An addiction is a chronic disorder in which an individual is blinded by a substance, or engages in an activity, that gives them an immense amount of pleasure but has become detrimental to their everyday life. Compulsive behaviors and addictions can temporarily provide confidence, control, validation or other emotions lacking in one’s life, but the behavior may not stop until the root of the problem is addressed. All addictive/compulsive behaviors are ways to cover one's pain.
Addiction changes the brain through the limbic system, also known as the “brain reward system.” This part of the brain is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure and relaxation, for example. The abuse of addictive substances and behaviors triggers this system which then affects the ability for one to control feelings and motivations.
Common addictions include but are not limited to:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Social Media
Seek Professional Assistance
People who have developed an addiction are often the last to believe that they are out of control. Typically either they need to be directed into getting help by a loved one, or be in so much pain about how their lives are going, that they will finally be willing to ask for help.
Counseling and recovery typically start by focusing on education and behavioral changes. Triggers need to be determined and methods to control impulses are a part of the work. Education about addiction and developing a strong support system are vital. However, the underlying issues, which are often unknown to the individual, must ideally be uncovered and dealt with on a deeper emotional level.