It has been recently estimated that nearly one third of all adults in the UK have taken an illegal drug at one time or another. This usage pattern is indicative of a huge drug use epidemic in our towns and cities, with addiction rate set to rise in the coming years. Concurrently, petty crime rates have also risen, which means that drug use and drug addiction alone are creating a huge problem in our communities.
Of course, when we talk of addiction, we normally associate it with an addiction to a substance, such as an illegal drug like cocaine or heroin. The truth of the matter is that addictions don’t just involve substance abuse. One can become addicted to any substance, or indeed any behaviour. Psychologically, an addiction is considered a maladaptive behaviour that has not only a huge negative impact on the individual, but also on their friends and family.
Types of Addictions
There are a huge number of addictions. Indeed, one can become physically or psychologically addicted to practically anything, but the ones that most people know about fall into the following areas:
- Drug addiction: Becoming addicted to Cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and pain medication such as opioids is very common. Certainly, it is typical for us to think only of illegal substances when we think of drug addiction, but many people also experience addictions to commonly available strong painkillers that are based on opiates, such as Morphine, Oxycodone, and Pethidine.
- Alcohol: Though many people dismiss it as such, alcohol is a toxic drug that can cause death when ingested in huge quantities. Perceived as socially acceptable, alcohol is a huge cause of health problems, domestic violence, and maladaptive addiction behaviours at all socioeconomic levels throughout communities.
- Gaming: A gaming addiction is often seen in terms of an addiction to gambling, but there is a growing and disturbing trend of people becoming addicted to computer-based games and online games. Certainly in the case of gambling, there are huge financial losses, but like all addictions, the results are social isolation, time away from family, friends, and wider society, and an obsessive behaviour that interferes with all parts of one’s life.
Decades of campaigns that effectively portray addicted people as disturbed individuals with an obsession that must be harshly curbed have not worked. More truthful is to see all addictive behaviours as an illness with common root causes.
In fact, new evidence is coming to light that considers that one of the key causes of addiction is the fact that many addicts are simply trapped in a prison of their own belief systems and emotions. They may feel unloved, undervalued, and effectively worthless. This psychological prison is the root driver of addictions in these cases, and it is only through the love of family and friends, and a complete change in circumstances leading to these negative belief patterns, that one can treat the maladaptive behaviour.
There are also a range of high-quality addiction clinics that understand the root causes of addictive behaviour of all types, and can put in place effective programs to treat the addiction. If you suffer from an addiction, or know someone who does, it may be time to seek professional clinical help.