Understanding Different Types of Addiction

We all have surely heard the saying, “too much of anything is bad”. Especially if it’s something that we really like to do or consume, we often find it difficult to limit ourselves. The danger is, if we’re not able to control ourselves we might become addictive to a certain thing.

The term “addicted” itself usually associated with illegal drugs abuse. In fact, it’s not only that, we could be addicted to other things such as addicted to sugar, sex, alcohol, etc. Mainly in this digital era, not a few people have become addicted to online shopping, playing video games, accessing pornographic site / doing cybersex.

So, what should we do in order to be able to detach ourselves from addiction? Well, we have to understand more about addiction in advance.

Addiction is a state of dependency of something that could influence the physic and mental as well as causing change in one’s mindset, feeling and behavior. There are two types of addiction; substance addiction (e.g., Alcohols, Opioids, Cannabinoids, Sedatives, Cocaine, Hallucinogen, Tobacco, etc.); and behavioral addiction (e.g., video games, social media, pornography, internet, gambling, etc.).

What happens to the brain when we get addicted? When we do something that makes us happy, the brain releases dopamine. Therefore, when getting addicted the brain then becomes “flooded” with dopamine, which could damage the brain condition if it happens in a long term. As a result, a person becomes slow in thinking, unable to make optimal decisions, even having lack of motivation.

In the case of addiction, there are many reasons of someone doing / consuming something:

  1. Situational, where one does / uses something due to the influence of the peer pressure.
  2. Recreational, a condition where one does / uses something in order to get pleasure.
  3. Experimental, wanting to try things out due to curiosity.
  4. Dependent, have become dependent / addicted.

Some of the characteristics of getting addiction are:

  • Compulsive (having a strong desire to consume / do something)
  • Difficult to have self-control from addiction
  • Tend to ignore the surroundings and gets easily angry when being disturbed
  • Tolerance symptoms (craving more and more due to dissatisfaction)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (feeling physical pain e.g., headache, cramps, etc.)
  • Keep doing / consuming even though realizing the bad effects

Of course, the impact of addiction is not only focused on physical health, but also mental health and social life. A person with addiction will tend to become depressed and easily anxious, which will affect their social functioning (e.g., performance drop in the office due to difficulty concentrating, strained relationships with partner and family, etc.). The worst impact is the emergence of hallucinations.

Things that can be done to treat addiction are, first do consultation to find out if one really has an addiction. After getting diagnosed, then one can do psychotherapy or counseling to find a solution. In cases of severe addiction, pharmacotherapy can be done, namely therapy accompanied by medication. The last step is the rehabilitation process to form a more positive pattern of behavior so that one can get out of addiction.

It takes a thorough healing process to get out of addiction, but everyone has a different fit for healing methods. There are people who are more comfortable with more private psychotherapy, but there are also those who prefer to share stories through support groups, etc. What’s important is the will from oneself to change for the better, and of course the support from closest people such as family and relatives is needed.

However, we have to remember that doing a consultation is a must. Do not self-diagnose, because an in-depth examination is needed regarding the factors that cause addiction in a person. In addition to providing assistance, psychiatrists or doctors must provide the right dose of medication to prevent other severe problems.

Remember, it will not always be easy to get out of addiction. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. Therefore, never hesitate to seek help from others.

If you want to know more about addiction, check out Angsamerah’s YouTube channel to rewatch a Kacapikir webinar: “Recognizing Different Types of Addiction” presented by dr. I. Gusti Ngurah Agastya, SpKJ (Psychiatry at Angsamerah) and Ken Sheila (Staff of Yayasan Kharisma).


The webinar was held on Saturday, June 19th 2021 in association with Yayasan Kharisma.

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