How Can You Tell If You're An Addict?
People can be addicted to many things (food, gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs). Nearly anything done in excess is unhealthy, even traditionally healthy activities such as exercise or work.
But what distinguishes when something evolves from casual use or passion into an addiction that can ruin your life or the life of your partner, child or friend?
Here are ten criteria that can help identify addition or addictive behavior*:
- Continued failure to resist impulses to do the behavior.
- Doing the behavior for longer periods of time than you planned.
- Being unable to stop or control the behavior.
- Spending an excessive period of time doing the behavior.
- Obsessing about the behavior or preparing for the behavior.
- Doing the behavior when you are supposed to be fulfilling life obligations (going to work, studying for school, etc.).
- Continuing the behavior despite knowing that it causes an increasing or recurring social, psychological, or physical problems.
- Feeling the need to increase the intensity or frequency of the behavior to get the same effect.
- Giving up other activities you enjoy (such as leisure and social activities) because of the behavior.
- Feeling anxious or irritable when you can't engage in the behavior.
If you or someone you love fits these criteria (or even just a few); then it's possible that the behavior is, or could lead to, an addiction. Often addictions require professional support and intervention, so please consider getting help now with therapy.
*(Source: Carnes, Patrick. Facing the Shadow, 2010)