Do YOU Need An Addiction Intervention?
Humans are typically creatures of habit. Once we start doing something or acting a certain way, it can be difficult to stop doing it or switch to something else. Many of us thrive on familiarity and routine, so it’s not exactly difficult to see how an occasional vice can easily turn into an addiction. The term ‘addiction’ is a strange one, as it tends to conjure up images of severe things like drug dependency, ending up with lots of hospital treatment and a painful withdrawal period.
But in fact, addiction can come in many different forms, and you may not even always realize that you have one. It can be worth keeping tabs on your everyday behaviors and habits just so you are aware that none of them are developing into addictions. Remember, being honest with yourself is key, as many people will tell themselves and others that their habit is not an addiction – when deep down, they know it is. If you get to a point where you know your habit is much more than casual, and you are, perhaps, dependent on it, an intervention of sorts might be required. Here are a few examples of habits that can sometimes get out of hand – see if you have any of them in your life and if you’re ready to let go.
Like we previously mentioned, most people think ‘addiction’ refers to serious substance abuse issues, which triggers a chemical reaction in the body and brain. But the truth is, you don’t always need a physical dependency to become addicted to something. Sometimes, compulsive behavior in itself can end up becoming addictive, which is why the number of people with issues around shopping has shot up in the past few years. Sure, it can sound like a bit of a first world problem initially. But for those people it affects, an addiction to shopping can be a truly serious problem. Common signs of an issue surrounding spending money include being secretive about your spending, maxing out your credit cards, hiding bills and purchases from friends and family and feeling both high and low during the process of buying something new.
You may also want to consider what triggers you to shop in the first place – do you tend to visit the mall when you’re happy, or when you’re sad? Usually, it is the thrill of getting something new that causes the addictive side of shopping to rear its ugly head. Some people experience a rush of endorphins and dopamine when they have made a purchase – the same chemicals that appear when people take mood-enhancing drugs. Once the effects of this rush have worn off, the buyer may experience a reactive low or a slump in their mood. They then attempt to rectify this by buying something else, and the whole cycle starts again. Shopping addiction is difficult to treat, but the best course of action, if you think you are a sufferer, is to open up to a trusted friend, who you know won’t judge you. Then, the two of you can put a plan in place to deal with your problem, and you will also have the added benefit of being accountable to someone, too.
Something that has been very normalized in our society is smoking cigarettes. Even though we have multiple health warnings at our disposal about the dangers of smoking these days, it hasn’t done a great deal to deter many people. The problem starts when you may find yourself becoming a ‘social smoker’ – i.e., someone who smokes on a night out, or when other friends are doing so. This is dangerous territory enter, as even if you are convinced that you’ll never become addicted, it only takes a few cigarettes for the effects to take hold.
If, after an honest conversation with yourself, you realize you’re heading down that slippery slope, it could be time for a one-to-one intervention. Going cold turkey often just results in panicked slip-ups, so why not consider switching to e-cigs instead? Electronic cigarettes are typically not as bad for you as the traditional type, containing far fewer chemicals and a smaller amount of nicotine. Plus, it works out cheaper than buying packets of cigarettes all the time, as 120ml e juice will last you plenty of time and is extremely affordable. You can either switch to vaping entirely, or use it as a tool to help you quit for good – it’s totally up to you.
This might strike you like a bit of an odd one, as typically, we look at exercise as only a positive thing. It is still as important as ever for you to make a point of exercising regularly, whether you have a gym membership or whether it’s just a twenty-minute walk around your block every night. But there can come the point where the level of exercise you do become dangerous, and even obsessive. It doesn’t help that we live in a culture that promotes and almost celebrates, unattainable bodies and lifestyles.
Social media is partly to blame for this, with many accounts sharing pictures of incredibly toned abs and advice on what we should and shouldn’t be doing with our fitness regime. This can make many regular people feel the pressure, and soon a compulsion to exercise can arise. Check in with yourself to see how you feel about exercise – do you plan your whole day around the gym, and do you feel a sense of panic when your workout doesn’t go to plan? If so, you may have developed a dependency to exercise. Consider speaking to a health professional or a counselor about your issues surrounding exercise. If you feel social media does have a role to play, remove it from your phone and tablet – or at the very least, unfollow the accounts which you think are most likely to put unnecessary pressure on you.
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