Is It Addiction?
By: Jada Hudson, M.S., LCPC, CADC
Every individual is unique. Like a fingerprint, everyone has their own set of interests, desires, relationships, and experiences. However, within our society’s beautiful tapestry of uniqueness lies many individuals, whose interests and desires have been driven to extremes, compelling them to mask their underlying feelings.
Addiction is a psychological or physiological dependence on something. Often, addiction is a manifestation of a deeper problem, such as depression. Rather than confronting their pain, victims of addiction, who are proportionately more male than female, escape to where they find comfort: social praise and substances. Seemingly productive activities like fixation on achievement at work, workaholism, over exercising, obsession with diet, and fixation on children’s achievements invade the family life. Or, other destructive behaviors such as alcohol or drug abuse, pornography, gambling, extramarital affairs/sexual promiscuity, overspending, domestic or verbal abuse, or violence begin to become routine.
How do I know if it’s addiction? Reflect:
How do you feel before you engage in the activity/substance? The “addict” uses the substance or activity to feel better about himself, or to “prop up” his self-esteem, to dull himself, or to keep demons at bay.
How do you feel when you stop the activity/substance? Many “addicts” know that if they were to be cut off from their activity or supply, they would sink into a deep depression.
What effect does the activity/substance have on you? Some “addicts” seek a jolt out of perpetual numb feelings. Others seek tranquilizing, relaxing feelings to escape agitation and self-hatred.
If you think you have an addiction, seek a therapist, and find freedom!