Are you addicted to your phone? Afternoon donuts? Maybe on the music of your favorite band? Being hooked on something is often joked about, but addictions that have a negative impact on your life are often more long-term needs that control your life than following a good TV series.
A common factor to all harmful addictions is that they start to control your thoughts and replace other important things in life. Life yields, addiction takes over.
Nearly all of us have experienced being hooked on something. If you haven’t at some point been addicted to games, sex, work, your mobile phone, running, eating or any other action or substance yourself, you definitely know someone who has.
Challenging situations in life, inherited qualities and learned habits have an effect on the development of addictions, but the prevailing attitudes and values around you also make a difference. If all your closest colleagues take drugs, it becomes the new normal and thus more tempting to try yourself.
The same goes with other addictions as well. If your friends all count their calories and carbs or take their exercise so seriously that missing one day at the gym or having an ice cream becomes larger than life, you may start to think life should revolve around eating or exercise.
A harmless routine meant to add to your well-being may go from being a blessing to a curse. The addiction turns your secret lover into a prison guard. It becomes the epicenter of your life and makes you its slave.
Addiction often arises from the need to find pleasure and escaping feelings that make you uncomfortable. The goal in a healthy adulthood should be in being able to live with all kinds of feelings. Feelings themselves are not dangerous.
Escaping your feelings and reaching for short-term pleasure from addictive sources can, in the long run, be dangerous. Addictions at their most serious can destroy your health and ability of life management, and they can cause serious consequences not only to you, but your loved ones.
In many cases an addict can break free on their own, but that’s not always possible. If you have trouble with life management and dealing with your feelings, the addiction might simply shift focus to another source. Many need help to break free from addiction. Experts recommend counselling and peer support when the addiction is severe.
It is also important to find new sources of pleasure. With addiction, one source of pleasure is so strong that it overcomes all others. When you learn to direct your need for pleasure to several different sources more equally, the original addiction weakens.