When we speak about addiction, we tend to think of drugs and alcohol. However, many seemingly benign activities can become an addiction for some people. For some, watching porn is an activity done once in a while for fun, while others watch for hours every day alone. Some people shop only when they need something; others spend more than they can afford to chase a certain feeling that shopping gives them.
Whether it’s chemical substances, social media, sex, video games, food, or anything that forms dependence, all can become a negative influence in our lives if a line is crossed. If you are concerned you may have developed an addiction, here are five signs you should seek help.
1. The Activity Has Become a Priority
Family, work, and social activities with friends – these are the things we give priority to in our lives. However, when other activities or pursuits become such a priority that we push aside our time at work or with family and friends, it’s a sign there could be a problem. A dangerous priority can be recognised not only by how much you’re doing something but also by how much you’re not doing other things.
2. Reward Response
We all take pleasure in doing certain activities. Gardening, dancing, or watching our favourite movie can make us happy, and that’s natural. There is a problem when you start to feel good or happy only when involved in your addiction. You may even begin to notice you feel particularly bad when not doing the activity.
Do you start out thinking, I’ll eat a little, or smoke a little, or do whatever for just a little bit, but then find yourself doing the activity for more extended periods of time than you planned? Do you become angry when something or someone tears you away from the activity? Do you feel you have to hide the amount of time or money you spend on this activity? If so, this is a sign you may have a problem.
One of the most evident indicators of an addiction is the anxiety felt when not doing the activity, or when even thinkingabout having to give up the activity. The higher the level of panic you feel about giving up this activity, even for just one day, the stronger the addiction is.
Isolation is perhaps the most significant behavioural change associated with addiction. To an addict, it becomes necessary to withdraw and hide their behaviour from loved ones. Akin to isolation is a loss of interest in healthy hobbies or activities you once enjoyed. If you used to enjoy hiking with friends on the weekend, but now all you do is sit around the house getting into bidding wars online, it’s time you speak to somebody.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.