It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the common addiction questions is, “What are the most dangerous addictions?”
Although it sounds like a straightforward question, the answer is more complicated than you may realize.
What is Considered an Addiction?
When you think of the word “addiction” either drugs or alcohol most likely comes to mind. Yet, it is possible to have an addiction to a broad range of things.
- Caffeine: drinking multiple cups of coffee in a day
- Sugar: always craving sweets
- Adrenaline: the need to put oneself in dangerous situations
- Work: putting in long hours at the office while neglecting your family
- Relationships: not being able to tolerate being by yourself
- Video games: sacrificing “real world” relationships and responsibilities in order to play the game
All of the above could be considered addictions that are dangerous, in one way or another, to the user.
Societal Impact of Addiction
If you consider the most dangerous addictions are the ones that have the greatest impact on society, consider these thoughts.
- 24.6 million people in the U.S. used illicit drugs
- 55.8 million people smoked cigarettes
- 17.3 million people in the U.S. suffered from alcohol dependence or abuse
- In 2010, tobacco use caused $168 billion in health care costs and alcohol totaled $27 billion
- In 2007, health costs for illicit drug use totaled $11 billion
These numbers reflect not just how widespread the use of substances has become but also the significant financial cost it causes. Individuals, taxpayers, society, and the economy as a whole struggle with both the financial personal toll of addiction.
Perhaps the most dangerous addictions out there are those that combine more than one addiction.
- A college student who wants to belong may choose to drink alcohol in excess and use party drugs, like ecstasy
- The lawyer who works 80 hours+ a week unwinds by drinking alcohol at night
- Someone who is depressed smokes cigarettes and drinks heavily
If you noticed, there is also another danger from addiction. That is, an addiction can develop as a means to cope with much deeper emotional and psychological problems.
However, even though it is easier in the moment to “numb” to those feelings, in the long term, they always come back. This usually leads to a long, painful journey that causes a lot of damage.
Addictions Dangerous to Relationships
You could also look at how dangerous an addiction is in context to the pain and hurt it causes to relationships.
Addiction can drive away people who care about you and want to help. That’s because the choices you make to satisfy that addiction, make it hard for people to stay. The result is that you become more isolated, alone, and disconnected from other people.
In turn, this makes it more difficult for you to form a support network to help you. It also means that you become more susceptible to mental health issues such as depression.
Qualities of the Most Dangerous Addictions
If you had to break down the qualities of the most dangerous addictions, they would include:
- An overwhelming need to fulfill the addiction
- Poor decision-making that prioritizes the addiction over all others (stealing, lying, etc.)
- Ignoring or damaging important relationships for the sake of the addiction
- Pursuing an addiction even though it is dangerous to your health
- Not feeling that you can “live” without the addiction
Obviously, there are many dangerous addictions—all in their own way. So, when you ask such addiction questions as, “What are the most dangerous addictions?”, you must consider the broader picture.
Don’t just be content with “substance abuse” as the answer. Rather, consider what you prioritize to be important and ask yourself, “Do the things add quality and meaning to my life? Or do they cause damage, especially to my relationships?”
If you have more addiction questions you would like to have answered, please contact me. I’d be happy to help you.