Many people believe that drugs and alcohol are the only types of addictions that are harmful. This belief is a common misconception. Addiction destroys lives, alienates loved ones, and causes a lot of pain and chaos. Many people will be addicted to more than one substance, but what about addictions to things outside of mind-altering drugs or alcohol?
How Addictions Harm Us
Addictions are harmful. They cause stress and pain for the addicted person as they begin a cycle of behavior that’s difficult to escape. They often cause trouble with relationships, finances, and self-esteem. Humans can become addicted to anything that helps activate the pleasure center in the brain. As we feel rewarded more and more for a behavior, a compulsion can set it and tell us this behavior is more important than anything else!
Sleepless nights, skipping family functions, or losing a job are all examples of how an addictive behavior can begin to spiral out of control. Eventually, the cravings for that behavior will become more urgent, and the addicted person will feel like it’s the most important thing in their life – even if it makes no sense to believe this. They may feel they can’t live without their addiction and cut people out of their lives who disapprove.
Common Addictions We Overlook
Many people immerse themselves in activities that may seem addictive. A lot of people will say that they’re addicted to things like coffee, shopping, or social media. Not all people who say this have an actual addiction; however, there are many ways that addiction can manifest itself in everyday life and slowly take over.
Anything that makes you feel good can become an addiction. If it becomes a compulsive behavior, it’s probably an addiction. If you can’t quit doing something and it’s causing problems in your life, it’s time to seek help
Common addictions that have been acknowledged by public health research includes:
- Addiction to food: Addiction to food is a common thing in our society. Commercials and the media help enable this addiction by sending the message that eating will make you “feel better.” Huge portions sold by restaurants and fast food often makes it easy to rationalize compulsive eating. Many people will also hide food in their home and workspace to binge on when no one is looking.
- Addiction to work: Some people can’t stop working, even if it isn’t required. They may feel they “never do enough” at work or have an urge to work compulsively. Even in today’s fast-paced world, it’s not healthy to work all the time.
- Addiction to social media: Unfortunately, many people now seek approval and acceptance online. Addiction to social media means it’s difficult or impossible to put down the phone or close apps that alert you to new interactions. A person might sit at a dinner table with their family, phone in hand, and never speak to them. Meanwhile, they’re talking to others on the Internet that they have never met.
- Addiction to sex: They may seek out encounters with strangers, have sex in public places, and refuse using condoms because of the “thrill” of the dangers that come with compulsive sex. People with sex addiction want to have “more sex” even if they have a partner. They may cheat or use pornography to get “more” whenever they “need” it.
- Addiction to video games: Video games immerse their players into another world, and many people can’t get enough of this alternative reality. People addicted to video games describe long hours and all-nighters without leaving the console, neglecting to eat, groom or even urinate because they don’t want to stop the game or push “pause.”
Addiction is a lonely way to live, and it’s often hard to stop a destructive behavior once it becomes impulsive. At Orange County Recovery we treat many people with multiple addictions and help them reclaim their lives. Please call us to learn more about how we can help you. Our number is 1-866-227-1437.