Sexual addiction, for better or worse, has added itself to the top ten addictions of 2014. When most people think of addictions they think about alcohol abuse, illegal drug usage and the allure of nicotine. Unfortunately, there are many others as well. Some may appear surprising at first, but others will come as no shock as people always seem to know someone who needs help with an addiction problem. This list is in no particular order. Look at different sites doing a Google search and you will find variations on this list. These top 10 kept popping up over multiple sites.
1. Coffee: The power and allure of caffeine is strong. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a powerful stimulant that works on the same areas of the brain as nicotine and cocaine. In the United States, the average person drinks three to four cups per day. Some studies show that upwards of 30 percent drink six to seven cups of coffee per day.
2. Gambling: Gambling can consist of playing table games or slots at the casino or it can be simply purchasing lottery tickets at the local gas station or convenience store on a regular basis. According to the National Council on Problem gambling more than 80 percent of adults have gambled at least once in the past year, 2-3 percent has some type of gambling problem and 1 percent have a pathological problem with gambling.
3. Anger: Also known as aggression addiction can be aggravated by the use of drugs, alcohol, steroids and even marijuana. In the case of marijuana, it is because people use the drug to experience feelings of calm and then when they are no longer using their anger can come back in an exaggerated fashion up to weeks later. For some, anger has become a coping skills and it can take years to work through the reasons why.
4. Food: About 2 percent of Americans have a food addiction, or binge-eating disorder. About 20 percent of these people are obese and tend to be women and not men. When someone is addicted to food his or her brain acts in the same way as someone who is addicted to cocaine or heroin. Therefore, when they eat certain foods their brain releases chemicals, which make them feel good.
5. The Internet: It is no surprise this makes it onto the list of top ten addictions this year, especially since many of the people who are addicted to the internet are addicted because of their sexual addiction. There are approximately six million addicts and most of them are hooked on pornographic or sex related sites. Those who are not also sex addicts use the internet for shopping addictions, spending hours on social media and surfing the web aimlessly. The internet does not discriminate – men and women are equally vulnerable to this addiction.
6. Sexual: Some people need sex more than others do. For these people, sex is compulsive and tied in with their self-esteem. The sex addict spends much of his or her time out socially looking for partners that will take them back to the bedroom and have no qualms about one-night stands. There are estimates that 8 percent of men are considered addicted to sex and 3 percent of women.
7. Alcoholism: About 10 percent of adults in the United States are considered alcoholics. Alcoholism and alcohol dependence costs the U.S. approximately $170 billion per year. Many people have an underlying cause that creates stress causing them to drink. Finding this cause and working through it will help someone with alcoholism overcome their addiction.
8. Drugs: Drugs can include prescription medicines, heroin, marijuana, cocaine and any other illegal or legal drug used improperly. There are cravings for the drug and for the feelings associated with it. It can cause physical and mental health problems with long-term use and can damage relationships, both in one’s personal life and at work.
9. Nicotine: Some categorize it as a drug, but since there are more than 400,000 people in the U.S. suffering or dying from smoking related illnesses, it deserves a category of its own. It is as addictive as heroin and some say it is three times deadlier than arsenic. Nicotine users feel the same type of satisfaction from chemicals in their brain after smoking as after eating or even having sex. Dopamine is inherent to all addictions – how long it lasts (or does not) is determined by each individual’s chemical makeup. Regardless, it has people going back for more.
10. Work: Some may see these types of people as only over ambitious, but it is actually considered a mental health condition. Work addiction occurs when someone is unable to stop working. Their reasons may be related to financial success or they may simply be a perfectionist. The work addict will get a high (just like a drug addict) and will be unable to stop even with the eventual consequences to their personal lives and mental health.
In this age of technology and the more scientists learn about the human body the readily available the knowledge about various addictions in society. It is only July and there are addictions in this list that some may not have heard of before. With six months left in the year there are spots in the top ten still up for grabs, but with the internet on this list sexual addiction is not about to leave the top ten anytime soon.
By Sara Kourtsounis