Addiction is compulsive, patterned use of a substance or activity that persists despite adverse consequences. The term “addiction” is often used interchangeably with the terms “compulsive behavior” and “dependent behavior.” Chemical and behavioral addictions are two different types of addictions.
Chemical addiction is the repeated, chronic use of a substance known to cause harm that alters brain structure and function. Addiction is a state characterized by craving and compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. This pattern is usually related to substance abuse or psychological dependence.
Some of the common chemical addictive substances are:
Abuse of these chemical substances can lead to serious health problems. The common symptoms and signs of chemical substance disorder include:
- If the drug is difficult to get, you may feel uneasy or uncomfortable
- Intense cravings that interfere with your capacity to think clearly
- A requirement for more of the drug to provide similar effects
- Signs of withdrawal while attempting to stop
- Dangerous drug usage, such as consuming it while driving or working
- An inability to give up using the drug
- Challenges in relationships or friendships caused by substance abuse
- Drug usage causes problems in managing job, school, or domestic duties
- Putting off pursuits you once found enjoyable
Behavioral addictions are characterized by obsessive and uncontrollable thoughts, urges, and behaviors. These compulsive patterns typically lead to significant personal distress or negative consequences in relationships and work. Following are some of the common behavioral addictions:
- Exercise addiction
- Gambling addiction
- Sex addiction
- Internet addiction
- Shopping addiction
- Food addiction
- TV addiction
While symptoms of behavioral addictions are less evident than chemical addictions, individuals with these disorders have profound feelings of loss of control. The common symptoms and signs include:
- Keeping the activity hidden and lying to others about engaging in it
- Impulses to indulge in the habit despite how it may negatively impact relationships, everyday obligations, or daily lives
- Spending a lot of time performing the action
- Use the action to control undesirable feelings
- Having trouble stopping the behavior
- Being motivated to carry on with the activity despite how distressing it is
- Restlessness, irritation, anxiety, melancholy, and other withdrawal symptoms once you try quitting
Treatments for Chemical use Disorder
Patients with chemical use disorder can overcome the situation by seeking drug addiction help. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the crucial steps to recovery from chemical addiction. This will minimize discomfort and cravings.
Cravings are a determining point in whether you stay sober or relapse. Medications such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are the primary medications used to treat patients with substance use disorder. Following supervised detoxification, your doctor may recommend other forms of treatment.
After the detoxification period, some form of psychotherapy is needed. This process involves restoring everyday thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to prevent a re-occurrence of the problem. The therapy will differ depending on the addiction type and severity of the situation. For example:
- Individual therapy-it includes a one-on-one session between you and an expert therapist who helps you discover triggers that may lead to future use. Your relationship with your therapist is vital because it brings you closer to a healthy life.
- Group therapy- you meet with a group of people going through similar situations. You will learn self-control, how to deal with cravings, and how to cope when you feel stressed or sad. By sharing your experience with the other participants, you will find the strength to overcome addiction.
- Family therapy- the specially trained therapists help your family understand addiction and its effect on them. They will devise a plan to benefit each family member and how they should react when an instance occurs.
- Exercise therapy-this treatment allows you to exercise in a group setting so that you can take control of your addiction.
Residential treatment involves living away from home while getting treatment. The residential treatment process is quite similar to outpatient programs, but it requires more intense efforts to achieve recovery.
You will live in the rehab center and carry out daily activities alongside the counselors and other participants. Although you have freedom, you may have to adhere to specific rules and regulations while residing in the center.
One should start with intensive therapy before moving on to independent living after a specified period. This can help prevent relapse because experts constantly guide you during this period.
Treatments and Therapies for Behavioral Addiction
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can treat behavioral addictions, which helps the patient understand the behavior, challenge their thoughts and develop more constructive habits. This therapy eliminates negative thought patterns that lead to addictive behaviors and controls destructive urges.
Chemical use and behavioral disorders are a growing epidemic worldwide. Identifying the problem and seeking help are vital to reversing this negative trend. Treatment can be an effective way to break the cycle of addiction and avoid severe life-threatening consequences.
Many people struggle with these issues but overcoming them takes time, effort, and commitment. However, in the end, you will be proud of yourself, and your loved ones will appreciate your efforts in achieving sobriety.