Not feeling is no replacement for reality.
Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow.
Addiction can come in many forms – alcohol, anger, computer gaming, drugs, eating disorders, exercise, gambling, sexual obsessions, shopping and other compulsive behaviours.
Any behaviour that has the power to alter our mood can become addictive.
So why are addictions so easy to acquire, yet so difficult to stop?
The answer lies in the chemical reward mechanisms the human brain uses to motivate itself to act and learn. The excitement we get when we are keen to do something is produced by dopamine, a natural brain chemical which raises our emotional levels so we want to take action. The warm feelings of satisfaction we get after doing something such as eating, laughing, having sex, or achieving some new understanding or skill are produced by another natural substance, endorphin. Working together these chemicals keep us interested and to stretch us to learn and achieve.
In a well-balanced life, a reasonable amount of natural reward is felt by the human every day, but in a life where essential emotional needs are not met and abilities are not stretched, the rewards do not come and life feels flat and meaningless. This kind of life is rich territory for addictions to target, as every addictive substance or behaviour either stimulates a reward mechanism or provides a chemical reward directly.
To get away from addictive behaviour it is necessary to understand two things: the way these reward mechanisms work, and the way life should be constructed in order to receive the natural rewards that make addictive activities less attractive.
Most importantly, for a successful outcome is a genuine wish to live a life free from the addictive behaviour.
Therapy will help people who have compulsive behaviours to get their real emotional needs met. It will teach them how to acquire the strategies and understanding that will enable them to enjoy a complete life free from their addictions.
After the fire, ashes
After the rain, growth
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