Addiction refers to a difficulty in controlling certain repetitive behaviours to the extent that they have harmful consequences. They are the result of powerful compulsions to use and do certain things excessively, often out of a need to escape from upsetting emotions or situations. These compulsions can trigger a self-perpetuating process, which can cause pain and suffering not only for those with the problem, but for their loved ones too. Most people connect addiction to drugs or alcohol, however there are also plenty of non-substance addictions that people have. A few of the most common include shopping, spending money, food, pornography, risky sex, and gambling.
There are many signs of an addiction. While these may vary depending on the substance or activity, every addiction has the capacity to greatly impact self-esteem and confidence - inducing troublesome feelings such as shame, guilt, a sense of hopelessness and failure. Everyone is different and some people may be better at hiding their addiction, or they may not be aware it has become a problem, but certain behaviour changes can indicate a problem.
Common behaviours and signs of a possible addiction include:
withdrawing from social activities or neglecting relationships
borrowing money or selling possessions in order to fund their addiction
attempting to hide or lie about the habit
exhibiting frequent mood swings
missing work, school or social events
losing interest in activities or hobbies they previously enjoyed
However, with addictions being so varied - from gambling to drug abuse - signs of an addiction can be more or less obvious in people.
The first step in seeking help for addiction is usually to speak to someone about how you are feeling. If you are the person with the problem or worried about a friend, contact me today.