Getting hooked

Getting Hooked

Learn about the common types of addictions among young adults and how they get ‘hooked’

When you hear of the word ‘addiction’, what are the types of addiction that come to your mind? Alcohol? Drugs? Smoking?

Alcohol and drug addiction as well as smoking are some of the common addictions that are often highlighted in the media. However, that is not a comprehensive list. Anybody can be addicted to anything (literally) from food to even doing household chores! For young adults, some of the most common addictions are shopping, caffeine, video games and food.

An addictive behaviour

Addiction is a chronic disorder whereby a person develops an uncontrollable habit of engaging in a particular activity or using a certain type of substance which is found to be pleasurable. Addiction occurs when such a behaviour becomes compulsive and gets in the way of relationships, work, health or other life responsibilities.

An addiction greatly impacts the life of the individual as well as his or her loved ones.  Addiction can break a loving family apart, ruin relationships and even cause unemployment.

Anyone can fall into addiction and become and addict. More often than not, the impression many of us have of an addicted person is someone who looks frail, dirty, unpresentable and homeless or not very well to do.

However, this is not always the case. Individuals dressed in suits and ties and those who have a well-paying professional career could be addicts too.

Here are some of the types of addictions that many young adults struggle with:

Shopping addiction

Ever read the book series Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella? The main character (Rebecca Bloomwood) is a classic example of a person with a shopping addiction. A shopping addict, also known as a shopaholic, is a person who makes retail purchases compulsively, be it online or in a physical store and who feel like they have no control over their behaviour. According to psychology website, PsychGuides, there are several types of shopaholics. Some of these include ‘compulsive shopaholics’ who are people who shop when they are emotionally distressed and ‘bargain seekers’ who purchase items that may not be necessary just because they are on sale.

Signs: Some of the signs that you may have a shopping addiction include spending more than you can afford, turning to shopping as way to deal with anger or sadness and having problems in your relationships with others due to your compulsive shopping habits.

Side effects: The effects of a shopping addiction can range from financial issues such as being overwhelmed with debt and maximising all your credit cards to personal issues such as getting divorced and isolating yourself from your loved ones due to the effects of your shopping addiction.

Video game addiction

Video game addiction has yet to be classified as a diagnosable disorder by the American Medical Association. Nonetheless, it is a very serious problem especially among young adults. A study conducted by the University of New Mexico suggests that between six to 15 percent of video gamers exhibit signs of video gaming addiction.

Signs: You may have a video game addiction if you feel restless or irritated when you’re unable to play, or if you find yourself lying to friends or family about the amount of time you spend playing video games. You may also feel like isolating yourself from others just so that you can play more video games.

Side effects: A video game addiction may have an emotional and a physical impact. If you are an addict you may experience sleep disorders, a diet-related health issue (as you may avoid having a proper meal) and you may even lose friends or experience strained relationships with your family members. In the long run, video game addiction can affect your social life, academics and career.

Caffeine addiction

Do you rely on a dose of caffeine first thing in the morning and then the minute you reach school or work, you get yourself another cup of coffee and perhaps another two, three or more cups during the day? If this is you, you could be hooked on caffeine!

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that ‘gives you a kick’, helps you stay alert during the day and feel more energetic. Generally, about three 250 milliliter cups of caffeine daily is considered to be alright but exceeding this amount might lead to adverse effects.

Signs: The symptoms of caffeine addiction include frequent headaches, having difficulty focusing on your tasks, being unable to resist caffeine despite being told to by a doctor and having difficulties reducing your daily caffeine intake.

Side effects: Excessive caffeine can damage your health. It can cause irregular heartbeat and seizure. Consuming high amounts of caffeine can also affect your digestive health and cause insomnia.

Social media addiction

How much of time do you spend on social media every day? Social media is easily accessible via your laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet. Plus, with the fast-paced world of social media, it is easy to get hooked as you discover new and interesting content each time your scroll. Although it may seem harmless enough, social media can have a string adverse effects on your health if you get addicted.

Signs: If your phone is the first thing you pick up after you wake up and the first application you tap on is a social media application, this is already a sign that you could be a social media addict. Other signs include grabbing for your phone to check on social media the minute you finish your meal or even being on social media while you put your children to bed.

Side effects:  Social media addiction can reduce your productivity tremendously. Being hooked on social media for long hours can cause you to struggle with a list of unfinished tasks and missed deadlines. You may also forget your responsibilities and gain weight as you will have no time to exercise. Besides that, it will can affect relationships you have with the people around you as you spend more time with your phone than interacting with the people in your life.

Stop the addiction

At times, a person may not realise that he or she is addicted to something. There are countless possible reasons why a young adult can fall into addiction. This may include pressure from peers or simply because they love the thrill and pleasure of an activity or substance and become addicted.

Addiction is a serious problem and if you or someone you love has an addiction, it is important to seek help from a health expert such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. There are many ways to tackle the issue of addiction. From counselling to medication – it all depends on the root cause which your doctor will identify.

As young adults, it is not the end of the road if you find yourself addicted to something. Speak to someone you trust, get help and support from the people you love and you will are likely to recover fairly quickly.

Got an addiction?

Addiction is a serious problem but fortunately, help is readily available. If you would like to make a change in your life, here is a list of centres you can get in touch with:

Rekindle Therapy

03-6201 7488

FreeLife ™

03 – 2727 7434

Solace Sabah

1- 800 – 886 – 147

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