There are many misconceptions about addiction. In some cases, someone may joke that they have an addiction to something when, especially to those who are suffering from addiction, it is not a laughing matter. Although you can indeed experience addiction to many things other than illegal drugs, addiction is not merely defined by an affinity for something. Instead, it is a dysfunctional dependence on a substance, object, or activity that cannot be put aside simply by motivation. Keeping this in mind, here are some common types of addictions that may be treatable in a clinical environment for addiction recovery.


Substance abuse addictions are probably the most commonly diagnosed and treated types of all addictions. They function as a dependency on a substance that provides some kind of chemical reward.

A substance abuse addiction may include dependence on and abuse of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco/Nicotine and legal recreational drugs (cannabis, etc.)
  • Illegal street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and meth
  • Hallucinations (LSD, peyote, mushrooms)
  • Legal prescription drugs that are legally or illegally obtained (opioids, etc.)
  • Caffeine or Sugar

While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you the idea that addiction can come in many forms. Some individuals with substance abuse addictions can be functional in everyday life until their addiction creates a health problem or disruption of interpersonal relationships significant enough to jolt them into seeking substance abuse treatment.


Some addictions do not require the use of a substance at all—these addictions concern patterns of behavior that may be ultimately self-destructive. While there is not a substance involved, the response that the individual has an addiction to provides a similar pattern of chemical reward. This includes a comedown period that drives the individual to continue the cycle of behavior, even if it begins to disrupt their life or is detrimental to their well being.

Some common behavioral addictions include:

  • Internet/smartphone addiction
  • Drug Addiction
  • Sex Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Gaming Addiction
  • Addiction to high-risk behaviors

Sadly, many behavioral addictions go undiagnosed until something has gone wrong, such as a person getting caught engaging in criminal activity or otherwise causing harm to themselves or others in the pursuit of a cycle of activity that is unsustainable.


With so many different types of addictions, no one rule of thumb will separate who is suffering from addiction from one who is simply overly fond of a substance or activity. The most pertinent question to ask is how the substance or activity is causing dysfunction in your life.

While many people who have an addiction can remain functional, even those individuals will feel the undue strain and stress that the addiction is causing in their lives. The most dangerous part of addiction is denial and minimization, as both may discourage people from getting the help they need. This is especially true of more uncommon habits that many people find innocuous, such as video gaming or smartphone use. Addiction therapies help each individual understand these dysfunctional patterns and identify long-term coping skills and resources for recovery.


Unfortunately, because there are so many different kinds of drugs that addiction evolves from, it can be difficult to get the exact help you need. Luckily, drug-specific resources and treatments are available. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, browse our drug rehab directory and learn more about the treatment options that are available to you:



Do you need help with substance abuse, behavioral addiction, or other types of addictions? Do you just need some advice from an expert? Help is available, don’t wait any longer.