Addictive Disorders

Addictive disorders, such as substance abuse and dependence, include more than just drugs and alcohol. When we think of addiction – alcohol and other drugs immediately come to mind. Substance abuse isn’t the only form of an addictive disorder.  

“Addiction” is a complex term to grasp — essentially, it is a brain disease which transpires due to compulsive engagement in a seemingly rewarding stimuli. It is a patient’s “loss of control” over a behaviour, despite any adverse consequences they might face. Substance (chemical) dependence and abuse are common manifestations of addiction, and the condition creates powerful urges to recreate the mental “highs” felt from being under the influence of certain drugs, or manage uncomfortable experiences. 

How common is it? 

The four most common substances that people sought treatment for in 2019-2020 were: alcohol (34%), amphetamines (28%), cannabis (18%), and heroin (5.1%).

Are there different types of addictive disorders?

Common destructive habits include substances and non-substances, or behavioural:   

  • Alcohol  
  • Tobacco  
  • Gambling  
  • Opioids (heroin, oxycodone, morphine, or codeine)  
  • Other prescription painkillers  
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants (sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics)  
  • Amphetamines (crystal methamphetamine or MDMA)  
  • Cocaine  
  • Marijuana  
  • Sex  
  • Food and eating  
  • Internet  
  • Mobile phone/social media  
  • Video gaming  

Terminologies which are synonymous with addictions include the following: 

  • Substance Use Disorders 
  • Drug/Alcohol Dependence 
  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse 
  • Gambling Disorder/Pathological Gambling