Even if you’re not addicted to cocaine or alcohol, there are frequently signs of addiction in people’s lives. For some, signs of addiction might point to something innocent and even bring positive results, For instance, someone might have a work addiction. Working excessively over 40 hours per week might bring results like more productivity, efficiency, and recognition among co-workers. As long as that person is not neglecting other areas of life, such as family in order to work, then the addiction may not be harmful.

However, there are times when an addiction, no matter what it is, could be destructive. If the person in the above example had a wife and children and if he were also neglecting his health then an addiction to working might not helpful but harmful. Of course, addictions to cocaine and alcohol are easy to identify as being harmful. But an addiction to a particular behavior may not be so easy to see as dangerous. Gambling is likely the most recognizable addiction that is not a drug or substance that most people recognize as being dangerous. Another form of addiction that can be seen as dangerous is having a sexual addiction. When a person engages in sexual activity again and again with many different partners, there can be many physical, emotional, and psychological concerns that develop. Other addictions might include those to shopping, relationships, Internet use, social media, and technology.

An addiction could be defined by a loss of control. If an individual has lost power over their behavior – whether that’s drinking or using the Internet – then he or she may be developing an addiction. Typically, there is a compulsion to engage in that behavior and this leads to feeling like you’ve lost control over it. You cannot stop even if you want to. Also, when drugs or alcohol, or gambling, or shopping, or working, or any other behavior becomes the sole focus of one’s life, an addiction may be developing. Lastly, another indication of an addiction is when there is an emotional high that accompanies the behavior. It’s easy to see that cocaine is addictive because of the euphoric experience it brings. With gambling, however, it might be the thrill of winning. With shopping, it might be the joy of looking and feeling good. With working, it might be the great satisfaction of accomplishment and achievement. Whenever the cycle of addiction is at work – meaning that the brain is triggered with the compulsory behavior and a person experiences an emotional high – the mental illness of addiction is present.

Fortunately, experts are becoming more and more aware of the factors in one’s life that tend to lead to an addiction. They are also becoming more and more aware of the ways to treat various addictions so that a person doesn’t have to go through relapse again and again. Typically, there are circumstances in one’s life that tend to create a fertile ground upon which an addiction can grow. These include:

  • -Poor coping skills
  • -How we spend our free time
  • -The people that we spend our time with
  • -The thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself
  • -Whether you have any unresolved trauma
  • -Addiction in the family of origin
  • -A genetic disposition toward addiction


Truly, we can have an addiction to anything. Some experts say that the development of an addiction is simply the intense search for acquiring something on the outside (such as through drugs, alcohol, shopping, or sex) that you can only get from within. That something is often a feeling or experience.

Yet, no matter the cause of addiction, if you’re experiencing one and you’re seeing the harm of it in your lives, contact a mental health professional today.

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