Kinds of Addictions
DRUGS / CHEMICAL
Generally we hear more about drug addiction as compared to any other form of addiction. The term drugs seem to be more commonly referred to as illegal or controlled items, but prescribed medication are also considered as drugs and some of them are addictive as well. Drugs include opiates (heroine, painkillers), benzodiazepines (clonazepam), alcohol, nicotine and caffeine (some people need that morning coffee in order to better function).
Gambling is another form of addiction as it is a highly thrill seeking activity. There is a ‘high’ and a ‘rush’ experience when someone is on a winning streak then there is the ‘high’ when chasing the loses one experiences while loosing. Both experiences, winning or loosing, activates the pleasure circuitry in the brain and there is a gush of dopamine causing the rewards system to fire up. Similar to any other addiction, once it takes over, or as we say hijacks the brain, cognitions are distorted and people become irrational.
Sex addiction is another form of impulse control disorder where people are actually addicted to the physical aspects of actually having sex. They seem to be addicted to the feeling experienced as a “high” especially before, during and after the orgasm. Sex addiction leads to other problems as well such as STDs, unwanted pregnancies, relationship complications etc.
Another form of impulse control disorder, food addicts seem to just need to eat, binge eat or starve. Similar to other form of addictions, once the brain is hijacked by the addiction and cognitions are no longer rational, these individuals who are addicted to eating, loose their perception of reality. Very often they are unable to see the extent of damage the eating disorder has caused their body and there are cases of people actually dieing from an eating disorder.
Emotions, particularly love, seem to have a similar impact on the reward system once it is repeated often enough. Love addiction, explained as addiction to emotional intimacy does affect some groups of people. The high experienced while being in love becomes a need after a while and they constantly look for means to be in love similar to how substance addicts search for their drug of choice.
OTHER IMPULSE CONTROL DISORDERS AND ADDICTIONS
Drugs or behaviors which are addictive, become a need for some people once they have tried them repeatedly. They provide a shortcut to brains rewards circuitry simply by flooding the nucleus accumbens with the dopamine whenever the behavour or drug is used. Memories of this high and sensational experience of satisfaction is recorded in the hippocampus. At the same time, the amygdala creates a conditioned response to the certain stimuli.