Symptoms of Different Modern Day Addictions | Symptoms of Different Modern Day Addictions Tue, 05 Mar 2013 23:09:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Symptoms of Smoking Addiction /symptoms-of-smoking-addiction/ /symptoms-of-smoking-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024497 Smoking addicts display a variety of symptoms. Although the severity varies from one smoker to another, symptoms are similar across all demographics. In addition to the physical symptoms listed below, smokers tend to be extremely dependent on tobacco products for reducing stress in everyday life. This stress may be triggered by an actual event, but the stress may also be triggered by perception. Psychological dependency amplifies the symptoms of the addiction well beyond the physical body.

The limbic system is interconnected with the neurological system, and these systems are responsible for coping with stress. When the smoker uses tobacco products to reduce stress on a regular basis, alternate internal mechanisms for reducing stress remain undeveloped. This is why deep breathing and meditation techniques are beneficial to many addicts.

Shortness of Breath

Smokers typically experience shortness of breath. In general, the more they smoke, the more severe the shortness of breath. Since the brain requires a lot of oxygen to function properly, some cognitive abilities may decrease as well. Short breathing reduces the amount of oxygen carried through the blood supply, and this may exacerbate existing problems. In other words, high oxygen content in the blood is able to repair tissues throughout all systems inside the body. If the oxygen content is diminished for any reason, injured tissue is less likely to heal. Naturally, this same process affects the immune and neurological systems as well.

Cardiovascular and Lung Problems

Smoking addictions cause coughing and other pulmonary problems. Some smokers experience a mild but persistent cough; others regularly cough up discolored phlegm. The longer the addict smokes, the more likely they are to develop severe symptoms and diseases like lung cancer, emphysema and cardiovascular conditions. High blood pressure is also a common symptom. As the arteries constrict, the heart must work harder to pump blood to the peripheral limbs. The increase in the heart rate may lead to premature heart failure. The symptoms of smoking become progressively more dangerous the longer the addiction has been unchecked. Intervention by concerned family and friends is not guaranteed to produce results. Ultimately, the root cause must be addressed. If serious emotional pain is fueling the smoker’s addiction, it could take a community of support to successfully intervene.

Addicts who have been smoking for many years are unlikely to stop even though the threat of lung cancer increases with age. This is partially due to the dynamics of dependency that were described above. The use of smoking products is ultimately a method of alleviating some kind of pain. Addicts who seek help with the underlying problems have a higher success rate of quitting than addicts who treat only the physical aspect of their addiction.

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Symptoms of Shopping Addiction /symptoms-of-shopping-addiction/ /symptoms-of-shopping-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024493 Unlike many other forms of addiction, a shopping addiction may not be readily apparent. People buy things every day, and going on the occasional shopping spree is seen as little more than a leisure activity. When “shopaholic” is just a term for the fashion-forward, how do you tell when a hobby has gone too far?

Oniomania is considered an impulse control disorder in the same way any other form of addiction is, but because it isn’t taken as seriously, the research into this area has only gained some significance in the past 20 years. There are many ideas as to what prompts this kind of behavior. Some believe that it goes back to the parent-child relationship where the parent was present financially but not emotionally. These objects become a substitute for affection that carries on through adulthood, leading the person to view material goods as a way to fill this void. Others believe it has more to do with consumerist culture that encourages people to purchase their status and self-esteem. Whatever the cause, this type of addiction can have enormous financial repercussions.

Because the need to make purchases may outweigh a person’s means, someone with shopping addiction may overspend, leading to debt or bankruptcy. With a ruined credit history, the ability to make purchases dwindles, which can increase the strain on personal relationships. While it is rare, some people may even turn to theft to get the material goods they crave, and the depression and anxiety stemming from the failure to secure these material goods may even lead to suicide.

The initial symptom of a shopping disorder is the need to make purchases. Compulsive shoppers may also be hoarders. Other symptoms include irritability, anxiety and depression when prevented from making purchases. After making a purchase, the person may initially feel a “high” followed by a period of remorse. Because the act of shopping produces a high, the person may then use another shopping spree to balance out the remorse. As compulsive shopping continues, the person may lie to others about how much they have purchased or their financial outlook. The person may even begin to conceal their purchases.

More obvious symptoms surface in the finances of the person. As debt grows, it also becomes more difficult to conceal. After missing payments, creditors may begin to call. The person may also ask for money from friends and family and may even lie to gain access to funds. Once the person has accumulated enough debt, he or she may have to declare bankruptcy.

The good news is that most people with a shopping addiction are willing to admit it, unlike with many other forms of addiction. Financial counseling can help a person suffering from shopping addiction get back on track, and a therapist can help address the issues that lead to the compulsive behavior. If you or someone you know may have a shopping addiction, get help now.

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Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction /symptoms-of-prescription-drug-addiction/ /symptoms-of-prescription-drug-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024489 “Me, addicted? Don’t be silly. My doctor prescribed these drugs.”

In today’s world, prescription drug abuse is a common affliction. Many individuals who pop pills freely have no idea that their so-called doctor drugs can be just as addictive as the street variety. Help is available, but before it can be obtained, the sufferer needs to admit that he has a problem.

When it comes to identifying prescription drug addiction, some behaviors carry big red danger flags. All of them cry out for attention and follow-up.

Pill Borrowing

Prescription drug addicts can be opportunists. They will often take pills from someone else’s bottle even if they have to steal to get them. Medication does not simply disappear. Anyone whose supply has mysteriously dwindled should make a serious effort to find out where the missing meds have gone.

Obtaining Multiple Refills

The addicted patient will try to get refills on his original prescription long after the condition for which he took it has cleared up. Complaining of lingering symptoms, he will refuse to consider any other treatment options. He will insist that only the drug can help him, and he will return to the doctor repeatedly in an attempt to obtain it.

Doctor Shopping

When the physician who supplied the original prescription stops writing refills, the addicted patient can often panic. Desperate to get his hands on more of the drug, he may visit several doctors, hoping to get at least one copy of the coveted script from each. When this tactic finally fails, he might resort to buying his drug of choice on the street.

Prescription Drug Withdrawal

When a person has become completely dependent on a particular drug, missing even a single dose will cause withdrawal symptoms. Some will suffer night sweats and joint pain. Still others will believe that they are coming down with the flu.

Withdrawal from such opioids as Dilaudid, Vicodin and OxyContin will cause cold chills, insomnia, bone pain, diarrhea and vomiting. The termination of Librium, Xanax, Valium and other depressants of the central nervous system can lead to racing thoughts and even seizures.

The pain of these withdrawal symptoms increases desire for the drug even in people who honestly want to stop taking it.

Doubling the Dose

While a refill can temporarily alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, users gradually build up a tolerance to the medication. Soon, they require increasingly large amounts of it just to function normally. Doubling and tripling of the dose becomes common.

Anti-Social Behavior

As addiction increases, the sufferer will become obsessed with the drug, turning every stone and spending every penny to obtain it. This all-consuming preoccupation can result in a complete withdrawal from human contact. Many such addicts avoid friends and family at all costs.

What Can Be Done

Prescription drug addiction is an illness, and its treatment calls for both medical supervision and therapeutic counseling. Since early identification of the condition greatly improves the chances of a permanent cure, catching the symptoms early on can make all the difference.

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Symptoms of Gambling Addiction /symptoms-of-gambling-addiction/ /symptoms-of-gambling-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024485 People with gambling addictions frequently experience irresistible urges to visit the casino. They exhibit a number of emotional and behavioral symptoms. After learning the signs of addiction, some people realize that they are compulsive gamblers. Such symptoms may also indicate that a friend, spouse or parent is addicted to gambling.

1. To hide the problem, many addicts gamble secretly. A compulsive gambler may lie about travel destinations, computer activities or absences from work. He or she may succeed in deceiving friends and family members for many weeks or months. However, it is much easier to hide the gambling than the financial problems it creates.

2. Gambling becomes a top priority for addicts. This often results in unpaid bills and calls from debt collectors. A compulsive gambler may borrow money and carry large amounts of cash. He or she might gamble instead of working or looking for employment. Problem gamblers frequently lose their jobs or receive smaller paychecks.

3. Alcoholics often need to drink more and more liquor to achieve the same high. Many gambling addicts face a similar predicament. They feel an urge to keep making larger bets. Small wagers become boring. Some gamblers also spend more and more time at casinos, race tracks or betting websites. Gambling becomes more important than other people.

4. Many compulsive gamblers have certain types of thoughts on a regular basis. They think about gambling and money constantly. Some believe that they can win by playing more skillfully. Others use gambling to avoid serious problems in their lives. Unfortunately, addicts rarely share these thoughts and beliefs with other people.

5. People with gambling addictions frequently become depressed or irritable. These symptoms may worsen if they begin using drugs or drinking numerous alcoholic beverages. Nearly 50 percent of compulsive gamblers are also alcoholics, according to the BBC. This can make it more difficult for family members to identify a gambling addiction.

6. A compulsive gambler’s personality may change. He or she might become self-centered and indifferent to the needs of others. The person may lose interest in recreational activities. Favorite games, TV programs or hobbies might be forgotten. Relatives and friends will only seem important when he or she wants to borrow additional money.

People should take compulsive gambling seriously. This type of addiction often leads to financial ruin, criminal activity or even suicide. Several effective treatment options are available. Support groups, therapy and medication can help people escape gambling addictions, according to the National Library of Medicine.

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An Overview of the Symptoms of Porn Addiction /an-overview-of-the-symptoms-of-porn-addiction/ /an-overview-of-the-symptoms-of-porn-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024481 Individuals who are addicted to pornography will usually share certain symptoms. Life partners who have become emotionally distant during lovemaking sessions might very well be addicted to Internet porn. Rather than treating their sexual partners with respect, some men will begin to see women as objects that are meant to be used without regret. The modern day porn industry teaches men to see females as physical specimens to be conquered. Guys who watch porn nearly every day will likely exhibit some of these characteristics. They might even become irritated when their partners begin to exhibit minor physical flaws.

Men who become addicted to porn will also become much less sociable. The addictive tendencies may become so strong that these individuals begin to refuse the company of their dearest acquaintances. Rather than going to movies and dinners with their close friends and relatives, they will instead become markedly antisocial. In extreme cases, they might even lock themselves in their bedrooms for hours each day. The Internet is ultimately a powerful enabler. Men who watch pornography at excessive levels will become angry if their electronic devices are taken away or made unavailable.

When people are caught up in the addiction, they might even ignore their partners completely. In many cases, the sex itself will become nonexistent. Such a situation can ultimately lead to the complete breakdown of the romantic relationship. Porn addiction, in fact, can even end marriages. The resentment and insecurity that are likely to come to the forefront can be quite hard to overcome.

The emotional symptoms of porn addiction are well documented. Partners who were previously kind and caring individuals may now become mean, inflexible, and perhaps even violent. If couples have young children in the house, the effects can become amplified. Men might become emotionally distant toward their children, and frequent arguments can inflict emotional harm that can take years to recover from.

The addiction, when allowed to progress for months or even years, might even lead to job loss. Employees who look at pornography on work computers will almost surely be fired. Though a one-time offense will be met with a strongly worded reprimand, any further infractions will require a termination. In this, porn can do as much harm as alcohol or drugs. In order to get their fix, addicts will begin to engage in riskier behavior. The end result is a life in ruins.

In the end, then, the symptoms of porn addiction are quite obvious. Addicts will usually emotionally retreat from their partners and begin to view them as objects. Erratic behavior might even be accompanied by violent outbursts. Broken marriages and poor professional work habits are both signs that a therapeutic intervention should be pursued.

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Symptoms Of Drug Addiction /symptoms-of-drug-addiction/ /symptoms-of-drug-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024477 Drug addiction is a serious problem in America. While the majority of drug addicts are adults, a growing number of teens are also abusing drugs. The National Institute for Drug Abuse says that 22.5 million people over the age of 12 in the United States used illicit drugs in 2011. That is almost nine percent of the population. Since it is such a widespread problem that affects so many people, it is important for everyone to know how to identify the symptoms of drug addiction.

The individual is neglecting personal responsibilities. For adults, this could be work, social commitments or even family commitments. Employers may often identify addiction problems when a person takes time off frequently, is late to work consistently or seems withdrawn from daily tasks. With teens, parents and friends often notice the individual has been showing decreased efforts at school, is absent from school frequently or has quit completely.

Personal relationships begin to suffer. Many family members, friends or romantic partners of people who develop drug addictions have noted behavioral changes. These can range from dramatic mood swings to constant depression or anger. A person abusing drugs is usually on edge and will start fights over meaningless issues.

The individual is taking more risks. Risks can be everything from leaving a child unattended at home or driving at high speeds on dangerous roads. Some drug users may feel invincible or simply stop caring about safety and respect for others.

Legal trouble may stem from some of the individual’s decisions. High-risk behavior such as driving while intoxicated, starting fights with strangers or even resisting arrest can land drug abusers in jail. Many drug addicts also get caught stealing items they can sell to support their habits.

Depending on the type of drugs they use, some people may also look pale, develop dark circles under their eyes or have sores on their skin.

It is important for individuals to know when they have an addiction problem. The following are individual signs of a drug addiction:

-It seems impossible to quit despite knowing drug use is harmful.
-Life revolves around getting high.
-A higher drug tolerance has been built up.
-The feeling of personal control no longer exists.
-Drugs are taken to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
-Commitments and activities no longer seem important.

Addictions start with social use, which eventually grows into everyday use. Before a person knows what is happening, an addiction forms. When individuals notice symptoms of drug abuse in themselves or others, it is important to talk to an addiction counselor or call a treatment center. Reaching out for help is the first and most difficult step.


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Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction /symptoms-of-alcohol-addiction/ /symptoms-of-alcohol-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024473 For those suffering from addiction, their condition may not be readily apparent. Furthermore, those suffering from addiction may be resistant to any notion that they are dependent. In fact, most of those addicted to a substance believe that they remain in control and can quit at any time. That’s why recognizing and acknowledging the symptoms of addiction is so important.

With alcohol, it can be even more difficult to recognize a problem. Unlike some drugs, alcohol is perfectly legal to consume and may even be socially expected, such as a toast at a wedding. A drink each day is also touted by many health professionals as beneficial, so how does a person cross from healthy, everyday use into addiction?

First, it’s important to understand that certain groups are more at risk for alcohol addiction than others. Native Americans – whether American Indians or Native Alaskans – have a higher predisposition towards alcohol abuse. Genetics may play another role as well in that those whose parents have alcohol addictions are more likely to be addicted to alcohol themselves. Those with social disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may also use alcohol as a way to combat these disorders and may grow reliant on alcohol in the same way someone may with prescription medication. Those who fall into any of these groups should be particularly wary of alcohol.

Many of the symptoms associated with alcohol addiction are social in nature. Lying to friends and family about the amount of alcohol consumed or how often can be an indication of an underlying addiction. Those who feel remorse for their drinking may also be at risk. If others, such as friends and family, notice there may be a problem, it may be possible that the person is at risk for addiction as the person involved is rarely as perceptive as others.

Drinking may also cause hardships in a person’s financial and family life. Drinking to excess can lead to several negative physical responses and leave a person unable to function through daily life. If drinking inhibits a person’s daily activities like going to work or school or neglecting other commitments, it may be indicative of addiction. The problems alcohol addiction creates may also lead the person to drinking more to relax, and drinking to unwind from the day’s events can be another telling symptom of alcohol addiction.

Physical symptoms of alcohol addiction or withdrawal include irritability, fatigue, anxiety, uncontrollable sweating and shaking, difficulty sleeping, seizures and depression. As the physical signs of alcohol addiction typically come after sustained periods of alcohol abuse, it’s imperative to seek help right away after experiencing any of these symptoms. Though many struggling with alcohol addiction long to quit, it may prove difficult to do so alone. The good news is that no one has to. If you or a loved one is struggling with any of these symptoms, get help today.

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Symptoms of Food Addiction /symptoms-of-food-addiction/ /symptoms-of-food-addiction/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 +0000 http://6024469 In the hierarchy of basic human needs, food ranks right up there with air and water. Without food, death walks near. With food, life brims with color. It’s not surprising that the act of eating tends in most people to arouse significant emotional reactions.

With some people, however, eating goes beyond being a biological necessity and a mildly enjoyable activity. It becomes an end in itself. Actual hunger is no longer relevant. For these unfortunates, food is an addictive substance. They cannot stop eating.

Many exasperated dieters have cracked wise about the addictive properties of certain foods. Chocolate, ice cream and potato chips are notorious subjects of mirth. Research suggests that the jokes hold substance, though. A notable study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Society) Psychiatry found a significant correlation between familial tendencies to addictive behaviors and the likelihood of obesity.

Hyper-palatable foods such as easy-to-digest hamburgers, greasy chicken nuggets from fast-food restaurants and many packaged snacks appear to strongly stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that normally lights up the brain’s pleasure center. Routinely consuming an excess of foods laden with fat, salt and sugar may rewire the brain to anticipate and demand more such foods, especially in individuals who have inherited a increased genetic susceptibility to addictive behaviors.

Cocaine and other substances change brain biochemistry in similar ways, which has led more than a few medical professionals to consider treating compulsive overeating with methods originally developed for addressing addiction to hard drugs. However, unlike illicit recreational drugs, food is genuinely necessary to life. Research into the unique challenges of food addiction continues to be an area of intense interest.

Any of the following symptoms may indicate a problem with food addiction:

  • Steadily rising consumption. It’s normal to eat more at certain times and less at other times, but a long-term trend of obesity and the increasing consumption of comfort foods may indicate a miswired brain that no longer knows how to distinguish between true hunger and a runaway appetite.
  • High tolerance for large quantities. There’s nothing wrong an occasional feast, such as during the Thanksgiving holiday and other special occasions, but routinely gobbling down large meals before the onset of satiety is a danger sign.
  • Inability to refrain from eating. A powerful urge to consume food even in the absence of hunger pains is a fairly revealing sign that the hunger-regulation system has drifted away from normalcy.
  • Obsessive thoughts about food. Most people look forward to their meals and enjoy regular snacks, but compulsively dwelling on upcoming meals and snacks may indicate the need to consult a health professional.
  • Withdrawal anxiety. Notwithstanding amusing jokes about food withdrawal, feeling anxious or panicky about not eating is a clearly distinguishable symptom of food addiction that bears little resemblance to normal hunger pangs.
  • Persistently unhealthy habits. Habits are always hard to change, but growing obesity and a pattern of overeating that stubbornly resists all efforts to return to normal eating habits are almost certainly symptoms of physical and emotional problems that require medical attention.
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