Addiction can happen to anyone, and it’s often the result of engaging in certain habits. If you want to avoid addiction, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with these habits and take precautions to protect yourself. Here are six habits that can lead to addiction.

1. Drug Abuse

It may not be shocking to hear that drug abuse leads to addiction, but it’s worth pointing out that any drug use can have dangerous consequences. Even though abusers typically take illegal drugs, prescription painkillers are equally addictive and potentially deadly if taken incorrectly.

What’s especially dangerous is that with LSD abuse, many people tend to have psychological disorders because of the hallucinations associated with the drug. It’s also important to talk with a doctor before beginning a medication regimen so that they can inform you of the drug’s addictive potential. If you’re unsure about whether or not an over-the-counter medication is safe for regular use, consult with your pharmacist before taking it. 

2. Binge Drinking

While going out with friends isn’t harmful on its own, it can turn into a dangerous habit if you start drinking too much. Binge drinking is defined as four or more alcoholic drinks in a row for women and five or more for men. In the United States, about one in six people engage in binge drinking episodes at least once a week. Even though binge drinking is common, it’s incredibly dangerous to your health and can lead to serious addiction problems later on. Alcohol addiction is one of the most common forms of substance abuse disorder, affecting millions of Americans every year.

3. Overeating

Everyone overeats from time to time, but eating large quantities of food regularly can be damaging to your health and lead to addiction. If you begin specifically binging on sugar-rich foods, such as ice cream or cookies, it can alter your brain’s dopamine levels and trigger cravings for more sugary food in the future. Scientists who study overeating say that some people eat too much because they’re unable to control themselves when they feel highly stressed out or upset over a traumatic event.

4. Smoking Cigarettes

Cigarette smoking is linked to several types of cancer and is one of the most common causes of preventable death in the United States. Even if you only smoke occasionally, irregular cigarette use could still damage your lungs and lead to addiction problems down the road. A study found that people who smoked cannabis were more than twice as likely to develop a mental illness than those who did not use any drugs at all. The risk was especially high for young women between 18 and 25 years old, so be careful when mixing marijuana and other drugs.

5. Computer and Video Game Addiction

Computer game addiction is the new rage in the tech world, but all that time spent in front of a screen can have serious consequences. Games such as Farmville and World of Warcraft are known for their addictive nature, which is why many people feel obligated to constantly check on their virtual farms or hunt for monsters once they log into the game.

In some ways, computer addictions mimic substance abuse patterns because gaming enthusiasts experience similar withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have access to a computer. These include insomnia, irritability, and restlessness. Even though compulsive video gaming isn’t formally recognized as an addiction by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it can cause similar problems for young men who become obsessed with these games.

6. Social Media & Smartphone Use

Social media sites are wildly popular throughout the country, but all that time spent on Facebook and Twitter could have dangerous consequences. Research suggests that compulsive smartphone use is becoming an increasing problem among teenagers, perhaps because parents are keeping their children too busy with extracurricular activities to talk to them face-to-face. If you begin reading every notification on your phone as soon as it pops up, it’s a sign of addiction. Try to keep your phone out of your arm’s reach while you’re doing other things so that you don’t become tempted by its constant presence in your pocket or purse.

If you want to avoid addiction, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with these habits and take precautions to protect yourself. Keep in mind that anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, even if they have a close friend or family member who is addicted. By avoiding compulsive behaviors and learning how to relax in stressful situations, you can avoid developing an addiction in the future.

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