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What Are Socially-Accepted Addictions?

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The word “addiction” can refer to a wide range of activities. One definition is “the condition of habitually or compulsively focusing on or participating in something”. There are many destructive socially-accepted addictions for which a person would be encouraged to seek help.

If you stop and think about it, many of the following compulsive behaviors are becoming more commonplace today. The reason they are referred to as socially-accepted is because people are becoming more desensitized to the behaviors.  

Let’s examine some of the socially-accepted addictions and see why people feel compelled to participate in those behaviors.  

Alcohol: Is It One of the Socially-Accepted Addictions?

Socially-Accepted AddictionsThe use of alcohol is socially acceptable in spite of the fact that it is an addictive substance.  It’s not unusual for people to drink with friends or have a “power lunch” during work that includes an alcoholic beverage.  Party-goers in their teens and early twenties frequently binge drink on weekends.  Also, in many homes, a drink is usually offered to guests as a gesture of hospitality.  

According to government surveys, alcohol is the most frequently used addictive substance in the United States.  In fact, approximately 17 million people over the age of 18 have alcohol use disorders (AUDs).  

Whenever someone is constantly intoxicated or binge drinks, they are no longer considered a social drinker.  These individuals can no longer stop with one or two drinks.  Their compulsive need to drink indicates an addiction to alcohol that may require professional treatment.

Prescription Medication Addiction

Although many prescription medications are highly addictive, most people don’t let that stop them from using the drugs.  Even when used as prescribed, addiction can develop with opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and antidepressants.  Currently, the U.S. is struggling to combat the worst addiction epidemic ever due to prescription meds.  

Illicit use of opioids and other prescription drugs is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.  According to the CDC, nearly 92,000 people suffered fatal overdoses in 2020.  That is a 31% increase in overdose deaths from the previous year.

Fame/Power Addiction

Millions of people are addicted to fame today.  They do all manner of wacky things on social media to claim a few minutes in the spotlight.  In contrast, others who seek fame take great measures to excel at their profession.  They want to be in positions of power where they feel dominant over others. 

Many of these individuals become obsessed with achieving fame and power to such an extent that it becomes an addiction.  They are so set on self-aggrandizement that they resort to unethical, dishonest, and antisocial tactics to get what they want.  Their behavior goes above and beyond simply being ambitious.

Porn: One of the Most Socially-Accepted Addictions

More than 420 million adult web pages are available online today.  People qualify as addicted to porn when they can’t quit the behavior regardless of the consequences.  They become emotionally dependent and will max out their credit cards or lose interest in all other activities.  They have a desperate need to be seen, heard, or acknowledged in some way.

Many people engage in viewing, purchasing, or creating illegal pornography to satisfy their obsession.  Sadly, about 90% of children under the age of 16 have viewed some type of porn online.  

It is very difficult for an individual suffering from porn addiction to stop the behavior without professional help.   

Gambling: Another Socially-Accepted Addiction?

For centuries, people have enjoyed gambling as a pastime.  Today, there is no limit to the variety of ways a person can gamble away their hard-earned money.  Some forms of gambling are socially acceptable, while others are downright illegal.  

What starts out as a fun way to acquire some extra cash can quickly become an obsession.  Many people have put their families in financial ruin because of their gambling addictionSome gamblers put their lives in danger because they cannot pay back their gambling debts.

Like any other addiction, gambling addiction is difficult to quit without spending some time in rehab.  

What Makes People Get Addicted to Something?

It’s easy to call something an addiction when someone engages in it repetitively. Of course, excessive behavior on its own is not an addiction. The difference lies in the way healthy enthusiasm adds to life and addiction diminishes it.  A person can get caught up in compulsive behavior before they realize it’s happening.  

To define a behavior as an addiction, certain parameters must exist.  For instance, if the activity or substance becomes the primary focus of the person’s life, it may be defined as an addiction.  Despite adverse consequences, they continue to engage in the activity or use the substance.  

It’s important to note that behavioral addictions can be just as serious as substance addictions.

Addictive behavior develops due to a combination of factors.  The person may have a genetic or biological predisposition to addictive behavior.  Also, their environment, attitudes, personality, and beliefs can play a role.  

In substance use disorders, withdrawal symptoms cause a person to crave more and more of the substance.

Get Help for Socially-Accepted Addictions at Design for Change Recovery

The treatment program at Design for Change Recovery can be tailored to meet your individual needs if you’re struggling with an addiction of any kind.  Among our program options are evidence-based methodologies that address the underlying causes of any addiction.  

Contact Design for Change Recovery at our Lancaster, CA facility to learn more about our programs.  


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