SUBSTANCE VS NON-SUBSTANCE ADDICTION
An addiction is continued involvement with a substance or activity despite any ongoing negative consequences that appear. This definition of addiction includes not only substances as in drug addiction or alcohol addiction, but behavioral addictions also, with non-substance addiction components, as with gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, or even anger (intermittent explosive disorder).
Non-substance addictions are built out of a habit. Like other habits, addictive behaviors are learned behaviors that we gain through trial and error or through observing others. The pleasures of an addiction can be widespread. In addition to an increase in positive mood (feeling more relaxed, feeling more "up"), the addiction may also be a mean to decrease negative mood, the habit of making an urge (or craving) go away. The urge develops because past pleasurable experience and benefits from the substance or activity are expected to happen the same way the next time. Urges are uncomfortable, and giving way to the addictive behavior is also experienced as pleasurable simply because the urge is satisfied.
Very similar to substance addictions, non-substance addictions show all of the components of traditional chemical or drug addiction. This includes a huge preoccupation with the behavior, a chemical high, which involves an increase of neurotransmitters in the body (brain chemicals), and actual withdrawal symptoms, which is when the neurotransmitters decrease dramatically. This decrease of neurotransmitters causes craving for the activity or drug.
Even though it is not due to an external chemical dependence, non-substance addiction can be extremely dangerous. Non-substance addicts face the same pitfalls as substance addicts; financial loss, loss of family, criminal procedures due to actions brought on by the activity, and quite possibly death through actions to continue the addictive behavior. Therapeutic drug treatment may be necessary but...