Counselling » ADDICTION
What does it mean to be addicted? Usually when we are addicted, whatever the addiction is becomes most important in our lives. The addiction can interfere in our every day lives, causing a disruption in our "normal" functioning. We can lose friends, partners, family members and jobs due to addiction. If you become aware of something in your life becoming more important than anything else, and you are missing out on things that used to be important to you, it is time to take a look at possible addiction.
Under this heading of addiction you will find several types of addiction and it is not an exhaustive list.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, gaming addiction is a behavioral problem that is described by a preoccupation with gaming, the ability of gaming to modify a person’s mood, the development of tolerance, the presence of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of gaming, and the development of interpersonal conflict because of gaming.
According to Healthline.com, like any other addiction, work addiction is the inability to stop the behavior. It often stems from a compulsive need to achieve status and success, or to escape emotional stress. Work addiction is often driven by job success and is common in people who can be described as perfectionists.
We are told that to be successful we must work hard. That is true, but not to the detriment of the rest of our life. When work becomes more important than our family and friends and ourselves we can't help but be affected negatively. We need to have a balance of work, love and play as Erik Erikson believed.
ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUGS
According to Good Therapy.org, drug and alcohol abuse or misuse—excessive or inappropriate use of a substance—can be difficult to define, and people’s opinions, values, and beliefs vary significantly on the topic. For some, any use of an illegal drug or any use of alcohol with the primary purpose of intoxication constitutes abuse. For others, abuse is indicated by recurring, negative consequences, such as:
- Failure to meet social, work, and academic obligations
- Physical injury or illness
- Alcohol- or drug-related legal problems, such as arrest for driving while intoxicated
- Relationship problems with intimate partners, friends, and family.
- Impulsivity, such as spending money excessively
- Diminished interest in other activities
- Short-term memory loss or blackouts
Alcohol and other drug abuse touches so many in society. It makes it difficult to understand how it can be a negative thing when society seems to condone it legally. Also alcohol especially is a part of most special occasions. There are those who are not addicted and can enjoy drinking just on those special occasions, but so many go far beyond what would be considered normal. Assessing yourself is difficult but so necessary to begin the process of making change.
According to Mara Tyler (July, 2014), someone with a gambling addiction may feel a need to buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, play slot machines, bet on sports, or gamble online. The type or frequency of gambling may vary, but an addict will typically be unable to control their behavior. They’ll continue gambling despite negative social, financial, or legal consequences.
We have noticed in recent years how much gambling is advertised on the TV. And more women are targeted in the ads. We need to be aware that this addiction makes others a lot of money but rarely the gambler.
Food addiction is a disease which causes loss of control over the ability to stop eating certain foods. Scientifically, food addiction is a cluster of chemical dependencies on specific foods or food in general; after the ingestion of high palatable foods such as sugar, excess fat and/or salt, the brains of some people develop a physical craving for these foods. Over time, the progressive eating of these foods distorts their thinking and leads to unwanted negative consequences. Despite this, they still cannot stop overeating. (Food Addiction Institute)
Now think about it, all addictions are difficult and some are more accepted than others. But a food addiction is so difficult to change. We won't die if we don't drink alsochol, don't have sex, don't get on the internet or don't shop. But we can't stop eating! This is so challenging. So eating in any circumstance is completely accepted by society. Almost every occasion in life has food involved. Think about how many people can't eat certain things, such as wheat, sugar, carbohydrate but yet these ingredients are in almost everything. So it is difficult get away from what you can't have. It is like with alcohol, on special occasions people will say "Oh you must have a piece of cake, or so and so will feel bad." Food is so much a part of who we are in every culture. We need to understand that we can change our behaviour and we may need help to do it!
Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment. Internet addiction has been called Internet dependency and Internet compulsivity. By any name, it is a compulsive behaviour that completely dominates the addict’s life. Internet addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The Internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behaviour. (NetAddiction, 1995)
It is so easy to get pulled into the internet. Social media has made it so easy to find a world outside ourselves and our lives. This can be changed, but the person must want that change just like anything else.
Omniomania, compulsive shopping, or what's more commonly referred to as shopping addiction, is perhaps the most socially reinforced of the behavioral addictions.
We are surrounded by advertising, telling us that buying will make us happy. We are encouraged by politicians to spend as a way of boosting the economy. And we all want to have what those around us have –- consumerism has become a measure of our social worth.
Although widespread consumerism has escalated in recent years, shopping addiction is not a new disorder. It was recognized as far back as the early nineteenth century, and was cited as a psychiatric disorder in the early twentieth century. (Elizabeth Hartney, 2014)
This addiction is difficult. You may just see things you want and you are supported by the whole idea that it is important to go ahead and buy it because you are helping the economy. When you have children you want them to feel like everyone else so you buy them the clothes they want. Or the electronics they want. Even if you find sales on everything you buy as if you really need all the things you buy. What hole in your soul are you trying to fill?
Sexual addiction, which is also called sexual dependency, hypersexuality, nymphomania (females), satyriasis (males), compulsive sexual behavior and sexual compulsivity, refers to the phenomenon in which people cannot manage their sexual behavior.
The individual is obsessed with sexual thoughts - thoughts which interfere with their ability to work properly, have relationships, and go about their daily activities. Many say that sexual addiction is a form of obsessive compulsive behavior. (MNT Knowledge Center)
The internet has become a huge part of sexual addiction. You can do almost anything on the internet without having to meet the person in real life. Put the internet addiction and sex addiction together and it is a very difficult addiction to change. If you have a partner it is possible to hurt them by putting your attention on the internet and not on your relationship. So much can be lost if you don't get help if you realise you need it.