This umbrella term is characterized very differently by various professions and from different theoretical orientations within the same field. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, nicotine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and many other substances are considered addictive.
A wide variety of behaviors or activities have also been labeled as addictive. Examples include gambling, compulsive shopping (aka retail therapy), binge eating, overeating, compulsive internet use, compulsive pornography use, compulsive sexual behavior, or even exercise.
Substance misuse is any behavior (which could be the ingestion of a substance or something else), which is highly reinforcing (i.e., extremely pleasurable and/or removes aversive states, such as anxiety, worries, self-criticism, or physical pain) to the point that once the individual realizes it is ultimately self-destructive, but, seemingly cannot stop, despite having the “will.”
Although addictive behaviors can be harmful in a small amount, most become more problematic if the frequency or intensity becomes extreme.
Substance Misuse and Alcohol Treatment
There are many different theories of substance misuse and treatment. 12 Step Programs, biological/pharmaceutical interventions, and religious interventions are all common.
- Tobacco and Smoking
- Behavioral Compulsions