The Ugly Truth About Addiction
Today we’re going to address the difficult subject of addiction. If you know someone who has a problem with addiction, you will know first-hand how soul destroying it can be. It can occur with both physical substances and behavioral patterns.
The Many Types Of Addiction
Often described as a mental health issue. Some people become addicted to alcohol while other are addicted to unhealthy relationships. People can become addicted to everything from binge eating to cleaning and hoarding to online shopping. This behavior can also manifest themselves in video game playing or high adrenaline activity. And even plastic surgery and exercise.
When Is It An Addiction?
A behavior becomes an addiction when what you are doing becomes so out of control that you rely on it to function. Being addicted to certain things can be incredibly harmful to your health, your relationships, and your finances. Addiction occurs when something that originally gave us pleasure becomes compulsive. When the need becomes so great it affects everyday life; it is classed as an addiction. Many addicts are not aware that they have a problem which makes it more so difficult to come to terms with.
Why Do Addictions Occur?
There is not straight and easy answer to this. Many times it comes from the need to do something else in times of high emotional stress. Often people switch between addictions, so it is not necessarily the substance or the activity that is an addiction. Instead, it is the action of the addiction that becomes the threat. People who become addicted to things often enjoy the buzz, but as they grow more tolerant, the need for the buzz becomes even greater.
For example, a shopping addiction occurs when someone starts buying lots of things they do not need. It can get worse as they secretly start buying online and continue to do it more and more frequently. They need to keep recreating that buzz. Often afterward, there are feelings of guilt and shame, which only fuels the need for another buzz. Withdrawal symptoms are so unpleasant that the person continues instead with their addictive behavior. Addiction occurs when a person needs that dependence on something to continue their lives.
How Do You Treat Addiction?
This can be treated in many different ways. It can be treated with detox, behavioral therapy, medication and self-help groups. Treatment will always be adapted for each individual as every case is unique. Changing a dependent lifestyle is a big step and an addict will always require professional expertise. Many times it is not stopping the addiction that is the biggest hurdle, but it the act of continuing to stop for the rest of an addict’s life. This is why addicts often say there is no cure but they always remain in recovery.
How To Let An Addict Know They Need Help
As addicts don’t think they have a problem, it can be very difficult getting them to seek help. You will need to let your friend or relative know that they have a problem. But this in itself is no easy feat. They will hear it as accusative and judgmental of their behavior. Sometimes it helps to get a mediator or outsider to try and speak to the addict. There is a great need to be positive and affirming about the addict and to let them know there is help out there.
If they become defensive, they are likely to distance themselves, and it may fuel the addiction more. Denial is a huge component of addiction, and sadly the addict is the one that has to makes the decision to get help. What you must do is remain close in their lives and steer the conversation towards compassionate reasons why it may be time to seek help. Always demonstrate empathy, but do not let them off the hook.