Addiction – what does it mean ?
Addiction comes in many forms, alcohol and drug addiction being the most well-known. Alcohol and drug addiction are defined as the loss of control over the use of a substance. There are other ways of acting out in addiction that can be just as harmful to the person. Gambling, sex addiction, food addiction and other addictive behaviours are the equivalent of drug and alcohol addiction as they too result in a loss of control and powerlessness as well as loss of family support, financial insecurity, legal problems and health problems. These consequences, when they do occur, are very real and devastating to the addict and their families.
Alcoholism is characterised by compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcohol, binge drinking, blackouts and irresponsible behaviour when under the influence. Missing work, school or important occasions, social withdrawal and isolation are all symptoms of alcoholism.
Drug addiction is the compulsive use of a chemical substance despite the negative effects, health risks, loss of social standing, financial risks, risky behaviour, which may lead to an active engagement in criminal activities to support a drug habit. This may be followed by arrests and confinement in prison or institutions, loss of family and friends, social withdrawal and isolation. Commonly used drugs are heroin, cocaine, marijuana, crack cocaine, CAT, crystal methamphetamine or tik, prescription medication, GHB, ecstasy and LSD.
The term “sexual addiction” is used to describe the behaviour of a person who has an unusually intense sex drive or an obsession with sex. Sex and the thought of sex tend to dominate the sex addict’s thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships.
Sex addicts engage in distorted thinking, often rationalising and justifying their behaviour and blaming others for problems. They generally deny they have a problem and make excuses for their actions.
Sex addiction is also associated with risk-taking. A person with an addiction to sex, engages in various forms of sexual activity, despite the potential for negative and/or dangerous consequences. In addition to damaging the addicts relationships and interfering with his or her work and social life, a sexual addiction also puts the person at risk for emotional and physical injury.
Addictive Gambling is as destructive if not more so then any drug or alcohol addiction. Compulsive gamblers lie, steal and wreak havoc with their finances in order to get there “fix”. Unable to control themselves, they will gamble their life savings away and in the process, put tremendous strain on their relationships with friends and families. The next big win is always only one bet away and sadly never comes. There is no such thing as a big enough win for the addicted gambler to stop. Unfortunately this addiction does often not receive the attention it deserves and many gamblers may resort to suicide as the only way out of their addiction.
Food addiction is a contemporary term used to describe a pathological disorder; the compulsive, excessive craving for and consumption of food. This condition is not only manifested by the abnormal intake of food, but the intake and craving for foods that are, in themselves, harmful to the individual. While society and the medical profession have readily understood alcoholism and drug abuse, it is only in recent years that there is an equal acceptance of the fact that persons may be addicted to food in the same way. When any substance is taken into the body regardless of its potential for harm or in excess of need, that substance is said to be abused. Individuals who abuse substances in such a way are addicts; these persons become physiologically and mentally dependent upon certain substances, in this case food.
If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment. Crossroads rehabilitation centres offer many options for recovery, including an outpatient programme. Contact us for advice on how to best proceed with your recovery. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best possible care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s only a phone call away.
Stories of Recovery
- The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.Oliver VGRead more
- On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.Johan BRead more
- I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!Carla SRead more
- "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."Angelique JRead more