Are Addictive Behaviors Disrupting Your Life?
In a word: Yes.
Addiction places a particular need above all others, and the said need is probably causing you a lot more mental and physical harm than you are willing to admit. This notion is clearly expressed in the various definitions of addiction that we know of today.
According to Medical News Today, “addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.”1
The takeaway from this definition is that –
- Addiction is not limited to substance use disorders; it also extends to include other addictive behaviors such as gambling, sex, eating, or even working!
- Despite the detrimental effects of these addictions on the overall health or livelihood of an individual, they are usually difficult to stop.
You might be wondering if you may be addicted to something other than drugs or alcohol. If you are, what are the chances that such behavior is disrupting your life?
How to detect addictive behaviors
If you are unable to determine if you are addicted to some substance or activity, the best advice you can get is, “Be honest with yourself.” Then, ask yourself these nine questions:
- What are some of the things I do or consume frequently?
- How vital are they to my life?
- Can I stop them?
- How often have I tried to control or stop it?
- The times I stopped engaging in them, what was my countenance afterward?
- Do I engage in them longer than I planned?
- Do I ever get secretive about it? If I am, then why?
- What are the things I forego to engage in these activities?
- Do I take risks to access them?
By asking yourself these questions, you put yourself in a position to acknowledge whatever addictive behavior you might have, and put more efforts towards curbing them. You can also seek additional help through a highly effective sober living program that is certain to help you through any form of addiction you might be fighting.
If, after determining what your addictive behaviors might be, you feel like you can handle it all – it is not much of a big deal – this post is intended to give you an insight into some of the ways these behaviors could be disrupting your life. Hopefully, it encourages you to take proper action into curtailing them, and accord the essential aspects of your life the attention needed for overall development and growth.
How Are Addictive Behaviors Disrupting Your Life?
If every form of addictive behavior is to be analyzed individually, you will find out how specific addictions are leaving detrimental effects on your livelihood. However, this discussion concerns the possibility that you could be addicted to anything. More so, it is aimed at providing you with a general overview. The various ways in which these behaviors could be disrupting your life are highlighted below.
- Loss of focus on every other thing around you
Most individuals find themselves in the clutches of an addiction as they seek some escape from their reality, or as they yearn to satisfy a desire or craving that was developed over time. Generally, as an addictive behavior begins to take control over you, and you develop a dependence on it as a means to an escape or satisfaction to a craving, you will start to lose focus on the things that matter.
You might find that you now binge shows on various streaming channels for prolonged hours beyond moderation, such that you find yourself going late to work, or giving excuses to avoid going to work. Also, you might start avoiding social interactions with friends and family, or feel stressed out whenever there is an occasion for such.
An individual with a substance use disorder, eating addiction, or gambling addiction might notice that even while in an imperative situation, their mind is fixated on their indulgence.
- The behavior takes a toll on your physical health or condition
This can be true for every form of addiction. You might deprive yourself of sleep or food while trying to satisfy your cravings, or expose yourself to excessive intake of harmful substances. Over time, as you continue to indulge your addiction, you put yourself at risk of grave physical conditions that could lead to death.
A drug user might overdose or consume excessive amounts of drugs that suppress the activity of their internal organs. A food addict might indulge to the point of becoming obese. Also, a workaholic could put in excessively long and hard hours at work, leaving no room for proper nutrition or sleep, sometimes leading to physical exhaustion.
These are just a few instances that provide an insight into the side effects of some addictive behaviors on one’s physical health.
- Disruption of mental stability
Most addictions come with co-occurring mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as mental stress. These mental health stressors are mostly felt after indulging an addictive behavior. Unfortunately, they are never enough reasons to establish an unyielding resolve not to indulge again.
For instance, a gambler depressed after losing a lot of money and resolves not to indulge anymore. A few days later, they are back at it again, spurring another wave of depression. Being away from their favorite gambling platforms for a given period can cause them an intense craving to gamble, coupled with anxiety and inability to focus on other things until they go back to gambling.
This cycle creates a momentary high that dissipates as fast as it comes, to give room to various forms of mental stress. Similar sequences can also apply to internet addicts, sex addicts, drug users, and many other people battling different addictive behaviors.
- Societal and social distress
Most addicts find it hard to function properly in society. Their addiction pushes them to adopt norms that are not always agreeable to already established socially. Some of the personal problems which might have been developed in the course of addiction make it difficult to gain meaningful employment or maintain a healthy relationship with partners, friends, and family.
An addict might start taking unnecessary risks to obtain substances or access the activities they are addicted to by embracing addictive behaviors. Also, with less focus channeled on every other aspect of their life, they might start paying less attention to their appearance or hygiene.
Consequently, these attributes can make them less desirable in various levels of the society, or thin down their social circle. All these effects can pile up to make the addict feel stigmatized, ashamed, low-esteemed, alone, and with seemingly reduced opportunities at a better life.
Rise Above Your Addictive Behaviors
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are a whole lot of other points that are generally applicable or unique to specific addictive behaviors. Some addictive behaviors can lead to a massive loss of finances or horrible financial decisions. One would expect that with an addict’s finance diminishing as they spend unnecessarily to fuel their addiction, they might have a rethink and put a stop to their addiction.
Unfortunately, curbing addiction is hardly ever that easy. You need the help of your loved ones and addiction recovery professionals to deal with your addiction effectively.
If you are suffering from drug addiction, your first port of call should be a personalized, medically-supervised drug detox, conducted using evidence-based methods in a conducive environment. Other forms of addictions require different types of customized steps that boost total recovery.
Contact a recovery specialist now to learn more about how to overcome any specific addiction which you might be fighting.