If you drink large quantities of alcohol regularly, you run the risk of becoming alcohol dependent. This means you could develop an addiction to alcohol and find it hard to live day to day without having a drink. You might find yourself drinking more and more alcohol, and planning your life around ways to find the next drink.
Feeling a compulsive need to drink and being unable to stop drinking when you start are also signs of alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence often isn’t down to just one cause, but can be the result of a number of different factors. A predisposition towards alcohol can be inherited, or it might be shaped by family attitudes towards drinking.
Some occupations, such as high pressure sales jobs, are associated with social drinking, which may increase the risk of dependence. People living through stressful events, like a death in the family, may find they start to drink more heavily
Co-dependency is a learned behaviour that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioural condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
Co-dependent behaviour is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behaviour. Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence.
Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.
Drug addiction is a dependence on an illegal drug or a medication. When you're addicted, you may not be able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. You may want to quit, but most people find they can't do it on their own.
For many people, what starts as casual use leads to drug addiction. Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment and the law. Commonly abused substances include:
Heroin, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Methylphenidate, barbiturates, benzodiazepines LSD, mushrooms, marijuana (cannabis) and hashish.
Compulsive overeating, also referred to as food addiction, is characterised by an obsessive/compulsive relationship to food. An individual suffering from compulsive overeating disorder engages in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating, or binge eating, during which they may feel out of control, often consuming food past the point of being comfortably full. Binging in this way is generally followed by feelings of guilt and depression.
Unlike individuals with bulimia, compulsive overeaters do not attempt to compensate for their binging with purging behaviours such as fasting, laxative use or vomiting. Compulsive overeaters will typically eat when they are not hungry. Their obsession is demonstrated by the excessive amounts of time devoted to thinking about food, and secretly plan or fantasises about eating alone.
Compulsive overeating usually leads to weight gain and obesity, but not everyone who is obese is a compulsive overeater. Compulsive overeaters are likely to be overweight and often obese. If not treated, it can lead to serious medical conditions. High cholesterol, diabetes, disease, hypertension, sleep apnoea, and depression are some of the effects of overeating.
People who are addicted to gambling addiction are generally impulsive and react to their impulses and have difficulty controlling the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting them and the people they are closest to. Regardless of the consequences, gamblers will be consumed by gambling.
Compulsive gamblers will continue to gamble whether they are happy or depressed. People with this addiction can’t control their need to gamble. Their need to gamble overrides everything else, even the prospect of losing relationships and financial security.
Even though compulsive gambling can often leave a person feeling very stressed, and depressed, these feeling can a greater need to gamble. Finding other ways to deal with these feelings without gambling is an important aspect in supporting gamblers. Without this, gamblers may resort to the same behaviours even after gambling is no longer a part of your life.
Internet addiction, internet addiction disorder, compulsive internet use, computer addiction, internet dependence and problematic internet use - all of these are essentially terms that have been applied to those that spend excessive amounts of time online at the expense of and to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. The obsessive behaviour takes the form of particular activities, and might include any or all of the following:
- Relationships: spending excessive amounts of time starting and maintaining online friendships in
- Chat rooms, which replace real-life friends and family.
- Money: compulsively gambling online, trading online, and partaking in online auctions.
- Information searching: compulsive web surfing or database searches.
- Gaming: obsessive computer game playing, including multi-user games.
- Sex: addiction to adult chat rooms, cybersex or pornography on the Internet.
Hypersexuality, or sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterised by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members’ increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict usually has to intensify the addictive behaviour to achieve the same results.
For some people, their addiction may not go beyond compulsive masturbation or the extensive use of pornography or other sexual addictions; while others may take their addiction to greater extremes and become involved with illegal activities. This may include things such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls and even child molestation or rape. It is important to note that sex addicts do not necessarily become sex offenders and vice versa.
In order to understand why smoking is so difficult to stop, it is worth understanding the mechanisms that keep you addicted to smoking. Addiction is a behaviour over which an individual has impaired control (RCP 2000). This can be a physical, psychological and social dependence to a substance.
Although cigarettes are full of different harmful substances (Tar, Carbon Monoxide etc), nicotine, which is not harmful, is the one that is addictive. Nicotine addiction is now recognised as a disease and was determined to be more addictive than heroin or cocaine.
The nicotine acts on receptors in the brain and, when in contact with these receptors, cause a response to the 'feel good' hormones in the body. It is this release of Dopamine in the brain that encourages the smoker to repeat the action. This positive reward for the behaviour is recognised due to the speed the nicotine gets to the brain (7 seconds), when delivered by the very efficient cigarette.
Every time the smoker draws on the cigarette and inhales the smoke, the brain can easily associate the action with the reward. Once levels of nicotine in the blood stream drop, the receptors in the brain start to crave more. This withdrawal from the substance is the reason smokers are unable to easily give up.
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Disclaimer: Counselling or Psychotherapy Treatments are not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other health care professional. Always check with your doctor if you have any concerns about your condition or treatment. Clients are responsible for assessing the outcome of their treatment and are advised to refer to NICE guidelines for further information.