The term “addict” does not strictly define a person addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many varieties of addiction exist. In fact, a person can develop multiple addictions that simultaneously occur. This overview identifies the many facets of addiction.

Alcohol addiction occurs when drinking takes control of the person. They have difficulty in quitting, as withdrawal symptoms develop without alcohol. Since drinking alcohol is legal, the line blurs between a heavy partier and an alcoholic.

Alcohol addiction falls into the category of drug addiction. There are hundreds of substances a person develops a dependency and/or abuses. Cigarette smoking demonstrates a strong drug addiction, as the smoker craves the nicotine. Drug addictions are sometimes mild (caffeine dependency from coffee). Other times, drug addictions are life-threatening (heroin addicts face possible death when quitting cold turkey).

Other abused substances include methamphetamine, methadone, opiates, and marijuana. Athletes injecting steroids show a form of drug addiction. They quickly develop a dependency and suffer withdrawal symptoms when their bodies are not getting the steroid.

Prescription drug addiction is growing rapidly in the United States. A prescription drug addict probably started with an injury, accident, or surgery. Once the drug has gained control, an addict will easily justify the drug use. Their own doctor legitimately prescribed that drug to them for the level of pain. Alcoholics similarly justify their abuse because it is legal to drink.

Behavioral addictions cause the same amount of devastation in the life of an addict. These types of addictions occur when a person cannot control and/or stop an activity, though the realization of dire consequences exists. Sometimes behavioral addictions cause substantially more damage compared to a drug addiction. A drug addiction has a scientific explanation with regards to the physical dependency. Although brain chemicals react in a behavioral addiction, it wreaks havoc on the addict’s family and friends.

Behavioral addiction occurs when the addict develops an unnatural obsession for gambling, eating, sex, love, work, pornography, video games, or shopping. The addict knows it is upsetting to their family and/or finances, but the obsession grows and the addict cannot stop the behavior or activity without professional help.

Addiction is a disease of the mind, body, and soul. It has the power to take away lives. Recovery is not possible unless the addict wishes to change. That truth remains constant with every single addiction.