Addiction can be described as a strong, uncontrollable need to carry out a behaviour despite any adverse consequences. Initially embarked upon as a pleasurable, social activity or a coping mechanism, these damaging habits and patterns of destructive behaviour quickly become the sole focus of attention. This then leads to problems at home, work and school.
Addiction isn't confined to the mis-use of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gambling, or even sex. In my work as a therapist, I have come to recognise similar patterns of addictive behaviour in such things as eating disorders, and OCD.
But there are other behaviours that can be just as damaging to your health or wellbeing. These compulsive habits are often caused by the desire to feel better about ourselves and can manifest as over-tanning, cosmetic surgery, excessive buying of clothes, shoes or other fashion items, exercise, or playing computer games. Anything, in fact, that gives us an immediate sense of relief. However, as with all addictions, the pleasurable feelings don't last very long and we find ourselves needing to, once again, indulge in whichever habit we have identified as providing that rush of endorphins or even comfort.
Recognising that you have an addiction or behaviour that is getting out of control and seeking help, can be an extremely difficult but rewarding first step on the road towards recovery. When working with any addiction, I feel it's imperative that we uncover the reason behind its creation as well as providing methods of dealing with the addiction at a physical and emotional level.