AddictionThe word “addiction” is casually tossed about these days, usually in reference to a great love of a sport, video game or television show. The truth about addiction is much darker. It is an obsession that takes control of both the mind and the body, triggered by any number of mental illnesses and anxieties. Many in America struggle with addiction, but here are the six most common addictions Americans face.

Alcohol

Alcohol dependency is a serious problem affecting nearly every age group. While many people can enjoy a drink socially, some use alcohol to escape from personal issues and depression. Only a small number of people addicted to alcohol seek treatment, which leaves many to deal with the problem alone. It is estimated that over one-third of college students abuse alcohol regularly.

Nicotine

Nearly 71 million Americans are addicted to nicotine. A quarter of that number consume nicotine in the form of cigarette smoking with the rest getting a fix from pipe smoking, chewing tobacco and cigars. While most users are aware of the harmful side effects of nicotine, that knowledge does not change their behavior. Around 62 percent of tobacco users indulge daily.

Drugs

Whether it is marijuana, prescription medication or hard drugs like cocaine, drug addiction is hitting crisis level. Many pot smokers indulge nearly 300 days per year, while pharmaceutical abusers often get their drugs from a relative or friend. The ease of obtaining marijuana is thought to contribute to its widespread use.

Food

Binge eating is a disorder every bit as serious as bulimia and anorexia. It is an addiction born of compulsive overeating, and occurs in people of all sizes. Affecting around three percent of the population, its roots are thought to be in sugar, which can be as addictive as other substances according to many recent studies.

Gambling

A gambling addiction works with the body’s adrenalin to produce a rush of pleasure that becomes habit-forming. It is especially enticing because of its legality in glamorous locations like Las Vagas. Disordered gambling runs at about two percent of the population, but is likely to increase with the wide range of online gambling options available.

The Internet and Media

The majority of people rely on the Internet and media sources to keep them updated with news, friends and family. A recent University of Maryland study on 200 people revealed that a majority felt disconnected and anxious when deprived of media for 24 hours, suggesting that media use is addictive.

Whether an addiction is physical, mental or emotional, there is help to be found. If you’re addicted, get help now and get your life back.