Addiction Facts

Video highlights from Taboo


Addiction is most often associated with substance abuse. Now, there is a new addiction on the rise: behavioural addiction. Learn more about the four types of addiction featured in this episode of taboo: adrenalin, shopping, sex, and gaming addiction.

    •    Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, causes quickening of the heartbeat, strengthens the force of the heart's contraction, and opens up the airways in the lungs and has numerous other effects. The secretion of epinephrine by the adrenal is part of the fight-or-flight reaction.

    •    With only 1,200 BASE jumpers considered experienced, and over 115 fatalities, the risk for adrenaline addicts involved in this sport is extremely high.

    •    A 2006 Stanford University study concluded that compulsive overspending or over-shopping is a legitimate disorder that affects approximately 6% (17,000,000) of the U.S. population and that men and women suffer about equally.
    •    Scientists started to use the term shopping addiction at the end of last century. It was a big piece of news to many people. Some made laughs at it and did not consider it to be serious.

    •    The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health conservatively estimates 3% - 5% of the U.S. population suffers from sexual compulsion disorders. The estimate is considered low because it is based on those seeking treatment for sex addiction. Many of those afflicted avoid exposure and cannot be easily tracked.

    •    Some indication of the extent of the problem is the amount of pornography available and used on the Internet. It is thought that pornography addiction is a form of sexual addiction that is both easier to pursue and less expensive.

    •    Cybersex involves a non-contact sexual episode through private chats, either with or without a video connection. These sometimes develop into real world meetings.

    •    Sex is the #1 searched for topic on the Internet.

    •    Sexual addiction is, in its simplest form, a normal sex drive that has become obsessive, to the point that behavior is out of control. Sexual addiction is referred to as a 'process' addiction, as opposed to a substance addiction like alcohol or drugs.

    •    In a process addiction, the euphoric feeling (or "high") comes from chemicals released into the brain, rather than from an external source. As the mind becomes accustomed to the release of these chemicals, it searches out for continued sources of that high. This could be from eating, the adrenaline rush of competition, putting yourself in dangerous situations, or from sexual stimuli.

    •    Sexual addiction can take on many forms, from the use of pornography and masturbation to repeated sexual affairs, patronizing prostitutes, and voyeurism. In extreme cases, sexual addiction can involve molestation, rape, and even murder. The many forms of sexual addiction have one thing in common, the behavior is done in secret, and the sex addict becomes skilled in hiding this secret life from those closest to him/her.

    •    About 80 percent of sex addicts have some history of sexual abuse in their childhood.

    •    Approximately 9 million Americans (3-6%) have some form of sexually compulsive behaviour.

    •    The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as "engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviour acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others." In other words, a sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviours despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships or even arrest.

    •    U.S. computer and video game software sales grew four percent in 2005 to $7 billion - a more than doubling of industry software sales since 1996.

    •    69 percent of American heads of households play computer and video games. The average game player is 33 years old and has been playing games for 12 years.

    •    38 percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30%) than boys age 17 or younger (23%).

    •    Gambling addicts have a five times higher suicide rate than any other addiction.

    •    Similar to a meth addict coming off meth, a gaming addict going through withdrawal can experience symptoms such as sleep deprivation and hallucinations. They can also become violent towards innocent people who attempt to intervene.

    •    Up to two million Koreans are addicted to the Internet. Most of them are kids and young adults.

    •    In South Korea, 90 percent of homes are connected to cheap, high speed internet.

    •    PC bangs are dimly lit internet parlours situated on almost every street corner in South Korea.

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