Top 5 Modern Addictions and Treatment

Using substances such as alcohol or other drugs to get through the day is common place and a well-recognized problem. But a host of modern addictions are emerging that reflect the changing ways we live, and the increasing importance we put on certain more modern activities.

Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race or religion, and intervention should be considered for any person suffering from addiction to restore his or her emotional and physical health. As the following list shows, addiction can involve anything from alcohol to prescription medications to gambling to sex. If, as you read the list, you pause on one particular section, seeing yourself in the description, then perhaps it is worth asking your friends and family if they agree. You may not know it but you may have a problem.

1: Plastic Surgery Addiction

Negative body image is driving hordes of people under the surgeon’s knife. In 2006, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons warned its members about patients with a body dysmorphic disorder or “imagined ugly syndrome” for whom cosmetic surgery is an unending journey due to these addicts’ dissatisfaction with the results. The organization reported an alarming study that found 40 per cent of Botox users admitting to being lured to it by the attraction of continued treatment.


  1. Sex Addiction

The story doing rounds is that Tiger Woods is being treated at a behavioral health and addiction center in Hattiesburg because he just couldn’t get enough sex.  The craving for sexual gratification is as old as human history. But modern dysfunctional families are often blamed for turning a human urge into sexually compulsive behavior, and some feel that easy Internet access has only added to the woes. The American Psychological Association does not put sex addiction under a disorder that can be diagnosed. But growing numbers of self-help groups and sex recovery centers like Sexual compulsive Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous show a problem that is present and needs medical attention.

  1. Internet Addiction

Constant, unstoppable, obsessive internet browsing that becomes a daily routine, and where any interruption causes irritability, may well indicate the presence of an Internet Addiction Disorder. Psychiatrists are now acknowledging the mood-altering effects of online pornography, gambling, gaming, networking and blogging — in some countries, internet addiction has become such a serious social problem that recovery programmers have been put in place.

4: Oniomania (Shopping Addiction)

Otherwise known as shopping addiction, it’s not just celebrities who are afflicted. There are monomaniacs or compulsive shoppers in almost every neighborhood and family. Studies suggest that compulsive buying affects more than one in 20 adults. The mania has been linked to depression and has brought many shopaholics to the brink of bankruptcy


 5: Exercise Addiction

A compulsive excessive exerciser seems like a creature from another planet to those of us who need an earthquake to move us off of our couches. However, this species does exist and is as human as the rest of us. The only difference is that even an earthquake would find it difficult to dislodge these addicts from their treadmills. Exercise addiction statistics are hard to find because it usually co-exists with other eating disorders. Like other addicts, the treadmill abusers sacrifice their health and social life for their addiction. A study published by Behavioral Neuroscience in August 2009 found similarities between excessive running and drug-abuse behavior.

 Modern Addiction Treatment

Today professionals in the addiction science field often choose among many proven therapeutic approaches by which to help their clients deal with their addictions. Often time’s clinicians use a combination of approaches to develop a treatment plan that gives a recovering addict the best chance of dealing with addiction and moving forward drug-free. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA, common approaches to drug addiction include the following:

  • Medication – Medications are often used to help with different aspects of addiction treatment. Most commonly medications are used to stave off the often-painful symptoms of withdrawal from drugs.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This type of therapy focuses both on a person’s thoughts and behavior (hence the name). In treatment an addict will identify inaccurate or dysfunctional beliefs that lead to addiction. Then, with the help of a therapist, clients can change their thinking and then subsequently change their actions according to the Mayo Clinic Other treatment models, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, utilize elements of CBT in its approach to rehab.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) In this therapy both the teen and the family address issues that influence drug addiction. According to the Multidimensional Family Therapy network, a teen’s addiction must be seen in several contexts and influences: the teen, the parents, the extended family and extended community. Dealing with these influences is a hallmark of this approach to addiction treatment.

Motivation Interviewing (MI) – In this counseling approach the client and therapist work together to help an addict strengthen his motivation to get clean and stay clean. It focuses on principles such as desire, self-empowerment and readiness to change. When a client is conflicted or waivers in his commitment to sobriety, the therapist seeks to reinforce the positive desire to change.

These are just a few examples of types of modern psychiatry and psychology have improved and even created better approaches to addiction treatment. As time moves forward and more research are conducted, even more approaches will be developed to help recovering addicts.


Qurat ul Ain

Clinical psychologist at Nishan Rehab Multan.

MSc. Psychology from Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan.

Post Magistral diploma in clinical psychology (PMDCP.

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