How things like sex, gambling and food can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol

25.04.2017 - Addiction, Articles, Mental health

Traditionally, many people think of addiction as a problem that is associated with the consumption of substances such as alcohol, nicotine or illicit drugs. In fact, experts are today aware that individuals can also develop harmful addictions to certain types of behaviour, including sex, gambling, internet-usage, work or overeating. This may sound like a strange concept, but the feelings of guilt and shame that this can lead to are very real.

A recent article in Medical News Today went as far as to suggest that it may be possible to become addicted to ‘virtually anything’, including seemingly harmless products such as chocolate.  Whilst it is true that addiction is often directly linked to substance dependency, it is also often characterised by psychological dependency. This can occur when behavioural processes – for example gambling or issues with food – may trigger changes in our brain that are similar to those caused by psychoactive drugs.

Many of the world’s leading psychiatric experts and health care professionals therefore consider psychological dependency to be a challenge that is equal to, or even greater than, physical dependency. The two are often interlinked and may be rooted in deeper issues, such as emotional, genetic or lifestyle factors.  Dean Gustar, Head of Clinical Operations at The Kusnacht Practice, commented: “Addiction can manifest itself in many different ways, which is why it is important to always identify the underlying causes of any given disorder – whether these are physical, psychological or a combination of both – in order to facilitate a lasting recovery.”

Source: Medical News Today