Health and Wellness

10 Most Common American Addictions

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By: Paul Plas, Ethan Statzer, Alex Truitt

Millions of Americans struggle with addictions every day. An addiction is a compulsion or inclination to do something repeatedly. You can be addicted to something like coffee or video games but also more harmful things such as drugs and alcohol. Either way, addictions can affect you in more ways than you think. In this article we will discuss some addictions that everyday people like yourself may struggle with.

1.Video Games

Video game addiction is classified as an impulse control disorder, which is very closely related to a gambling addiction. People mostly will play video games online with other players, which they use as a substitute for real face to face communications. Studies have found that these addictions are more common for men, but specifically for the youth. About one in ten gamers, from ages 8-18, can be classified as having addiction. Gaming addictions can have some serious consequences like personal, family, academic, financial, and occupation issues. Those with this addiction can become isolated, and in turn be socially awkward and not know how to speak face to face to people. http://www.addictionrecov.org/Addictions/?AID=45

2. Gambling

Around 15% of Americans gamble weekly. This includes casinos, scratch off tickets, lottery tickets, horse races, sports betting, and much more. Gambling addictions can be a terrible path to fall into. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), claims that the annual cost associated with gambling is $17 billion, which includes crime, addiction, and bankruptcy. Nevada has the highest amount of gambling addicts. https://addiction.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Gambling_Addiction_Statistics

3. Shopping

Compulsive shopping is something that affects almost 20 million (6%) of Americans. It is an unhealthy shopping obsession that interferes with daily life. Some of the symptoms are anxiety when not shopping, obsessing about shopping, and buying merchandise that isn’t necessary and not wanted. This situation leads to depression, which then leads to more shopping. It can also lead to professional, marital, and family problems as well. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/compulsive-shopping.asp shopping.asp

4. Sex

By nature sex addiction can cause harm to not only those with the condition, but those close to them as well. In most circumstances, those who struggle with the addiction had a troubled childhood and upbringing. There is a strong correlation between sex addiction and childhood trauma. See: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/process-addiction/sex-addiction/related/sexual-addiction-statistics/#gref Though many sex offenders have a sex addiction, just because one has a sex addiction, does not mean they commit crimes. Everyone with this addiction deals with it in different ways. Sex addiction is a very serious thing that can affect many aspects of ones life, as well those around them.

5. Internet

In 2018, almost 280 million Americans used the internet. The internet is a very useful tool, but just like most things, too much of a good thing can have bad results. A lot of businesses will use the internet, which can lead to distractions for their employees. There are a lot of time-wasting websites such as social media, online games, shopping, and many many more, which can all be addictive https://www.statista.com/statistics/325645/usa-number-of-internet-users/

6. Food

Food addiction is a very serious problem. Eating healthily and losing weight can seem impossible for many people. Food addiction actually impacts the same areas of your brain as drug addictions. Many of the symptoms are nearly identical, and even the same neurotransmitters are involved. Most of the problematic foods include junk foods such as candy, soda, and fried foods that are high in fat. Food addiction is a real scientific thing that is not caused by lack of willpower, but by a dopamine signal that can affect the biochemistry of your brain.

7. Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs are highly addictive substances. The most popular ones are marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. A drug addiction is first recognized by a physical dependence. This means that the user’s tolerance goes up, and withdrawal is experienced when trying to quit. Drug addicts usually will recognize their problem but will feel unable to quit alone. Rehab provides professional support for those trying to quit. In 2012, it was estimated that 23.9 million Americans, 12 and older, have used an illicit drug. It is found that the highest rate of drug use comes from people aged 18-25. https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/illicit-drugs/

8. Nicotine

The effects of nicotine aren’t euphoric or energetic, but it does stimulate the adrenal glands, which causes a rise in blood pressure and respiration. There are about 50 million Americans addicted to cigarettes, cigars, and other types of tobacco products. Nicotine is said to be as addictive as cocaine or even heroin, which makes it very hard to quit and 75-90% of users will relapse after 6 months. Since nicotine is typically smoked inside of cigarettes, it can be quite dangerous. Cigarettes account for about 20% of deaths in America, due to lung cancer.

9. Alcohol

Alcoholism is a disease that affects people in all walks of life. Factors that can contribute to the disease include genetic factors, behavioral factors, and psychological factors.  Alcohol is not like many other addictions, because unlike cocaine and heroin and many other substances, alcohol addiction can be hard to recognize because alcohol consumption is often culturally accepted and is available throughout the world. It can difficult to tell the difference between someone who only has a drink or two when they go out and someone who has a real addiction. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

10. Caffeine

Caffeine is America’s largest addiction. About 90% of Americans consume caffeine daily. Coffee alone amounts to 70% of caffeine consumed, with over 400 million cups of coffee being consumed daily. When people are coming off of caffeine, they become tired and drowsy, and can have a hard time concentrating and feel very irritable. https://www.kuakini.org/wps/portal/public/Health-Wellness/Health-Info-Tips/Miscellaneous/Caffeine–America-s-Most-Popular-Drug

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