Chapter 5: Other Drugs and Addictions
By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
- Identify and summarize the addiction process and the characteristics thereof. (LO3)
- Explain the effects of addiction on individual, family, and community. (LO4)
This chapter will cover a few other addictive drugs, including inhalants, sports drugs, and other miscellaneous drugs; this chapter will also cover some other types of addictions like compulsive behaviors: gambling, shopping, hoarding, eating, sex, and internet-based addictions.
Inhalants include a wide range of substances and side effects and are inhaled through the nose or mouth. These substances include gasoline, lacquers, spray paints, glues, aerosols, paints, and cleaning fluids. In addition to the high, intoxicating feeling, users may also experience confusion, disorientation, nausea, fatigue, and other negative side effects (Queensland Government, 2018; Verma, 2011). These substances are easy to obtain and conceal, which promotes their use and addiction. This type of substance abuse occurs worldwide, no socioeconomic class or development status left unaffected (Verma, 2011).
Sports drugs, also called performance or appearance enhancing drugs are those are consumed to promote peak performance in sports but also increase cognitive and sexual performance (Zaami, 2021). Performance enhancing drugs are generally banned for ethical, health, and legal reasons (Queensland Government, 2021). Yet, this does not stop athletes from using them. Drugs like these are used to boost performance in that never-ending quest for greatness and winning. Commonly used drugs in this category include but are not limited to steroids, diuretics, and stimulants (Zaami, 2021). For more detailed information regarding performance enhancing drugs and how they work, review this journal article: Effects of Appearance – and Performance-Enhancing Drugs (2021). This article lists the following side effects that users of these drugs typically experience:
- Perceived power over others
- Higher self-esteem
- Better concentration
- Anxiety (up to and including psychosis)
- Brain chemistry permanently altered
- Personality changes
- Body Image Disturbance
Review the video below to learn how drugs affect an athlete and how it is a widespread concern. Additional videos are provided if you would like to learn more.
In attempts to become high or even improve health, alternative and miscellaneous drugs have been used around the world. Some of these miscellaneous drugs include: camel dung, embalming fluid, gasoline, kava, kratom, aerosol products, strychnine, and toad secretions (Inaba, 2011). Kava is highlighted below, but other drugs have been used in a similar manner.
Kava is a plant native to South Pacific areas. It has long been used, much like the other plant-based drugs discussed, for centuries in social events, medical treatments, and cultural situations. Typically the (Merriam, 2022; Bian, 2020) is mixed with water or coconut milk to produce its desired effects. It is a popular option to relieve anxiety and insomnia (Rowe, 2011; Biam, 2020). Generally, kava is well-tolerated, but it can be toxic in large doses. Kava users may experience skin reactions all over the body, headaches, tremors and twitches, seizures, and the typically upper-like feelings (Rowe, 2011; Bian, 2020). Learn more about Kava from this study out of New Zealand: New Study on Kava Drink-Drinking Shows Impact on Brain Function (2021).
Compulsive behaviors are fueled by the desire to avoid negative feelings. These behaviors are often habitual in nature and will even continue if there are negative outcomes (Choose Help, 2022)
There are two types of gambling addiction. The first is the problem gambler, which causes their family harm, but the person still generally has control of their behavior. (Lee, 2022). The other group is actually defined by the American Psychological Association (2022) as a impulse control disorder, called pathological gamblers. This person continues to gamble despite the negative consequence they’ve experiences. Typically, gambling is a progressive issue with no intervention. Research suggests that this disorder is related to dysfunction in the cognitive areas of the brain, where impulse behavior is controlled (Ioannidis, 2019; Choliz, 2021). Long-term, negative outcomes associated with pathological gambling include: reduced quality of life, increase risk of divorce (where applicable) (Holdsworth, 2013), bankruptcy/debt, and even prison (Ioanndis, 2019). Some researchers have gone so far to say that gambling, while legal, is a public health concern (Choliz, 2021).
In recent years, online or internet gambling (can also be called remote) has grown significantly. It is easily accessibly, immersive, and makes payment very simple. Internet gambling can be accessed on any device with internet availability, in nearly any location (Gainsbury, 2015). Feedback and interaction is immediate and engaging in this online world, increasing its popularity, but with it the risk of account safety and security, in addition to the other risks associated with gambling.
This disorder is consider addictive because it involves the same reward circuits as substance, to the point that the user must repeat the behavior. Moreover, it is conducted in environments that reinforce the behavior and the eventual addiction (Choliz, 2021).
Compulsive Buying and Shopping
Compulsive buying is also known as compulsive shopping and is considered a form of an impulse control disorder. As with most addictions, the act of buying or shopping may create positive feelings for the user at first, but overtime, there will be remorse, guilt, and other repercussions like debt, impaired social relationships, and even hoarding (Lee, 2022; Muller, 2021). Typically a disorder among women, this strong buying urge becomes apparent when a person is roughly twenty years old. Those that have this disorder may have comorbidities like substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and other compulsions (Lee, 2022).
Much like gambling, online shopping or buying seems to be a growing trend and may be its own sub-type of compulsive disorder (Muller, 2021). Online shopping shares many of the same components that compulsive, in-person shopping demonstrates, with more emphasis on ease of completing the transaction.
Hoarding is a compulsion that involves the gathering of items (generally trivial), storing them without clear organization. Usually collected into piles, the piles lead to a cluttered home to the point of distress or impaired functioning. The individual often feels extreme anxiety if asked to remove these items from living space (APA, 2022; Choose Help, 2022). Individuals save the items to avoid negative feelings (Vilaverde, 2017). This disorder is often present with other disorders like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Novara, 2016). Some research suggests that occupational therapy could resolve some of the challenges of hoarding. Read more from a 2019 study: Can Occupational Therapy Address the Occupational Implications of Hoarding?
Eating disorders are often very complex situations that all have these common components: food and weight issues. Sometimes these issues are caused by other factors including genetics, environment, peer pressure, emotional health (NAMI, 2022). Furthermore, there are conditions that make an individual pre-disposed for developing an eating disorder. Statistically, it is more likely that someone will have an eating disorder if a young female (roughly late teens to early 20s) (Harrison, 2022; NAMI, 2022; Qian, 2022). Individuals are also more likely to have a disorder if they have family history. Dieting, stress, and specific vocations/activities can also perpetuate the pre-disposition for an eating disorder. Regardless of the condition, these disorders impact psychological, physical, and social well-being of the individual (Harrison, 2022).
- Anorexia Nervosa. This disorder is often characterized by maintaining body weight through starvation or excessive exercise. Generally, individually with this disorder have a distorted body image called (APA, 2022; Lumen; NAMI, 2022).
- Binge Eating Disorder. This is a disorder characterized by extreme eating habits () and then distress because of the binge (Lumen; NAMI, 2022).
- Bulimia Nervosa. This disorder includes the binge eating from the previous disorder followed by (Lumen; NAMI, 2022)
Resource: National Eating Disorders Hotline Contact Information
Sexual Addiction is defined as persistent impaired functioning, where the individual is unable to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses. It becomes the focus of the individual’s life, eventually resulting in neglect of other important activities like health, hobbies, and responsibilities (Antons & Brand, 2021). (Note: are not included in this definition (APA, 2022)). Sex addiction involves pornography, masturbation, and risky sexual acquaintances in order to fulfill needs (Efrati, 2021; Edelweiss, 2021). And again, like some of the other disorders discussed in this chapter, online sexual opportunities (cyber sex) have grown in recent years (Blinka, 2022).
Finally, the last addiction to discuss in this chapter. There are different sub-types within this category including internet addiction, cyber sexual addiction, cyber-relationship addiction, information addiction, and computer games addiction and other related compulsions. Internet addiction is a pattern of excessive or obsessive online behavior that can lead to distress or impairment. The condition has grown in recent years due to the increase of social media and other forms of popular internet usage. There are some sub-types identified, but more research will need to be completed to determine true sub-types within this addictive disorder (APA, 2022). The COVID-19 pandemic seems to exacerbated the growing electronic addiction, at least in the United States with those who are urban, educated, employed, married, and 18-35 suffering the worst consequences (Khubchandani, 2021). Other research suggests that internet addiction is a growing public health concern in many Asian countries, the prevalence jumping five times more than it was prior to the pandemic (Dong, 2020). Those affected by this addiction often have other disorders like alcoholism, sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety (Moreno, 2022; Bai, 2022; Dresp-Langely & Hutt, 2022; Zhang, 2022). Read more about Digital Addiction and Sleep.
Strategies to combat this addiction include (Khubchandani, 2021):
- Set boundaries and adhere to them.
- Spend more time outside and/or with family
- Establish a healthy routine
- Regulate technology use
- Schedule technology breaks
- Find balance and practice mindfulness
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an elongated plant stem that is full of food material and acts like a plant with buds, nodes, and leaves. Rhizomes do have roots below in addition to the seen structures above the ground.
extreme dislike of a body feature that is not supported by evidence., sometimes so extreme that there is no evidence of this appearance.
large quantities of food eaten in a relatively short time span.
expelling food immediately after consumption either by vomiting or after the use of laxatives.
sexual excitement requires unusual or bizarre scenarios. This can be anything from bondage, to pain, rape, and others.