Types of addiction and how they are treated

Addiction is a broad clinical diagnosis for habit-like behaviours and actions. Whilst most people will associate drugs or alcohol with addiction, there are various types of addiction diagnoses.

From food and sex to gambling, prescription drugs and exercise, addictive stimuli are everywhere. Stimuli are usually everyday experiences, feelings, objects, and activities, showing how difficult addiction can be to live with.

As many diagnoses are seen as obscure or taken less seriously than common problems, it’s important that we do consider the wide range of physical and behavioural addictions. Here’s some insight into common types of addiction and how they are treated, including substance abuse and compulsive behaviours.

Whether you’re worried about the behaviours of a loved one or recognise the early signs of substance abuse in yourself, at Step One Recovery, we’re here to support you. Guidance and treatment can be sourced here, to work through all types of addiction.


What Are Physical Addictions?

Physical addictions, also known as chemical addictions, are linked to alcohol or drugs. Grouped into various addictive substances, physical addictions represent the likes of cocaine abuse, alcohol addiction and prescription drug abuse.

This type of addiction is fuelled by the consumption of drugs and alcohol, entering, and controlling the human body. Due to stimulating, hallucinogenic or sedative effects, both the body and brain can become accustomed to the physical action of consumption.

Signs and symptoms of physical types of addiction include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased tolerances to alcohol or drugs
  • Physical symptoms of ill-health, hangover-like symptoms, and poor hygiene
  • A lack of control
  • Mental health issues
  • The inability to stop consumption
  • Prioritising drug or alcohol consumption over other responsibilities
  • Ongoing consumption even through consequences
  • Withdrawing from everyday life and having trouble through day-to-day tasks
  • Intense cravings

Driven by increased tolerances, intense cravings and an overactive reward system, once physical and psychological changes take place, it can be very difficult to withdraw from addictive substances.

Here’s how by considering the types of addiction and how they are treated, focusing on drug and alcohol withdrawal.


Treatment For Physical Addictions

Treating a physical addiction will involve various addiction treatments and therapies. As drugs and alcohol disrupt usual functionality, imbalance chemicals and interfere with vital systems, detoxification and rehabilitation will need to be worked through.

Detoxing will kickstart the treatment for physical addictions. Removing drugs or alcohol from the body through a safe process will be aimed for, to promote withdrawal. Detoxification will work through the cause of addiction, whilst rehabilitation will treat the effects.

Rehabilitation will include a range of treatment options, focusing on psychological recovery. Residential treatment, therapy sessions, support groups, relapse prevention and lifestyle management are all recommended.

At Step One Recovery, we form tailored treatment programmes to work through specific behaviours and fixations.


What Are Behavioural Addictions?

Behavioural addictions are driven by pleasure, positive feelings, and happiness. They surround certain actions which over time become addictive, due to the emotions and reinforcements that they cause.

Addictive behaviours are motivated by everyday actions. Anything from sex, work, the internet, shopping, gambling, and food can be addictive, due to the feelings that they produce. Engaging with such addictive stimuli is likely through day-to-day life. Once paired with a cause, such as poor mental health, a behavioural addiction can easily develop.

Types of addiction that surround specific behaviours are again aggravated by the internal reward system. Once an action feels good, the body and brain will crave such feelings, flooding the internal systems with dopamine and further happy chemicals. Over time, greater levels of pleasure will be longed for, motivating repeat behaviour. Habits can form very easily once this association is made, causing a disruptive behavioural addiction.

Signs and symptoms of behavioural types of addiction include:

  • Poor mental health
  • Uncontrollable emotions, due to the highs and lows of such behaviours
  • Engaging in such actions on a consistent basis
  • Urges to eat, scroll social media or work, even where consequences lie
  • Feeling pleasure through unhealthy habits and patterns
  • Changes to personality, attitude, motivations, and commitments
  • Relationship problems
  • Prioritising specific behaviours and actions
  • Inability to stop certain behaviours

There are various types of addiction that are linked to everyday behaviours. They include sex addiction, shopping addiction, internet addiction, video game addiction, food addiction, and gambling addiction. Here’s how they are treated here at Step One Recovery.


Treatment For Behavioural Addictions

Tailored treatment programmes are also offered when treating behavioural types of addiction. Our treatments and therapies focus on breaking habits, realigning the body and mind, and promoting healthy behaviours.

Residential treatment is effective whilst recovering from a behavioural addiction. Similar to drug detox, withdrawing from addictive stimuli will be important. For example, removing all access to the internet and the feelings that it promotes.

From here, therapy is recommended, mostly underpinned by cognitive behavioural therapy. Helping to process emotions and thoughts, CBT is a treatment option that helps clients understand their habits and unhealthy nature. It also works to adapt outlooks, seek out positivity from healthy sources, and promotes some proactive coping tools.

As behavioural addictions impact the ability to function through normalised tasks, further treatments including exposure therapy, group therapy, self-help, lifestyle management and relapse prevention will be encouraged.

Learning to control responses, behaviours and patterns is likely through effective addiction treatment sessions.


Addiction As A Relapsing Disorder

All types of addiction can relapse. Whether influenced by drug and alcohol exposure or triggered by a certain activity, habits and urges can return.

An addiction is a complicated disorder, no matter how common or uncommon addictive stimuli may be. Due to this, addiction must be treated, must be recovered from, and must be understood, in order to lead a fulfilled life.

Here at Step One Recovery, we’re here to help you reach such fulfilment, by working through a tailored, comprehensive rehab programme. Reach out to complete an admission into one of our leading treatment centres, equipped to treat various types of addiction.

For more information on different types of addiction and how they are treated, we’re here to offer confidential insight and advice. The most normal or obscure substance or activity can become addictive. Remember this if you are experiencing habit-like consumption rates or behaviours.