5 Common Addictions in America

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You have probably heard of people becoming addicted to a wide variety of things. Many of these addictions, like watching too much television, are often relatively harmless. However, addictions to things like drugs and alcohol can be devastating to the addicted person. 

1- Tobacco

Nicotine addiction may not seem as serious as some of the other addictions on the list. However, the use of tobacco costs more lives each year in America than any other addictions.

Many people fail to see the danger of tobacco use because the negative effects develop over time. The problem is compounded for individuals who struggle with an addiction to tobacco products because these products are both inexpensive and very easy to obtain. 

If you desire to stop smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products and cannot, it is a good sign that you are addicted. 

2-Alcohol

Alcohol addiction is difficult to spot at times because drinking is a social norm in America. A report by the World Health Organization explains alcohol is a contributing factor to at least 60 injuries and diseases. These negative consequences of alcohol consumption include automobile accidents, liver disease, and acts of violence. 

Researchers have not been able to isolate the ‘alcoholism’ gene but feel the condition is more closely related to genetics than any other addiction. Alcohol is also inexpensive and can be purchased at most stores. 

Overconsumption of alcohol has been known to cause alcohol overdoses which can result in the loss of life. 

3- Prescription Painkillers

Americans who experience pain due to illness or medical procedures are often prescribed drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin. The fact that these medications are prescribed by physicians causes many people to mistakenly believe there is no risk for addiction. 

Prescription painkillers are dangerous because addiction can arise from levels of use that are relatively moderate. In most cases, the person taking the painkillers will not be conscious of a problem until they try to stop taking the medicines. 

Persons addicted to painkillers will look for other ways to satisfy their needs for the drugs once their own prescriptions are exhausted. Two ways they do this is by obtaining painkillers from other people or seek illicit drugs on the street. 

4- Caffeine

Most adults in the United States indulge in caffeine in some form. This caffeine can be present in coffee, chocolate, soda, or energy drinks. Many of these adults will tell you of the discomfort they feel on days they do not get their daily dose of caffeine. 

Caffeine is a stimulant and is believed to be the most psychoactive drug used in America. This means that care and moderation should be exercised with caffeine usage. 

Caffeine, like other drugs, stimulates dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that affects motivation, emotions, and movement. Increased dopamine production caused the person to feel more alert and energetic. 

The person who decides to stop consuming caffeine products does not face the dangers involved with quitting many other addictive substances. 

5- Internet

Addictions to the internet do not involve the act of ingesting intoxicants or other products in the body. These addictions are instead an impulse control disorder. Attachment to the internet can form as users become more invested in the friends they make online and the games and activities they enjoy on the web. 

The conflicts with family, work, and finances that are seen with other addictions also affect internet addicts. The internet addict will often see their real-life relationships suffer greatly. 

Internet addicts are often seen as awkward and live their lives in seclusion. If you or someone close suspect an internet addiction may be present, attempt to disconnect totally for three days. If the person is unable to stay away from the internet for this amount of time, an addiction probably exists. 

The five common addictions listed above each present their own unique challenges to the addicted individual. The good news is that once identified, addictive behaviors can be modified. The keys are to be honest with yourself about any possible addiction and make a real effort to end the addictive behaviors.

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Kevin Schultz is a professional journalist with over 15 years of writing and media experience. He is a full-time contributor to the Themocracy Online News Blog and his insightful writing has been enjoyed by thousands.