Addictions (behavioral and chemical) are behaviors that you are not able to stop, even though they are destructive to you in some way. The use of substances or behaviors may begin for the “high” or as a way of coping with difficult emotions. Everyone may occasionally use substances or behaviors to feel good or to “numb out”, but with consistent use, some people become addicted. Denial, a symptom of addictions, allows them to grow progressively worse over time.
Behavioral addictions come in many forms including binge eating, intentionally vomiting, gambling, playing video games, shoplifting, cleaning, working, sex or relationships. Both behavioral and chemical addictions can not only prevent you from thriving, but can also have devastating consequences.
Are you preoccupied with thoughts about engaging in the activity?
Do you have difficulty controlling the behavior?
Do you need to engage in the behavior more and more to get the desired effect?
Do you engage in the activity secretly?
Do you socialize with people who are using substances excessively?
As a result of the behavior, have your relationships and your job been negatively impacted?
Have you experienced changes in your weight, energy level or sleep patterns?
Do you often feel anxious, depressed or angry?
Do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you do not use the substance or engage in the activity?