When thinking of addiction your mind might wander to a scene from Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream. Granted, this type of addiction is incredibly serious and endangers the lives of narcotics users every day. But addiction doesn’t only affect drug users. In fact, you might be unwittingly contributing to a large number of the world’s biggest addictions.
What is Addiction?
Addiction describes the act of being unable to deny a particular impulse. Or, in less scientific terms, addiction means you just can’t stop doing something. This can range from damaging behaviour all the way down to biting your fingernails. So, now we have the definition out of the way, let’s look at the world’s biggest addictions:
Okay, it’s not just coffee, it’s caffeine. Johns Hopkins describes caffeine as the world’s favourite mood-altering drug. Not surprising given that coffee, tea, and soft drinks all contain enough caffeine to get us hooked, and the world coffee consumption is sky-rocketing – expected to hit over 170 million bags of coffee beans per year by 2020.
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact global figure, but we do know that around 5 percent of South Africans are problem gamblers. That means that there are more than 2 million problem gamblers in South Africa alone.
Internet addiction is a growing problem, but this essentially encompasses various forms of online addiction ranging from social media to adult content.
Food can have a similar effect to drugs when looking at human mood changes. Certain foods affect the chemicals in the brain, making consumers feel better in general.
Yes, people can become addicted to anger. It may start out small, like with road rage, but it can compound to a point where anger addicts can’t solve issues by any other means.
We know that smoking is a big one worldwide, but, on the home front, around 22 percent of the South African population smokes.
While this category covers various sub-categories relating to all the different types of drugs, we know that drug use in general is on the rise. According to the World Health Organisation, as much as 15% of South Africans have a drug problem.
With alcohol being associated with socialisation, it stands to reason that there are a fair number of addicts. South Africa is said to be the worst nation in Africa when it comes to alcohol consumption, consuming 11 litres of pure alcohol per year.
With the internet providing more exposure to it, sexual addiction is growing as a result of people associating it more with compulsion and less with love and romance.
South Africans are known to be hard workers – fact which we pride ourselves in. However, over-working can produce a chemical dependency in the brain, making it dangerous.
Image credit: http://www.alcoholanddrugabuse.com/blog/understanding-social-use-from-substance-abuse-alcoholism-and-addiction/