When people think of addiction, they will usually think of hard drugs, alcohol, and those living on the outer margins of society. The truth is, people can be addicted to more than just drugs and alcohol. Addiction can develop in anyone, at anytime, anywhere.
HABIT VS. ADDICTION
There’s a difference between things being habitual and addictive. A habit is considered to be actions made out of choice and a person is able to stop those behaviors at anytime. However, addictive behaviors are repetitive actions that distract and disconnect us from feeling and engaging with experiences.
People with addictive behaviors are drawn to substances, thoughts, activities, actions, etc., as a way to avoid or trigger particular feelings and experiences. There are different reasons as to why people get hooked on different things. However, we might not always realize we’re addicted to something; possibly overlooking addictive behaviors because it’s not drugs or alcohol. Yet, these behaviors can still be negative to our wellness.
THAT GOOD FEELING
Who doesn’t want to feel all the good feelings in life? We all do. When people aren’t experiencing those feelings in life, they reach out to the things that release powerful endorphins in their brain. The release of these chemicals reinforces addictive behaviors because we want to feel good constantly. Especially, if someone isn’t getting enough out of their everyday or maybe they want to escape their everyday. However, while these behaviors bring us good feelings, it can turn toxic over time. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADDICTION (just a few examples)
- Food: people addicted to food tend to overeat or binge eat. It’s almost uncontrollable, feeling like they have to eat. Often times this is a way to cope with trauma, filling a void, or feelings of depression. People struggling with food addictions also experience challenges with their weight and obesity which makes matters worse.
- Exercise: physical activity releases endorphins and adrenaline that give people a rush. That rush can be addicting for many, but too much exercise can lead to physical problems.
- Shopping: some struggle with compulsively spending money. Purchases are made regardless if they can afford it or not. Ironically, people find shopping to be a stress reliever, yet it can cause further frustrations with financial difficulties.
- Gambling: There’s a thrill to gambling that people get hooked on. This could be due to the risk that comes with gambling. Some people are obsessed with winning money - particularly money they’ve already lost. This also causes further financial struggles.
- Love: people can be addicted to emotional intimacy. This could involve sex addiction as well. Individuals can experience addictions to people they have romantic relationships with (or want to have relationships with). This feeling can sometimes prompt unhealthy behaviors for both individuals involved.
There are many forms and facets to addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please contact Crownview Co-Occurring Institute to get in touch with a medical professional who can help get you back on track with an individualized plan.