Addictive Disorder

By Ashima Gupta, Psychologist

An addictive disorder that entails excessive alcohol and/or drug usage includes addictive illnesses including substance abuse and dependency. Addiction is a chronic, recurrent disorder that develops over time.

Addiction disorders associated with substances are categorized under three major headings:

Drug Abuse

Using legal or illicit substances improperly is referred to as substance misuse, a mental disorder. It is an addictive disorder that describes a pattern of substance (typically drug or alcohol) use that causes significant issues or distress, such as skipping class, using drugs while operating a motor vehicle, experiencing legal issues related to the use of substances, or continuing to use substances that harm friendships and/or family ties.

Drugs Dependence

An addiction illness known as substance dependency explains the ongoing use of drugs or alcohol even after serious issues related to their usage have arisen. Increased tolerance, which means that larger doses of the substance are required to produce the desired effect, withdrawal symptoms with reduced use, ineffective attempts to cut back, increased time spent engaging in activities to obtain the substance, withdrawal from social and recreational activities, and continued substance use despite awareness of the physical or psychological issues brought on by the extent of substance use are all warning signs.

Chemical reliance

Another type of addiction illness is chemical dependency, which is characterized by compulsive use of substances (often drugs or alcohol) and an inability to quit using them in spite of the negative effects that their usage can have.

Teenagers with addiction illnesses in particular regularly abuse the following substances; however, this list is not exhaustive:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • steroids
  • Inhalants
  • Methamphetamine
  • Tobacco

Different symptoms may manifest differently in people with addiction disorders. The following are some typical signs of addictive disorders:

  • A habit of regularly abusing drugs or alcohol or becoming intoxicated
  • Lying, especially when it comes to how much they use or consume
  • avoiding your family and friends
  • giving up past interests, such as playing sports or spending time with people who don’t use,
  • talking frequently about abusing booze or drugs
  • believing that they must use or consume alcohol in order to have fun
  • forcing others to use or consume
  • Getting into legal trouble
  • taking chances, such example by driving while intoxicated or taking sexual risks
  • being fired from a job or being suspended or expelled from school as a result of a substance-related occurrence
  • Absence from job or school as a result of drug use
  • Depression, hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide


Addiction is treatable, but there are different paths to recovery. Relapses are common, thus the process could take some time. Commonly employed treatment modalities include the following:

Psychotherapy: To address thought and behavior patterns that fuel addictions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used. Other therapies that might be used include group therapy, family therapy, and contingency management.

Drugs: These could include drugs to help with craving and withdrawal symptoms as well as other medicines to treat underlying mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. Methadone, buprenorphine, nicotine replacement therapy, and naltrexone are some of the drugs that may be recommended.

Hospitalization: People who are detoxifying from a substance, need to be admitted to the hospital in order to receive proper treatment for potentially life-threatening problems.

Self-help and support groups: As people discover new coping mechanisms while recovering, offline and online support groups can be excellent sources of information and social support.

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