Shopping. Video games. Chocolate. Television. Facebook. When you think of an addiction, do these favorite pasttimes come to mind? Most people instantly think of alchol or drug problems when associating addiction, but the previous activities can be pretty addictive.
An addiction is a physicological or physical need for an activity. Without that activity, the body suffers from withdrawals.
Can you really suffer from a shopping withdrawal? You betcha. The compulsive behavior has serious implications on your life, health and mind.
Alcoholism and tabacco addiction is has easier tell-tale signs, but other addictions are harder to accept. Here is how you know your pasttime has changed you for the worse.
- Everything revolves around the activity. You are preoccupied with thoughts of doing and planning the activity. Do you find that you cannot concentrate because you are focused on eating or playing video games? Then you might have a serious problem.
- You are secretive about the activity. Do you keep secret food stashed under your bed or play video games while your family is asleep? In my family, if you are being secretive then something is wrong. And this theory applies. If you find that you are hiding your activity from shame or embarrassment, then that is a red sign.
- You cannot stop the activity, even when you try. This is also a red flag when you stop for a bit, only to find yourself starting again.
- The activity is shedding a negative light on your life. Are your relationships straining because you spend all of your free time shopping?
Answered yes to even one? I hate to be the one to break the news, but you have a compulsive behavior problem.
But there is help. And you are not alone. Like with any addiction, the first step is realizing and acknowledging that you have a problem. While it might be tempting to keep the compulsive behavior private, the best way to acknoledge the problem is to tell someone. Not comfortable telling your spouse? Consider telling a friend that you trust.
The next step is to figure out what the root of your compulsive behavior is. Find that you eat a lot more when you are stressed? Figuring out the trigger is the best way to start eliminating the behavior. By getting rid of the trigger, you can actually figure out a way to eliminate the trigger.
Next, you need to figure out a way to block or create a barrier to the behavior. Can’t stop clicking on your Facebook news feed? Put a password on your internet. Or sign up for a free internet blocker that parents can use to limit the time their kids spend on the internet. But use it for yourself.
Seek help from a professional. Some compulsive behavior requires more than just personal intervention. Many health insurances-including United health care insurance- will cover mental health costs like visiting with a therapist. Through regular mental evaluation, and in some cases medication, you can beat the compulsive behavior and take back your life.