Most people are partial to the odd guilty pleasure, whether it’s a
sugary treat or an occasional glass of wine. Perhaps your secret
vice is to peep at Facebook while you’re at work, or maybe you
indulge in retail therapy? Many times it’s probably harmless, but
for some people life’s small indulgences can easily escalate into a
Interestingly, the urge to consume more, whether it’s food, sex, or
alcohol and drugs , affects everybody from time to time. Very few
people are completely immune, all of us exist somewhere on the
addictive spectrum, but for most of the population it doesn’t cause
serious problems. However, for a sizable proportion, addiction has the
potential to become a serious affliction. These are the people we call
‘addicts’, even if they may not currently be in the throes of an active
addiction. Instead, the condition might be dormant.
Most of us have the potential to become addicted to almost anything
with the power to alter our moods and this can include ‘processes’ such
as shopping or exercise as well as substances. People become
addicted to something because they are trying to change the way
they feel. Some things one might want to consider in estimating whether
or not a tendency towards addictive behavior is present might include the
Sensitivity: If deep down inside you are emotionally sensitive it can
open the door to addiction. Addicts seem to have a pre-disposition to
being hyper-sensitive to life’s trials and tribulations.
Vigilance: Addicts are often highly intelligent people who work in the
creative spheres of life. They have a gift for watching what’s going on
around them and they are super-attuned to danger, but they struggle
with the feelings this creates.
Perfectionism: Many addicts are high achievers. This may be because their
self-esteem is reliant on being seen to do well in order to feel good, instead
of having an inherent sense of self-worth.
Childhood Trauma: If you experienced emotional trauma during childhood,
overt, hidden or seemingly minor, then it can become locked in your brain’s
limbic system and make you highly susceptible to addiction in later life.
A sure way to find out if you’re using something in an addictive fashion
is to ask yourself a very simple question: does it cause you consequences
you’d rather avoid? If the true cost includes damage to your health, or to your
relationships or to your self-esteem (or to your work or anything else), then
it might be time for a wake-up call.