When addiction is mentioned, many people automatically think of drug or alcohol abuse. But there are numerous forms of addiction, ranging from gambling to overeating. Addiction is defined as a dependency on a certain action or substance. An addiction occurs whenever a person becomes dependent on that specific action or substance to meet his or her emotional needs.

A person may not even be aware they have an addiction until the results of overeating or compulsive gambling begin to take a toll. It is believed that certain personality traits such as low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence may be factors that contribute to an addictive personality.

Help for Compulsive Gambling

Many addictions, such as gambling, start as a small problem that gradually escalates. The gambler enjoys the high of uncertainty and the thrill of winning. The problem gambler may start out making small bets that grow increasingly larger and more risky.

The effects of compulsive gambling can be devastating and may result in the loss of jobs, homes, friends and family. A person who believes that he or she may have a gambling addiction should seek counseling. Help can be found at the National Council on Problem Gambling, which has counselor information as well as a 24-hour confidential hotline.

The Dangers of Food Addiction

Compulsive eating is often a reaction to loneliness or rejection. Overeaters may compensate for an empty feeling inside that has nothing to do with food. The chronic overeater must find other ways to reward themselves besides eating, such as getting involved in various social activities.

Breaking the compulsive eating habit can be difficult because food is so easy to obtain. The effects of overeating can lead to dire consequences such as obesity and health concerns. There are many weight loss programs which can provide help and support. One of these is Food Addicts Anonymous.

Overcoming Sex Addiction

Just as overeating is not always about food, sex addiction is often more about unfulfilled emotional needs than a desire for unlimited sex. Sex addiction is often linked to low self-esteem. People with sex addictions may feel unloved and crave affection and attention, and may find sex a way of temporarily boosting their self-esteem by feeling wanted and needed.

Sex addiction can lead to loss of relationships as well as a high risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Individual or marriage counseling by a licensed expert is often the best route to overcoming this type of addiction.

Battling Alcoholism

Alcohol is widely abused. It causes the illusion of a high but it is really a depressant. Alcohol is also very addictive. It is known that some people are more prone to alcoholism than others. Cravings for alcohol may have a genetic link and other psychological factors may also play a part.

Alcoholism causes many health risks such as liver and kidney damage. It also causes marital problems, job loss, and driving while intoxicated is the cause of many accidents. Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are invaluable to keep the problem drinker on the road to recovery.

Beating Drug Addiction

Addictive drugs include heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Usually people begin by experimenting with drugs. The need for them escalates until they become dependent upon them. Like alcoholism, drug dependency is both physical and psychological, which makes it very hard to break the habit without counseling and outside intervention.

Many times, people with serious addictions must be checked into a rehabilitation center for a period of time in order to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal and to keep them from giving in to the temptation to go back on drugs while they are in recovery.

With any addiction, the first step is admitting the need for help. Support groups or counseling can be of invaluable assistance to beating any kind of addiction from compulsive gambling to drug or alcohol abuse.