizing
- Not Flossing
- Not Brushing Your Teeth
- Using Your Phone In Bed
- Negative Self Talk / Self Criticism
- Saying “Yes” To Everything
- Day Dreaming
- Using Devices At Night
- Spending Too Much Time Online
- Breaking Promises To Yourself
- Checking Your Hair / Eyebrows / Makeup / Nails
- Watching T.V Right After Work
- Repeating Yourself
- Forgetting What You’ve Told Someone
- Forgetting Names Of People You Meet
- Giving Away “Tells” In Poker
- Falling Asleep In Class
- Slouching At The Computer
- Slouching While Walking
- Eating Past 8 P.M
- Letting Fear Stop You From Trying Something New
- Telling Secrets
- Talking In Class
- Gaming In Class
- Online Surfing In Class
- Losing Focus
- Sitting Too Close To The T.V
- Eating Cookies Every Damn Day
- Arranging Instead of Cleaning
- Picking Fights
- Being Unfriendly
- Leaving Your Wallet / Keys In Random Places
- Skipping Class
- Skipping Work
- Not Doing Your Homework
- Drinking Energy Drinks
- Pinching Pennies
- Licking Your Lips
- Drinking From The Carton
- Leaving The Fridge Open
- Leaving The Heat On When You Go Out
- Skipping Meals
- Not Showering
- Yelling At Your BF/GF
- Talking About Your Sister Behind Her Back
- Picking Scabs
- Popping Zits
- Losing Your Temper
- Annoying People On Purpose
- Being Overly Critical
- Being Argumentative
- Putting Dishes In Sink And Not Washing Them
- Biting Your Lips
- Scratching An Itch
- Being An Attention Hog
- Opening Countless Tabs
- Trolling Comments
- Watching Seinfeld Reruns
- Binge Watching Netflix
- Emotional Eating
- Fiddling With Your Hair
- Poor Hygiene
- Fiddling With Keys
- Cheek Biting
- Chewing On Your Hair
- Pocari Sweat From Japan (seriously, if you drink this for 2 or 3 days your body will crave it instead of water)
- Hair Pulling
- Scratching / Itching
- Biting Your Disgusting Toe Nails
- Eating When You Are Bored
- Being A Know-It-All
- Chewing Tobacco
- Chewing With Mouth Open
- Being Late
- Excessive Throat Clearing
- Flaking Out
- Grinding Your Teeth
- Kissing & Telling
- Littering (really, stop littering)
- Monopolizing A Conversation
- Name Dropping
- Pencil Chewing
- Popping Gum
- Talking During Movies
- Tapping Fingers/Pens/Etc.
- Thumb Sucking
- Borrowing And Not Returning Items
- Bullying People
- Finishing People’s Sentences
- Leaving The Toilet Seat Up
- Licking Your Fingers
P.S: Pavlok will never judge you. Some habits are objectively bad, e.g., smoking kills you. Other habits like “sleeping in” depend on context, like if it’s making you late for work. And still other habits aren’t really either good or bad, it’s just personal preference. Also, if you have a condition that puts you or anyone at risk of serious harm you must see a medical professional immediately and you can ask your doctor if Pavlok is right for you.
283 Bad Habits (The ULTIMATE List of Bad Habits)
Bad Habits You Can’t Fix Alone
272. Compulsive lying
274. Physical abuse
275. Mental abuse
277. Violent behavior
278. Cheating on spouse
279. Excessive/uncontrollable alcohol use
281. Smoking (if habit is really bad)
282. Being aggressive toward others (fights, abuse)
How Do You Break These Bad Habits?
The first step in changing any bad habit is finding the precise habit you want to change and then truly focusing on making this change. So by just reading this list and deciding which of these habits you exhibit, you have taken that important first step.
Once you are ready to make a change, it is time to start planning the specifics of how, when, where, and what exactly you are going to change.
Rather than reinventing the wheel and adding to an already long post, let me guide you to another post: the ultimate guide to breaking bad habits. This guide is an incredibly detailed review of exactly how to get rid of any bad habit. It details 27 steps you can use to overcome any bad habit.
This guide is very detailed. It covers the ins and out of breaking bad habits. If you are looking for something that is a bit more “quick start,” then this shorter guide to creating new habits to replace your old bad habits may be what you are looking for. I still recommend the longer guide, but this shorter one may be more to the point if you have an easy bad habit to deal with.
There is also one last article that may interest you: a list of 203 good habits you can build.
Lastly, if you’re struggling with poor health habits, then I suggest drinking this superfood green drink each morning.
A habit takes up a space in your life. When it is gone, there is an absence. It is recommended to try to replace bad habits with good ones. This helps to fill the gap caused by you no longer indulging in the bad habit. This is like replacing smoking with chewing sugar-free gum. It gives the mouth and mind something to do.
If you are trying to get rid of a bad habit, I would seriously think about replacing it with a good one. It not only helps you beat the bad habit, but it also adds some positivity into the equation by adding something that can really help you into your daily routine.
Thanks for taking your time to read this list of bad habits. We all do things we wish we didn’t, so don’t get down on yourself if you see a few habits on this bad habits list that feel familiar.
The important thing is that you recognize your bad habits and slowly work to change these actions into something positive.
Doing this will slowly transform your life—one habit at a time.
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Bad habits and addictions
Maybe it started out as fun, or you thought you could stop any time. But now you’re hooked. That’s when a bad habit turns into an addiction. And maybe you’re getting into trouble as well, or making yourself ill.
If someone close to you has an addiction, the chances are it affects you too. Anything from being a bit worried about them to completely stressed out or depressed, forced to leave home or endure abuse or neglect at home if you stay. That’s a bit extreme, so better to deal with bad habits before they turn to addictions. For everyone’s sake, because if they can make your life hell, you might be doing the same to them if you’re the addict.
There is help to beat a bad habit or addiction, and people who have had the same problem to support you, whether it is
- drugs or substance abuse
- an eating disorder
- being a bully
- criminal behaviour
- belonging to a gang
Click on them to see what GTRT has to say on each.
Addictiontoday has information and details of help and support for all kinds of addictions.
If it isn’t anything like that but you still can’t stop a habit, you may have an obsessive compulsive disorder which needs help through your doctor. Learn more about what it is from NHS Choices and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. If you are diagnosed with it, there are organisations specifically to help sufferers and their families. Checkout OCD-UK and OCD Action.