What is an Addictive Disorder?

Addictive disorders refer to a group of disorders that involve excessive use of certain substances or excessive indulgence in a particular habit or process. At the mention of addiction, alcohol, and drugs such as cocaine or opioids readily come to mind. However, addictive disorders are not limited to drug use. One may have an addictive disorder involving habits such as gambling, sex, gaming, etc.

The affected individuals crave the substance or habit to the extent that they are willing to go to unreasonable lengths in order to fulfill the craving. They further lose the ability to choose whether to continue or stop the behavior even while experiencing adverse effects that are related to the addictive behavior. It is estimated that about 47% of the U.S population suffer from the maladaptive signs of an addictive disorder. Below is a list of potentially addictive substances or processes:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Illicit drugs
  • Prescription drugs
  • Eating
  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Internet
  • Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Work

How do you know you have an addictive disorder?

An addictive disorder is a mental health issue and it requires a mental health specialist to diagnose. Due to the diverse nature of addictive disorders, there are specific criteria for diagnosing each addiction. People also experience different symptoms, depending on the specific disorder but you should watch out for the following warning signs:

  • Losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Getting high or getting intoxicated at an alarming frequency
  • Talking about quitting or planning to quit but never actually quitting
  • Breaking the law in order to satisfy your craving
  • Missing school or work in order to satisfy the craving
  • Lying about how much drugs you’re using or booze you’re taking
  • Borrowing in order to satisfy the craving

What should you do if you have an addictive disorder?

You need help from a specialist if you have an addictive disorder. Do not hesitate to seek help if you exhibit any of the signs described above. Overcoming an addictive disorder is never about willpower alone. Your specialist would help you set the right goals and keep you accountable to ensure you’re meeting them. You might also need help managing the withdrawal symptoms that may arise from quitting. There is help and hope available.