An article by Shivani Misri Sadhoo, Counselor Psychologist Based in Delhi.
Addiction—dependence on a particular substance or activity—is one of the most important, difficult, and complex areas of mental health. Addiction can be difficult to treat, and there is a good deal of controversy surrounding the causes of addiction and the best approaches to treatment.
Many people assume that we can only become addicted to substances that exert a physical effect on the body such as alcohol or drugs, but many activities can become addictions including gambling, shopping, using the internet, and even sex.
When you engage in activities that make you feel happy – such as a shopping spree, winning a bet or having sex with someone new – your brain releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals that encourage you to repeat that behavior because it provides such an enjoyable ‘high’.
However, if seeking out the ‘high’ has developed into a compulsive and uncontrollable desire to engage with the activity in spite of the increasing negative and harmful consequences it is having on your life, then you are dealing with an addiction.
Addiction Verses Bad Habits
It is important to understand that addictions are not simply bad habits and it’s also important to know that the difference needs clarification. A bad habit is a repetitive behavior that someone may engage in, at times without even thinking about it, that may be unhealthy in some way or cause other types of problems. An addiction brings about multiple changes in a person that don’t occur in a non-addict who may use the same substance or behavior.
Due to certain lifestyle factors, addiction can be caused and some of the causes include:
- High Stress Levels
- Having a parent with a history of addiction
- Severe Trauma or Injury
- Exposure to substance abuse at a young age.
Some of the following behaviors may be indications that someone is at risk for or has developed an addiction:
- Drugs and/or alcohol are seen as necessary components to having fun.
- School attendance suddenly declines, along with performance and grades.
- Items around the house may begin to disappear or he may start to sell prized possessions.
- He may begin to display angry outbursts, mood swings, irritability, or an overall attitude change.
At times, the symptoms of addiction can mask the symptoms of a psychiatric disorder, and vice versa. A professional with specialized training is necessary in order to treat a dually diagnosed person effectively. This is not something that a person can manage successfully on her own or even with the help of friends and family.
An addicted person is always in denial will often fiercely deny that he has a problem. In fact, he asserts, he can quit any time he wants. He just hasn’t had the desire to quit to this point. Be aware that denial may become more intense as the problems worsen. This is only a sign that the addicted person is in over his head and needs intensive help.
Acknowledgment of the addiction and the negative effects the addiction has on a person’s life is necessary if true recovery is to take place. It’s not just the person who has the addiction suffers. It’s their families, friends and partners. With a skilled counsellor, you can begin to look at the underlying causes and issues surrounding your addiction .We understand your emotional needs and help you find healthier ways to manage your life.
About: Shivani Misri Sadhoo, Eminent Psychologist in South Delhi,
With a career of more than few years as a psychologist and a relationship counsellor, Shivani Misri Sadhoo is a diploma in Counselling and Guidance and a Post Graduate in Counselling Psychology. Apart from her own venture, Saarthi , she is also working for a leading NGO which is a crisis intervention centre for people in distress and a suicide helpline. Shivani has been from time to time attending extensive workshops on marital counselling, Relationship Counselling CBT and Counselling Skills from VIMHANS and various other reputed hospitals. An emphatic and warm person by nature, she helps in exploring and understanding your own emotions. Shivani’s mission is to help people find their own solutions. You can write to her at email@example.com.