Other Types of Addictions
While drugs and alcohol typically come to mind first when you think of addiction, the truth is you can form an addiction to almost anything. Anything that stimulates your brain is producing a chemical reaction that can form cravings and become habitual. Non-drug related addictions include gambling, shopping, work, food, internet, online gaming, and social media, to name a few. In truth, these are often behavioral problems and more accurately described as compulsions than true addictions but the pattern and its effects on your life are the same.
Anything that you have trouble controlling can be considered an addiction.
Anything that falls outside your ability to control, even when you know you should, can be considered an addiction or unhealthy dependency. These addictions are characterized by the “high” you get, and it’s often the game of chasing this high that creates destructive patterns in your life. Certain environmental risk factors play a part as well, including any family history of addiction, psychological symptoms like anxiety or depression, loneliness, peer pressure, and even boredom.
Addicts are usually in denial about their problem.
Addicts are usually in denial about their problem. They believe their addiction is simply a habit or quirky unique behavior. However, if this behavior or habit consistently interferes with your responsibilities or your health and you can’t stop, even when you try, then you’ve developed a harmful addiction that requires an intervention and possibly professional treatment.
There is no quick fix for kicking an addiction. These patterns develop over time and must be un-learned over time as well. Treatment programs exist to help you control your behavior and withstand impulses that lead to addictive or unhealthy behavior. These can be residential in-patient programs that force you to cut the addictive behavior out of your life for a time in order to develop new coping strategies to ignore temptations and triggers. It can also be outpatient therapy that you do daily or weekly to keep yourself focused on beating the addiction.
There is no quick fix for kicking an addiction.
Addiction recovery programs often involve cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling aimed at teaching you how to handle cravings and relapse temptations. This is done by understanding the emotional, psychological, and environmental factors in your life that contribute to your addictive behavior. This process involves a lot of courage and honesty with yourself in order to understand and come to terms with a compulsion. While these things may not create intense physical withdrawal the way hard drugs do, it can still be very difficult to disentangle yourself from a web of lies, compulsive behavior, and addictive dependency.
Admitting your problem is the first and most important step.
Seeking help by reaching out and admitting your problem is the first and most important step. Many options and doors open to you afterward. Stay in contact with a support system of friends, family, and peers who can help you get through recovery to a happier, more balanced life.
All Things in Moderation
The hardest part about admitting you have a compulsive addiction to something is often that people around you engage in those same behaviors with no problem. It can be difficult to admit to an addiction to something as normal as shopping or internet surfing. But everyone has different struggles. These things are great in moderation and balance but when something becomes a compulsive problem that you no longer control, there’s nothing normal or healthy about it.
After confronting a compulsive addiction and taking the necessary steps to achieve treatment, you enter a new stage of your life. Once you’ve gotten some space from the addictive behavior, you’ll have to think through the elements of your life that contribute to the addiction, as these elements will be the triggers and temptations that beckon you for months and even years to come. You will always be a recovering addict, always aware of the possibility of relapse.
This phase will require a massive amount of community support.
This stage can be difficult because it seems like the struggle is never behind you, but always rearing its head for you to summon the willpower to say no. This phase will require a massive amount of community support from friends, family, and support groups of peers who understand your struggle.
You’ll have to eliminate from or life or distance yourself from people, places, and things that lead you down the path of relapse.
Be aware of the possability of relapse.
If at any point you begin to backslide, talk to someone in your support group. There’s no reason to let all that recovery go to waste. Addiction is a difficult hurdle to leap on your own. The most effective recovery strategy is one that involves help from the people around you. If someone in your life is recovering from a compulsive addiction, be supportive and avoid tempting them with an old lifestyle.
This is a time for friends and family to be respectful and supportive of the recovery process.
Addiction by the Numbers
Spent annually on problem gambling
Talk more online than in person
Google request are for porn
Americans are in recovery
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