Most people think about addictions in terms of the more common and harmful addictions: physically addictive substances like drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. However someone can also develop unhealthy psychological habits and addictions to many other things, such as: an abusive relationship, feeling guilty, sex, watching television, blaming other people, self-harm (cutting), feeling victimized, acting out in violence, eating, shopping, surfing the internet, adrenaline or working.
In order to fully understand addiction it is helpful to remember that humans are creatures of habit, learned habit. We develop habits in work and play, in how we relax and how we interact with people. We learn to indulge and reward ourselves with things that we enjoy. We learn how to comfort or distract ourselves from difficult or traumatic situations. We develop ways of coping and dealing with stress, anxiety, unpleasant relationships or intense feelings and thoughts.
Habit Turned Addiction
Some habits and ways of coping are positive and others are damaging. We can choose to do something in the moment that we know is not good for us in the long run, but we consciously make the choice to do it and feel in control about it. Sometimes we don’t know better. Either way, a behaviour becomes a habit.
The problem is that habits, even if you know they are not healthy, can slowly become deeply ingrained within you and your personality to the point that they no longer are a choice and are out of your control. An addiction is a habit that has stopped being an active choice and more often then not is causing harm to your life and to those around you. The good news is that personal habits can change.
Learning healthy ways of coping and communicating about your difficult thoughts and personal troubles is very helpful in overcoming an addiction. A therapist at the Montreal Therapy Centre can help you initiate this process and regain control. Click here to book an appointment with a Montreal therapist.