Alarming behavioral addiction facts that you should know
The most important thing that you should know about behavioral addiction is that it is a dangerous slope. People can start on a road to behavioral addiction and very quickly find themselves sliding uncontrollably into highly dangerous territory that can have huge and negative consequences on:
- Social relationships.
- Personal life.
- Career and
- Mental balance as well.
Why is it important to identity behavioral addiction early?
One of the biggest reasons why people should identify behavioral addiction really early is because it can avert bigger problems. Also, many a time people may not even know or acknowledge that they have problems. And this is one of the first alarming facts that you must know about behavioral addiction.
Acknowledgement of the problem
Most behavioral addicts do not know that they have a problem. This is because behavioral addiction is all about being addicted to an activity and not to a substance. Behavioral addiction can take on forms such as addiction:
- Risky sports,
- Internet and so on.
And for most addicts, this is just a way of life. For instance, if you know someone is addicted to high-risk activities and you ask them about it, they will probably simply tell you that it is their ‘passion’ for fast cars and not an ‘addiction’.
How many suffer from it?
Behavioral addiction is more common than you may think. Take some important statistics culled from various sources:
- Just a few years ago 68% of the US population age 20 and older was either overweight or obese – this is a clear indication of food addiction.
- Furthermore, 20% of children age 6-11 are obese as well.
- Scientists consider sexual addiction as a large enough category by itself to study it in greater depth.
- Gambling addiction has also risen and anywhere up to 3% of the population has significant or serious gambling problems.
Gambling addiction takes a toll
People can gamble anywhere and at any time. There is the world of virtual gambling and gambling in the real world as well. So truly, a gambling addict can get their fix anytime of the day. Statistics for online gambling addiction indicates that 1% of the population suffers from pathological gambling and anywhere between 2 to 3% of the population have to deal with problem gambling. According to the University of New York; almost as many as 750,000 people between the ages of 14 and 21 have a gambling problem. College gambling is a huge problem to deal with.
Furthermore, problems associated with gambling are on the rise as well. For instance, Georgia State University says that at least 50% of people affected by this gambling addiction commit crimes in order to sustain their habit.
And then there is a whole bunch of associated problems and disorders too. For instance, gambling addiction has resulted in PTSD for up to 29% of problem gamblers. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro also states that gamblers can also suffer from personality disorders and depression and substance abuse as well.
Co-existence of problems
This is another fact that you should know. Behavioral addiction is often a part of a bigger eco-system of problems and ailments. For instance, most addicts also exhibit:
- High anxiety.
- Psychotic disorders – sometimes going up to schizophrenia.
- Paranoia and so on.
Substance abuse and undertaking risky behaviors and making dangerous decisions to support a process of behavioral addiction is also par for the course. A study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 8.4 million American adults who had a substance abuse problem also had a mental health condition.
The issue that one has to deal with is the question of what is causing the problem. Is it depression that is leading a behavior addict to porn addiction or do they get depressed because they are addicts? Either way – it is a vicious cycle.
The usual suspects of behavioral addiction are food, gambling, sex and shopping. But thanks to the growth of technologies such as the internet, people have also become addicted to:
- Online shopping,
- Online gambling,
- Web surfing,
- Social media,
- Video games and
- Cybersex and so on.
Here is the problem area though – a lot of us use social media apps on our smartphones. So where is the line between ‘keeping in touch with friends’ and ‘cannot take my eyes off my phone’? This is rather alarming because it can affect virtually any age group.
Withdrawal symptoms are also a huge concern for behavioral addiction. These symptoms are not limited to only drug or alcohol users. Behavioral addicts can go through severe withdrawal symptoms as well. So it is relevant to say that behavioral addiction is something to be taken seriously because its ramifications are far and wide. They can affect anybody and they need professional or intense personal care to come out of it.
Author: Pankaj Deb