Most Common Addictions in the US

Addictions have been around since the beginning of documented history. From the medieval ages to the beginnings of the United States, people have discovered, abused, and recovered from a wide range of vices and addictions. 

With major technological advances in the past 20 years accelerating accessibility, convenience, and craft, some old addictions have persisted, while others are in their beginning stages. 

Most Common Addictions 

Different substances of abuse may have a range of effects on the mind and body. However, any addiction is all-encompassing, overpowering one’s emotional, physical, and mental state. 

The most common addictions in the U.S. are:

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common addictions. 

Substance Abuse 

The biggest addiction America faces is drugs and alcohol. In 2018, approximately 23 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder. Out of these 23 million, 14.8 million people had issues with alcohol, while 8.1 million had troubles with other drugs. 

Despite being legal and sold at events and supermarkets, alcohol has the potential to do immense harm to the body, specifically the liver, kidneys, and heart. Even in moderation, alcohol can damage the body, and affect your mental health. 

Drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines work stronger and faster in the brain. Their effects are felt within minutes and the risk of addiction is greater. 

This is one reason why these drugs have been illegal. However, it has not made accessibility harder; a thriving black market keeps these drugs well stocked for those seeking them. 

Gambling Addiction

Gambling is synonymous with vacation spots like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Tourists go to these places to play exciting games of chance like blackjack, roulette, and poker. In many cases, gambling is only done in these predetermined places.

Pathological and problem gamblers may take it a step further, finding underground gambling rooms or online sites to play games of chance 24/7 or bet large on the latest trending sports events. 

A combined 3.1% of the population is estimated to be probable or potential compulsive gamblers sometime during their lives. These people will receive large sums of loaned money from friends, family, or loan sharks, spending it all gambling. 

Sex Addiction

Sex is a normal human function; however, it can also be abused, cause harm, and become an addiction when performed in excess. Compulsive sex behavior is characterized as any sexual act that hurts yourself, or others. 

This can be:

  • habitual infidelity
  • exhibiting high rates of masturbation that cause physical damage or doing it in socially unacceptable places
  • frequently having unprotected sex with multiple partners 
  • thinking or obsessing about sex all the time
  • becoming fixated on certain harmful sexual acts 

People with sex addiction often attend Sex Anonymous where they can find ways to cope with their habits and incorporate sex into their lives in normal and non-destructive ways. 

Cell Phone Addiction 

Cell phones are great tools for work, keeping up with friends and family, and connecting to others around the world for social and productive means. They make our lives much easier in many ways. 

However, they can cause distraction and stress through social media, online games, or endless access to TV and films. Cell phone addiction and psychological and physiological health in adolescents is especially of concern since smartphones are given to children at young ages. 

An overabundance of cell phone usage can cause anxiety, depression, and weakened social abilities. When people refer to their cell phones to deal with boredom or stress and find themselves vulnerable when they don’t have their phone, this can be a sign of addiction. 

Treating Addictions 

All of these addictions can be helped with group counseling or therapy. Twelve-step meetings, compulsive therapy counseling, and speaking with your doctor can start the journey of recovery. Start exploring a few of these options and help yourself or your loved one recover from addiction.