Have you ever stayed up too late to play just “one more” video game? How about lied to someone just so they didn’t know you ate the entire container of ice cream all by yourself? What about spent your entire check shopping online before you even paid your bills for the month?
Sometimes we turn to things outside of our mundane life to bring us newness, excitement, contentment, relieve stress and/or bring a bit of calm to our lives. It’s our escape for a minute, an hour or an afternoon.
But, what if that escape turned into an entire day, a week or more? What if all you could think about was the next time you could escape doing that “thing” you loved to do, or that “thing” that made you feel something? Is it called a bad habit at that point or has it become something more…even an obsession?
In the past, most people might just think about substance abuse when they hear the word ADDICTION. But, with easier access to technology, it’s not just drugs, nicotine or alcohol that can give the euphoric effect on your brain anymore. This momentarily happy feeling that floods your brain’s reward center with dopamine, that gives you a short-lived “high,” can come from a behavioral addiction too. A behavioral addiction develops when you continually perform that behavior to chase that high, even if the rest of your life is falling apart.
A behavioral addiction can be found in things we love most, things we would have never thought an addiction could come from, i.e. shopping, video gaming, internet, eating, sex, work, exercising, gambling, risk taking, plastic surgery, etc. But, when the fun things spiral out of control to become an obsession, compulsion, or extreme psychological dependence that interferes with an individual’s ability or desire to function normally, it has become an ADDICTION!
Watch out for the signs, such as obsessive thoughts about the behavior, hiding the behavior from friends and family, inability to stop engaging in the behavior despite negative consequences, such as failing relationships, health problems, or financial instability, irritability and restlessness, isolation, depression, guilt and shame, lying, denial, missing work, school, or significant events, fighting with friends and family, sleep disturbances and lack of self-care.
Just like a substance addiction can be harmful to you, behavioral addiction can too, but in different ways. Without proper treatment, behavioral addiction can damage relationships, destroy families and ruin lives. Addiction can be responsible for diminished self-worth, estrangement from family and friends, dismissal from work, and decline of physical health.
Here are some interesting stats on Internet, Gaming and Gambling addictions:
INTERNET ADDICTION: People who use the computer, obsessively checking emails, social media, or compulsively shop online despite the consequences are diagnosed as having an internet addiction.
- Up to 2% of the adult population in Europe and North America suffer from this behavioral disorder.
- Adolescents and senior citizens are the most likely to suffer from internet use addiction disorder.
- Up to 61% of surveyed adults claim that they would have a hard time giving up the internet for a week.
GAMING ADDICTION: Technology plays a crucial role in the rise and prevalence of gaming addiction.
- Up to 41% of people who play video games say they do it as a way to escape from real life.
- Researchers claim that up to 7% of all video game players are addicted to the activity.
- Adolescents and young adults are at a higher risk of developing a gaming addiction than their older peers.
- People with high levels of anxiety, aggression, and neuroticism are also the most at-risk of developing this behavioral addiction.
- Online role-playing games and multiplayer games are reported to be the most addictive.
GAMBLING ADDICTION: With the rise of smartphone technology, someone with a gambling addiction can quickly spiral out of control with 24/7 access to gambling apps and other gaming devices.
- Current statistics show that 6% or 10 million U.S. adults have a gambling disorder.
The good news, though, is that there is hope! It’s never too late to start fighting addiction, and there are resources and tools available to help.
Here are 5 SIMPLE STEPS to follow to be back on the road of a healthy balance in life and its activities.
- Find a Support System. Talk about your addiction with someone you can trust. Make it known that you have a problem. Have someone you can talk to in a weak moment.
- Avoid Triggers. Stay away from people and places that remind you of your addictive behavior.
- When you have a compulsion to do something you are trying NOT to do, find a healthy distraction. Read a book. Go for a walk. Practice mindfulness and meditation. If the obsessive thought doesn’t go away, call your friend you can trust and talk about it.
- Practice Self-Care. Stress is a big reason why people want to escape their life. Find ways to de-compress daily. Feed your body nutritious food. Take your Lifelong Vitality Drink water. Get adequate sleep. In a moment of stress, immediately find something you’re grateful for.
- Use Essential Oils. Essential oils are great because they can help with many of the symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, etc., and they can help boost your mood and increase your energy so that you can keep pushing forward on the road to recovery.
Essential oils can also help reduce stress, which is important because stress is one of the biggest reasons why people engage in addictive behaviors in the first place. Below are a few essential oil suggestions that may be helpful for addiction recovery.
Bergamot: Helps calm agitation, alleviate sadness and increase energy.
Lemon: Helps with anxious feelings and sad moments, energizing, overeating, stress and relaxation.
Wild Orange: Helps with anxious feelings, fear and withdrawal and is emotionally uplifting.
Peppermint: Helps with headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and muscle aches.
Grapefruit: Helps with drug addictions, appetite suppression, anorexia, bulimia, mental stress and withdrawal.
Roman Chamomile: Known to be calming and helpful with insomnia.
Lavender: Helps calm agitation, relieve anxious feelings, reduce mood swings and fight insomnia.
Adaptiv: Reduces tension and helps to empower and encourage when adapting to difficult situations or acclimating to new surroundings, helps manage the effects of stress and anxious feelings and creates a sense of balance.
Console: Binds your broken heart, wards off feelings of grief and sadness, comforting while encouraging hopefulness.
Cheer: Inspires an optimistic, cheerful, and happy atmosphere, creates an energizing and positive environment.
If these 5 Steps don’t give you the help you need, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional. Find one that you are comfortable with, one who can be your ally in helping you overcome your addiction and help you develop healthier ways of dealing with the compulsions. Commonly, psychological counseling is a significant component of behavioral addiction treatment. In these sessions, the focus is on identifying underlying issues, such as trauma or abuse, that may have led to the development of the addiction. Determining a root cause can help you to establish ways to control your impulses, manage your emotions, and establish coping mechanisms that work for you. In some cases, medication may be used to treat behavioral addiction, especially if the condition is co-occurring with a mental illness. However, talk therapy, counseling, and support groups lie at the heart of most behavioral addiction treatment plans.
If you find yourself or a loved one in the middle of a behavioral addiction, there’s help. Addiction recovery is very possible––especially with the help of essential oils and a good support system. Don’t lose hope. Get help, set goals, and get your life back!
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