Strange but Real Addictions
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Sometimes obsessive habits turn into strange but real addictions. To learn how not to let these compulsive disorders get in the way of your life, watch this.
Transcript: You've heard of sex addiction, gambling addictions and alcohol addictions, but there are a few compulsive...
You've heard of sex addiction, gambling addictions and alcohol addictions, but there are a few compulsive disorders you may not have heard of. If a behavior interferes with your life and you can't seem to stop acting on your obsession, no matter how negative the consequences, you could have an addiction. Consider these unusual, but no less real, addictions: You've heard of sun worshippers, but some people take it to the extreme. We call them tan-orexics in the tabloids, but some people really do develop a tanning dependency. Spending time soaking up UV rays from the sun or tanning beds produces endorphins - feel-good chemicals that can give us a sense of euphoria. People may even exhibit withdrawal symptoms like nausea and dizziness when they try to quit their sun habit. Plus, people who are addicted to tanning can't stand to see their skin go pale. It makes them feel less attractive. The solution to that part, at least, can be tackled with self-tanners. Some people can't stop using nasal spray. After a few days of use, your nose no longer responds to the medication as well, and you need more of it clear your stuffy nose. When you stop using it, your nose can become congested again, so you use more and more of it, until you can no longer stop. An addiction to reading might seem like a healthy thing, especially with literacy rates so low but people stuck on books lose sleep and even stop going to work. Can't stop chomping on ice cubes, popsicles or even dirt? A disorder called Pica could be to blame. People often develop this unusual fascination for eating odd things because of an iron or mineral deficiency. Those "Crackberry" addictions, believe it or not, are real. How do you know if you have a bona fide problem with putting down your phone? Ask yourself the following questions: can you leave it at home? Does it get in the way of relationships? Are you sneaking behind a loved one's back to check it? Experts say that an addiction to your phone, iPhone or Blackberry or some other smart phone could stem from the desire to feel important or needed. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what if you are never satisfied with your look? Some people like reality TV star Heidi Montag develop an addiction to plastic surgery. Montag at age 23 has already gone under the knife twice and had 10 procedures done in just one day. The star was quoted by People magazine as saying, "I'm beyond obsessed". These are usually perfectionistic people or those with body dysmorphic disorder. This is a psychological condition where people have a completely distorted perception of how they look. Most addictions can be successfully treated. If you or someone you know is affected by an addiction talk to a mental health professional.More »
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Addiction to sex is a problem that is just as real as any other medical condition. Click on this video to learn the truth about sex addiction and ways to treat it.
Transcript: We all know someone who has struggled with addiction. Be it cigarettes, or alcohol, or gambling...But...
We all know someone who has struggled with addiction. Be it cigarettes, or alcohol, or gambling...But not many of us can say we know someone who is addicted to sex. Unless, you count celebrities: Tiger Woods, David Duchovny, and Michael Douglas! Woods, Duchovny and Douglas have all been treated for sex addiction, otherwise known as "compulsive sexual behavior," "nymphomania" or "hypersexuality." Skeptics like to call it an excuse for cheating husbands. But according to the medical community, sexual addiction is a real disease that impacts both men and women. Some statistics estimate that as many as six to eight percent of all Americans are sex addicts. So what exactly is a sex addict? Someone with a sex addiction is obsessed with sexual thoughts, feelings or actions. They have a compulsive need to act on their sexual urges, even if it leads to negative consequences. Sexual thoughts and behaviors dominate their daily life to the point where it squeezes everything else, like work, school or family relationships, out of the picture. Addicts are abnormally preoccupied with sex, and may engage in frequent and compulsive masturbation, porn, cyber sex, phone sex, unsafe sexual activity, multiple partners and extramarital affairs. Like drug abuse, sex for an addict is used as an escape from problems like loneliness, depression, anxiety or stress. As a result, people with sex addictions sometimes derive little pleasure or satisfaction from their sexual activity. They also sometimes fail to form emotional bonds with sexual partners. Sexual addiction can escalate to increasingly risky behaviors. As with other addictions, sufferers develop a tolerance to their activities and look for other ways to satisfy their compulsion. They lose perspective and control of their actions. As their addiction progresses, it could even involve illegal activities, such as prostitution, exposing oneself in public, sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking, molestation and rape. It is important to note that not all sex addicts are sex offenders and not all sex offenders are sex addicts. According to the Sexual Recovery Institute, 55 percent of incarcerated sex offenders are diagnosable sex addicts. While the disease is progressive, not everyone with a sexual addiction resorts to predatory behaviors. Because of the shame and stigma, the majority of sex addicts do not seek treatment. Many don't even realize they have a problem. Most people with an addiction remain in denial until a significant event forces them to face the issue. This could include getting caught in an extramarital affair, losing one's job or spouse, or being arrested. If you believe you, or someone you care about, could have a sexual addiction, talk to a trusted friend or professional. There are many organizations dedicated to helping sexual addicts, including treatment centers and sex addicts anonymous.More »
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It sounds silly, but you could be addicted to the internet. Would you know the signs if you saw them? Check out this video for more information on internet addiction.
Transcript: Who hasn't spent countless hours surfing the web? From checking email, to updating your Facebook page...
Who hasn't spent countless hours surfing the web? From checking email, to updating your Facebook page or chatting with people through message boards and instant messaging to playing games and shopping. But when does loving the internet become internet addiction? There's almost nothing we can't do from the comfort of our computers now. And for some people, that's the problem. Since the web went mainstream in the 90s, internet use has skyrocketed. We use it in schools, work, at home and even on the go, in our car, at the airport, or at the grocery store. With just about everyone being online at all hours of the day, it's hard to know what's normal and what's excessive. Some reports suggest that five to 10 percent of the population is hooked on the Internet. Though it's not yet recognized as a psychological disorder by the medical community, compulsive internet use is a problem that can interfere with school, work, relationships and daily life. Spending a lot of time on the internet is not inherently bad, of course. You may need it for work, or school research, or for keeping in touch with family and friends who are abroad. But if it is taking over your life and keeping you from interacting with the real world, you could have an addiction. So what are some of the signs of Internet addiction? You feel guilty about your computer use, and neglect family, friends or responsibilities in order to spend time online; When you are not on the computer, you think about it frequently, and try to figure out ways you can get access to the internet; You look for ways to get online from school, work or family events; You feel anxious, irritable or depressed when you can't be on the internet; You lie to family and friends about how much time you're spending online; You try to limit your time on the computer and usually fail. Some people are more susceptible to internet dependence than others. People who are at greater risk for internet addiction include: Those with depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. People with other addictions, including sex, porn, and gambling addictions. People who are lonely, feel like they have few friends, or can't get out of the house to socialize. If you think you spend too much time on the internet, but aren't sure if you have an addiction, try to cut back on your use. Schedule time with friends and family members. Invite them out for coffee or a walk and leave your iPhone or Blackberry at home. Give yourself set hours where you are allowed to use the internet. Make a list of your must-dos, like responding to emails or paying your bills and get those done first. Set a timer, and make sure you get off when your time is up. If efforts to cut back on your internet use fail, talk to a mental health professional. Chances are, you have an internet addiction that needs medical attention.More »
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Sex addiction is just as damaging and risky as other types of addiction. Seeking sex addiction treatment is crucial for people caught up in this whirlpool. Learn treatment options by watching this video.
Transcript: Sex addiction is a compulsive dependence on shameful, secretive or abusive sexual behavior. So how is...
Sex addiction is a compulsive dependence on shameful, secretive or abusive sexual behavior. So how is this addiction treated? Like drug addicts or alcoholics, sex addicts will try to deny, rationalize or justify their behavior in order to keep engaging in destructive activities. Because they're in denial, sex addicts often won't recognize or admit they have a problem until their life turns completely upside down. Usually it takes a monumental event, losing one's job, getting arrested, contracting a life-threatening STD or getting a divorce to force a sex addict to seek help. Sexual addiction treatment programs use many of the same approaches used in other addiction recovery facilities. The main difference is that sexual addicts do not practice abstinence, the way other addicts avoid engaging what it is they're addicted to. Treatment instead focuses on controlling the addictive behavior and learning how to develop a healthy sexuality. Sometimes people with sexual addictions may choose to attend an inpatient or residential treatment for several weeks. This can help recovering addicts stay away from people, images, or situations that might trigger compulsive sexual behavior. Treatment includes education about their disease, individual counseling, and, sometimes, marital or family counseling. People with sex addictions often have unresolved emotional issues from their past. It takes trust and time to work through these emotions. Talk therapy can help treat emotional disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, which often occur with addiction. According to psychiatrist John Sealy, who treats sex addiction, 80 percent of sex addicts were abused as children. If you, or someone you care about, are coping with sex addiction or unresolved issues from the past, an in patient residential treatment center will allow medical professionals to treat all of your symptoms - which can greatly impact your chances of recovery. Support groups and 12 step recovery programs are also available for people with sexual addictions. Within these programs, members are asked to: admit that they are powerless over their addiction, and that their life has become unmanageable; seek help from a power greater than themselves; do a complete moral inventory and identify their character defects; show humility and strength in weakness; and make amends to those whom they've have harmed. Addicts work on each step with a sponsor and regularly attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. The healing process can take time, both for the sex addict and those affected by the addict's behavior, but only by committing to get better, can the opportunity to build a future full of meaningful, loving relationships be realized.More »
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Painkiller dependency and addiction are not not quite the same things. Watch this video to learn more about the difference.
Transcript: Many prescription painkillers can be addictive, especially those that belong to the opioid family, like...
Many prescription painkillers can be addictive, especially those that belong to the opioid family, like codeine, morphine, oxycontin, demerol and vicodin. While useful as pain medication, these drugs have also come to be recreationally used and abused. Understandably, many patients who take prescription painkillers worry about their risk of addiction. If one has to be on a pain medication prescription for an extended period of time, like a few months or years, he or she may notice a development of tolerance to the drug. But tolerance is not the same thing as addiction. When one is exposed to substances like prescription painkillers on a regular basis, your body adjusts to them. The liver learns how to process the medication more efficiently. And the brain requires a greater amount of the drug in order to achieve the same pain-relieving results. But just because one needs a higher dose of pain medication does not mean that one is addicted. Having said that, some people are at a greater risk of addiction and medication abuse. That includes: people who have a history of substance abuse; people who have family members with addiction problems; and people with a history of mental illness. You should let your doctor know immediately if you fall into one of these high-risk groups. He or she may try to find a less-addicting alternative medication that works for you. Patients who take opioids for long periods of time will likely develop a tolerance to the drug, and may even develop a physical dependence. What that means is, your body is used to getting a certain amount of drugs, and depends on it for its day-to-day functioning. Abruptly stopping your medication could lead to physical symptoms of withdrawal, like anxiety, insomnia, flu-like symptoms and irritability. While it might sound scary, it's nothing to be alarmed by, so long as you are working with your physician and taking your medication exactly as prescribed. People who take prescribed narcotics are generally under close medical supervision, for good reason. Should you and your doctor decide to discontinue your medication, your physician will help you develop a tapering-off plan, to minimize any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you have developed a tolerance or dependency to your prescription, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Let your doctor know immediately, and don't increase your dosage without consulting your physician. It is extremely important to keep your doctor in the loop on any and all physical or emotional signs of dependence or addiction.More »
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Gambling addiction can be treated with therapy, counseling and support groups. Find out more about this psychological disorder by watching this video.
Transcript: Compulsive gambling is an illness that often gets worse over time. And while it can't be cured, it can...
Compulsive gambling is an illness that often gets worse over time. And while it can't be cured, it can be managed. Unlike drug or alcohol addictions, gambling addiction, or compulsive gambling, is a behavioral addiction called an "impulse-control disorder." In other words, people who have a gambling problem can't control their impulse, or urge, to gamble even when they know that their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones. People with gambling problems become more and more preoccupied with gambling until it's all they can think about. They might gamble online at the office when they're supposed to be working; or skip out on work altogether to hit the casino or racetrack. It carries into their home life, and can put a huge wall between them and their loved ones. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they're up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Even when they know the odds are against them, even when they can't afford to lose, people with a gambling addiction can't "stay off the bet." Compulsive gamblers often go after increasingly bigger wins and higher stakes, as that raises the level of the thrill. Sometimes, though, compulsive gamblers, in an attempt to recoup their losses, may gamble until they've spent their last dollar, and then move on to money they don't have money to pay bills, credit cards, or things for their children. Most compulsive gamblers will go into serious debt, and sell off belongings in order to fuel their addiction. But even if a person's gambling hasn't reached that level, or isn't completely out of control, one could still have a gambling problem. If it disrupts a person's life in any way, it's important for that person to seek help before it becomes worse. Gambling addiction like other behavioral addictions, are sometimes referred to as "hidden illnesses." That's because there are no obvious physical signs or symptoms of addiction, like there can be with drugs or other substances. Like substance abusers, compulsive gamblers will go to great lengths to hide their problem; often lying about where they've been or how much money they spent. They may sneak around, avoid loved ones, or stop going to work. They may even steal from other people to help pay off their gambling debts. The first step towards recovery is admitting that there is a problem. This takes a lot of courage, especially if gambling has taken a toll on one's financial and personal life, especially if a person has to own up to debt that jeopardizes their family. While not easy, it is the start on the path to getting better. And by admitting that there is a problem, those who worried about the person suffering from gambling addiction can begin to help. Compulsive gambling may seem like something one can just quit on their own, but it's key to understand that it's not that easy. Gambling addiction is a real disease that requires real intervention and treatment. However, the good news is that recovery is possible. If you think that you, or a loved one, may be struggling with a gambling addiction, seek out a mental health professional for help!More »
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Do you feel your nose is too big and plastic surgery can make it perfect? It is a growing trend which can be addictive. To know more about plastic surgery addiction, watch this video.
Transcript: We all have things we would change about ourselves if we could. Maybe we think our nose is too big. Or...
We all have things we would change about ourselves if we could. Maybe we think our nose is too big. Or we wish we didn't have so many wrinkles. Some people turn to cosmetic surgery to fix these perceived flaws, and SOME end up getting addicted to cosmetic surgery. With so much emphasis put on beauty, it can be hard not to let one's self-esteem get wrapped up in one's looks. And with plastic surgery becoming common, it's not unrealistic to think you can change whatever you don't like about your body. Reality TV shows, like "Extreme Makeover" and "The Swan," showed people that if you couldn't learn to love yourself, you could just get a new look. But once some people go under the knife, they can't seem to stop. Driven by a need to look perfect, or banish their bad feelings about themselves, some people develop an addiction to cosmetic surgery. This compulsive need for perfection usually comes from a negative body image or low self-esteem. When the first round of nips and tucks don't fix the insecurity a person with this condition feels on the inside, they might think the solution is more surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), two-thirds of patients have had more than one cosmetic procedure. Because plastic surgery is expensive, addictions usually run rampant among socialites, actors and actresses, and any wealthy person who is in the spotlight. People with emotional disorders or other addictions are FAR more likely to become addicted to plastic surgery than other people. Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, is a psychological condition that affects many people with bulimia, anorexia or plastic surgery addictions. People with BDD have an extreme preoccupation with their looks especially their perceived flaws. 75% of people with BDD seek out cosmetic procedures to change how they look. Hollywood has its fair share of stars who've had dozens of procedures. It's believed that Michael Jackson, who underwent countless plastic surgeries, suffered from body dysmorphic disorder. Another celebrity who is thought to suffer from BDD and cosmetic surgery addiction is reality TV star Heidi Montag. Though she insists she's not a plastic surgery addict, the 23-year-old has recently made tabloids for undergoing 10 procedures that make her barely recognizable. Among the things she's had done: a second breast augmentation to triple-Ds, chin reduction, eyebrow lift, had ears pinned back, as well as a second nose job. Though she plans on having more work done, she has maxed out her legal limit. Rock star Courtney Love dazzled the world with her glamorous new look, which included a nose job, breast implants and bigger lips. She has openly admitted to having several procedures, including various botched ones. If you believe you, or someone you know, has a compulsive need for plastic surgery, please talk to a medical professional right away.More »
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Shoplifting may seem intriguing at first…that is, until it becomes more than occasional. Watch this video to find out if kleptomania is problem you should be worried about.
Transcript: Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the U.S. According to the National Association for Shoplifting...
Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in the U.S. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, more than half a million shoplifting crimes occur every day, totaling more than $35 million dollars in stolen goods. Experts estimate 3 million Americans are addicted to shoplifting. And research shows that one in eleven people are shoplifters, and that as many as 90 percent of us have shoplifted at least once in our lives! Some people shoplift because they don't have enough money to buy food or clothes. Other people shoplift as a game, to see what they can get away with. Others try it in adolescence, as another form of experimentation or rebellion. And others do it because they can't stop. Though not recognized as an official medical condition, compulsive shoplifting and kleptomania is considered a problem. There are even support groups and treatment centers for such addictions, including CASA (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous). According to compulsive stealing expert, and former shoplifting addict, Terrence Shulman, people with a compulsive shoplifting problem have repressed anger issues. They often have other compulsive behaviors as well, such as overeating, shopping, drug use, or gambling. They steal to make themselves feel better, or to escape other problems. It is a disease that stems from depression, low self-esteem or anger. They don't usually steal out of greed or for profit. Usually, they don't care about the financial worth of the objects they are taking. It is the act of shoplifting they find fulfilling-at least for the moment. After stealing, people with compulsive shoplifting tendencies tend to fall into a spiral of self-loathing. Even when they're caught, they often can't stop. Many compulsive shoplifters face fines, legal fees and jail-but what most people suffering from this issue need is therapy, to kick the addiction. Some signs of compulsive shoplifting may include: getting a high or rush from stealing, using shoplifting to cope with anger, frustration, bad moods or disappointment, lying to hide the shoplifting habit, problems at work or home because of shoplifting, and trying to stop shoplifting and not being able to. It is possible to recover from a shoplifting addiction, but trying to stop on your own usually doesn't work. If you believe you, or someone you know, has a problem with shoplifting, speak with a mental health professional, or contact your local shoplifters anonymous chapter.More »
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Are you a "Chocoholic"? Although chocolate addiction is not an addiction in the true sense of the term, the craving can be certainly strong. Watch our video to know more.
Transcript: Chocolate is the most craved food among women and men have been known to be pretty obsessed, too! But...
Chocolate is the most craved food among women and men have been known to be pretty obsessed, too! But can a person be addicted to chocolate? When people crave chocolate, or any other specific food, it is not usually born of genuine hunger. Instead, cravings are often related to external stimuli, like a party or holiday, or to emotions, like boredom, anxiety, and sadness. After satiating a craving for chocolate, many people report feeling happier. In many women, the craving occurs on a monthly cycle, which suggests a hormonal basis. This partly explains the cravings common in seasonal affective disorder and pre-menstrual syndrome. The reason for this may be that foods high in sugar and fat, like chocolate, cause a person's brain to release a flood of serotonin, which is a brain chemical responsible for positive thoughts and pleasurable sensations. In addition, Northwestern University Researchers found that self-proclaimed "chocoholics " experienced increased blood flow to certain parts of the brain, particularly the orbital frontal cortex and midbrain. Researchers note that these are the came areas associated with addictive drugs like alcohol and cocaine. And it is also a fact that people who claim to be addicted to chocolate are more likely to be addicted to: alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, and sex. Still, most experts agree that chocolate is not addictive in the true sense of the word, which is to be physically or psychologically dependent on something. After all, the feel-good chemicals present in chocolate are significantly lower than those in less craved foods, like broccoli. It's more likely that chocolate cravings stem from the fact that the treat is highly desirable, yet-for health reasons-should be eaten with restraint. Over-enthusiastic chocolate fans may benefit from analyzing why they want to eat, and then taking steps to address the real problem. For example, a bored person could play cards, while a sad one might call a friend. "Chocoholics" may also consume less if they keep chocolate out of the house, and stock up on healthy, easy-to-grab snacks as replacements. Chocolate fiends may even find that regular exercise reminds them of the chocolate "high," as physical activity releases similar "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. In the end, remember: chocolate won't kill you, but it won't extend your life, either! Consume in moderation.More »
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Recovery from any addiction is a lifelong process. Watch our video, Keys to Successful Recovery From Addiction, for advice on steps to take to start a new, healthier lifestyle.
Transcript: In order to recover from an addiction, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors must change. An addict will need...
In order to recover from an addiction, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors must change. An addict will need to learn how to live again, in a way that does not support alcohol or drug use. Recovery is a lifelong process that will take constant vigilance. One will need to work on repairing existing relationships and building new, healthy ones. Most importantly, it means healing from within. Learning how to really love oneself and deal with the difficult emotions and situations that impelled the substance or activity abuse. The first step: admitting that there is a problem in the first place. Without relinquishing the denial, recovery cannot begin. Getting sober and going through treatment doesn't end when your time in rehab is over. If anything, that's when the real challenge begins. When you leave a supervised program, it's up to the individual to remain sober. But that doesn't mean that one needs to do this alone. In fact, if it can be helped, one should never do it alone. Find support from friends, family members, recovering addicts, counselors, or people in your church or community. Building a strong support system is essential to remaining in recovery. Peer support programs and self-help groups are an invaluable way to find comfort, stability, guidance and encouragement. Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is one of the most widely established and well-known self-help groups for alcoholics and addicts. Though people with any addiction can attend AA meetings, one may feel more comfortable with a 12-step program that caters to the specific addiction. These include narcotics anonymous, cocaine anonymous, marijuana anonymous, crystal meth anonymous, gamblers anonymous, overeaters anonymous and sexaholics anonymous. With over 30 programs modeled after the 12-step traditions of AA, one should be able to find a program for the specific addiction. One of the keys to working a successful 12-step program involves getting a sponsor, a former addict in the program, who can share his or her experiences about getting sober.12-step programs aren't just about going to meetings they also require one to take a personal inventory and dig deep within oneself to figure out why one started using in the first place. Accepting one's flaws and learning how to live with them without turning to alcohol, drugs or abusive activities is the aim of recovery. If you are trying to recover from an addiction, and feel the urge to drink or use, your sponsor is the first person you call. This teaches you to reach out instead of trying to handle your cravings or personal struggles alone. Group support programs also allow you to meet a lot of new people striving for sobriety. In the beginning especially, you will find recovery easier if you have other sober friends that you can hang out with. This is your opportunity to make new friends, find new interests and hobbies and surround yourself with positive people. By doing these things, you give yourself the greatest chance at lifelong recovery and happiness.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Did you know that 90 percent of American kids play video games and about 15 percent may have video game addiction? Learn more about this addiction here in this video.
Transcript: More and more, kids (and even adults) are spending excessively long hours holed up in their bedroom or...
More and more, kids (and even adults) are spending excessively long hours holed up in their bedroom or den playing video games. They forego dinner, forget about their friends, don't answer the phone, and lose sleep at night because they can't stop gaming. Video games, for some, can be just as addicting as gambling or even sex. Though not an "addiction" in the true sense of the word, video game addiction is considered a clinical impulse control disorder meaning, those who suffer from it have no control over their urges. According to the American Medical Association, up to 90 percent of American kids play video games and as many as 15 percent of them may be addicted. People who are addicted to video games have the uncontrollable urge to spend more and more time playing in order to get the same kind of rush that they used to. Eventually, it can become a compulsive act that the person no longer derives the same pleasure from, but it's so ingrained, they can't stop. They may even experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anger, violence, or depression. People who are addicted to gaming often fall into it as an escape from "real" life, or use it to cope with emotional disorders. People with gaming addictions can escape into a virtual world and forget about the real one. Kids who are unpopular at school can use role-playing games to be anything they want. It's a fantasy world, where they can be popular or in charge. It grants them control when they may otherwise feel powerless. Eventually their fantasy world may become more important to them than their real life. People with gaming addictions can spend more than five hours a day playing video games. When you spend that much time on the computer or using video games, there isn't much time for other things, like relationships, friendships, school or homework, extracurricular activities or work. It takes over your whole life. Spending an excessive amount of time playing video games doesn't necessarily mean you're an addict. Here are some warning signs to gauge whether you, or someone you know, might be an addict: thinking about gaming when you're supposed to be focusing on other things, like one's job, doing homework, or spending time with family. Spending more time playing games than doing anything else. Withdrawing from friends, family, or one's spouse to the point of disrupting family, social, or work life. Lying to friends or family about how you've been spending your time, and downplaying how much time you do spend gaming. Losing sleep or getting up in the middle of the night to play video games, or being unable to sleep because you can't stop thinking about gaming. Experiencing feelings of anger, depression, moodiness, anxiety, or restlessness when not gaming. If you think there might be a problem, there probably is. Talk to a mental health professional to find help in your area.More »
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Anyone can become addicted to drugs, alcohol or even sex -- it crosses all nationalities and socieconomic groups. But some people are more predisposed to addictions than others. Watch this video to learn more about genetics and addiction.
Transcript: No matter how old you are, how much money you make, or what color your skin is, you can develop an addiction....
No matter how old you are, how much money you make, or what color your skin is, you can develop an addiction. Everyone, from low-income single moms to middle-class straight-A students. from rock stars like Amy Winehouse, to media personalities like Rush Limbaugh can succumb to addiction. Millions of American will become addicted to a substance or behavior in their lifetime. And while we're all technically at risk, there are certain factors that make some of us more susceptible to addiction than others. Consider it a product of nature and nurture. Genes and environment both play a role in deciding who will develop an addiction-and who will not. Let's start with genetics. If a close family relative, like your mom, dad, sister or grandparent, has a problem with addiction, you are at greater risk, too. But how much greater? Scientists estimate that genes are a critical component of a person's vulnerability to addiction. But that means that there is also a key component of withstanding the potential of addiction that lies within a person's own hands. So even if you have so-called "addiction genes" in your family, you are not destined to become an addict. But you do have to be more careful when it comes to using and abusing substances. A few things that have been shown to help safeguard against future addictive behaviors include: A stable family life and close relationship with one's parents, sit-down family meals, and adequate parental involvement and supervision, can all help to keep kids off the path of addiction. Of course, we can't blame our parents for everything. It's probably no surprise that whom we hang out with can greatly determine whether we'll begin using addictive substances. If our friends get into drugs, alcohol, dangerous dieting or sex, chances are, we will too. Junior high and high school are times of sometimes intense peer pressure; it can feel much easier to go along with the crowd rather than find new friends. Perhaps that's why adolescents are at greater risk of addiction. Another high-risk group are those with psychological conditions like: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD, who often turn to drugs, alcohol or other mood-altering activities in order to escape their feelings. Identifying and treating symptoms of these and other psychological conditions early on can help prevent people from self-medicating with illegal substances. Even if none of these risk factors apply, that doesn't mean one is immune to addiction. Certain substances and behaviors, like cocaine and heroin, are more addictive than others. Remember that the only way you can avoid addiction for sure is by not abusing substances or behaviors in the first place.More »
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