Types of Addiction

What Are the Different Types of Addiction?

Addiction can be either behavioral or substance related. An intense feeling of emotional need or physical craving characterizes them both. Both types of addiction carry a number of other similarities, but behavioral addiction does not possess the same physical symptoms that accompany drug addiction. Experts disagree on the similarities and differences between the symptoms and consequences of the types of addictions.

Drug Addiction

Drugs are addictive substances that change the way the body — the brain in particular — handles communication and processes information. Long-term drug use causes physical changes in the brain that lead to a substance use disorder. Different drugs affect the body differently.

Stimulants, such as tobacco, cocaine or prescription amphetamines, stimulate the brain and nervous system, causing increased alertness. Depressants, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, slow activity in the brain and nervous system, causing relaxation. Hallucinogens, such as LSD and PCP, drastically disrupt the way the brain and nervous system communicate, causing hallucinations.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is often referred to as alcoholism or an alcohol use disorder. It’s one of the most common addictions in the United States, with an estimated 16.6 million suffering from the disease. Alcohol addiction occurs when regular, excess drinking causes harm or distress.