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the different types of addiction

The Different Types of Addiction

Addiction is a disease that can hit anyone, at any time. Some people are more vulnerable to it than others, but it doesn’t discriminate! There are many different ways people can become addicted. Common addictions include alcohol and drugs, but it’s much more complex than that.

Some don’t struggle with substances at all, but instead with behaviours and compulsions. While the symptoms and consequences of these different addictions vary, both are equally serious, debilitating, and hard to break free from.

Read on to learn more about the two main types of addiction, how to see them coming, and what treatments are most effective.

Substance Addiction

Substance addiction, also known as substance use disorder or SUD is when an individual falls into a pattern of using a substance that causes various problems and distress. Once you fall victim to this pattern, it’s extremely hard to break it, and sometimes impossible on your own.

Substance Abuse Causes:

While it’s such a complex and nuanced thing, there are a few common things that tend to cause and/or contribute to substance abuse and addiction:

  • Genetic predisposition/vulnerability
  • Social pressures
  • Environmental and circumstantial stressors
  • Mental illness
  • Personality characteristics

For example, one might turn to alcohol or another substance that provides euphoric feelings and pleasurable “highs” to escape various pressures, negative emotions, or other painful circumstances. It’ll provide a temporary relief, which will make them want to go back for more. It’s this cycle that often leads to dependence and addiction.

Substance Abuse Symptoms:

Like the potential causes, everyone may experience symptoms a little differently, however, certain signs are pretty good indicators that an addiction is either brewing or has already taken over.

You can pay attention to these things in yourself if you’re worried you’ve lost control, or if you’re concerned about a loved one:

  • Using/drinking larger amounts of the substance than planned, and over long periods
  • Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance, but can’t seem to do so
  • Spending lots of time not only consuming the substance but getting it and recovering from it
  • The use of the substance has started to interfere with work, family, social life, etc.
  • Continuing to use the substance even when serious issues start to arise because of it
  • Giving up on, or reducing time spent on hobbies and other enjoyable activities
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance
  • Taking risks and engaging in dangerous behaviour when under the influence
  • Common physical signs of substance addiction can include rapid or sudden weight loss/gain, red eyes, fatigue, abnormal heart rate or blood pressure, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and lack of hygiene

substance abuse symptoms

Treating Substance Abuse

The treatment for a substance abuse disorder will vary greatly and there are many factors. In terms of treatment programs, you can choose between inpatient and outpatient. There are pros and cons to both, but inpatient will always be more intensive and is often the recommendation.

Especially if you need to detox, it’s often safer to do so with a medical team at your disposal should you need care or attention.

At Lily Recovery, we offer a wide range of treatments to our clients. This ensures you get the treatment that’s exactly right for you! You may experience all or some of the following methods and techniques:

  • Private therapy sessions. Our team of therapists and counselors are trained in multiple methods of therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and more.
  • Group therapy. Discussions as a group have been proven effective in the treatment of substance addiction and you’ll have many of these sessions throughout your stay.
  • Holistic therapy. We also offer various holistic activities and therapies such as yoga, meditation, journaling, and more to help heal your mind, body, and spirit.

Process and Behavioural Addiction

Process addiction, also known as behavioural addiction, is similar to a substance abuse disorder in some ways, but very different in others. Instead of becoming addicted to a substance like alcohol or drugs, the addiction is to a behaviour. Like substances, these behaviours provide dopamine, temporary feelings of happiness, escape, release, etc.

Some of the most common behavioural addictions include:

  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Video games
  • Sex
  • Porn
  • And more

For the most part, these actions and behaviours are not bad or harmful when practiced in moderation and/or in a healthy way. This is one area process addictions differ from substance addictions because complete abstinence is not always possible. This can change the trajectory of treatment.

Signs and Causes of Process Addictions

This is where behavioural addictions are similar to substance addictions – people often use these behaviours excessively as a way to escape something painful or fill a void. The more you do these things, though, the less of a “high” it’s going to give you. This means you must do it more and more to get the same feeling – which is exactly how dependence forms.

Some signs of a process or behavioural addiction include:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time not only engaging in the behaviour but craving it and thinking about it
  • Spending far more money than is reasonable on the behaviour
  • Using the behaviour as a way to escape negative emotions
  • Experiencing withdrawal when not engaging in the behaviour – primarily forms of mental distress when it comes to process addictions

Treating Process Addiction

Treatment strategies for behavioural addictions are similar to substance addictions as they function mostly the same way. However, the approach can’t be exactly the same since they do affect people differently.

One of the most common and effective treatments is cognitive behavioural therapy. This is so effective because process addictions are a behavioural issue, and CBT dives deep into behaviour, where it comes from, triggers, etc.

More effective methods include things like our holistic, mindful options such as yoga, journaling, etc. These things help relieve anxiety and mental distress, which are going to be side effects of “detoxing” from your addictive beheviour.

treating process addiction

Heal From All Addictions

Addiction is a tragic disease that affects millions the world over. There are certainly some addiction categories that are more common than others, but that doesn’t mean any are less valid. Whether it’s a substance or behaviour, whether legal or illegal, all addictions are serious and debilitating. Fortunately, this also means that there is treatment available for all addictions.

At Lily Recovery, you’ll find support, help, treatment, and healing no matter what you’re struggling with. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time with questions, or concerns, or to ask for guidance!