An addiction is a compulsive, repeated behavior characterized by loss of control and an overwhelming desire to act regardless of harmful consequences that may take place. When discussing addictive behaviors, these behaviors usually cause harm either to self and/or others, and the person addicted has no meaningful control over the behavior. It is a powerful, undeniable, compulsion. When discussing addiction, it is important to know that addictions are devastating and can destroy the addict and those around them. There are many different types of addiction. The most common forms of addiction include:
- Drug and alcohol addiction (substance abuse)
- Gambling addiction
- Internet addictions
- Sexual addictions
Many families have been destroyed by addictive behaviors. The addict may be in complete denial, feeling that he or she doesn’t have a problem. Addicts also feel completely hopeless and, with each act, their self-worth falls lower and lower. Addicts often often lose touch with reality and their relationships crumble. Often burdened by past traumas or low self-esteem, addicts “self medicate” with their compulsions while family members and friends watch helplessly, not knowing what to do. Torn between anger toward the addict and their compulsions and the person they used to know, it is important for family members and friends to become educated on addictive behaviors and seek support and counseling for themselves.