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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

What are the 3 main types of addictions?

Addictions can manifest in various forms, but they are typically categorized into three main types:

  1. Substance Addictions: These involve the abuse of drugs or other substances that lead to physical and psychological dependence. Common substances that people become addicted to include alcohol, tobacco, opioids, stimulants (such as cocaine or amphetamines), and various illicit drugs. Substance addictions often lead to withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not consumed, and they can have severe physical and mental health consequences.

  2. Behavioural Addictions: Also known as process addictions, these involve addictive behaviours rather than substances. People with behavioural addictions become addicted to certain activities or behaviours that provide a pleasurable or rewarding experience. Common examples of behavioural addictions include gambling addiction, internet or gaming addiction, compulsive shopping, and excessive exercise. These addictions can have a significant impact on a person's life and well-being.

  3. Impulse Control Disorders: While not always considered addictions in the traditional sense, impulse control disorders involve the inability to resist impulsive and harmful behaviours. Conditions like kleptomania (compulsive stealing), pyromania (compulsive fire-starting), and intermittent explosive disorder (uncontrollable outbursts of anger) fall into this category. Although these disorders differ from substance and behavioural addictions, they share a common theme of impaired impulse control.

It's important to note that addiction is a complex issue, and these categories can sometimes overlap. Additionally, addiction is not limited to these three types, as new forms of addiction may emerge over time due to changes in technology, society, and other factors. Treatment and support for individuals struggling with addiction are essential, regardless of the specific type of addiction they may be facing


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