Checking your phone every minute, exercising compulsively, working without rest, or shopping without measure is addictive behavior.
Any dependency hides great dissatisfaction. When a person needs to “fill” a deep deficiency with external elements, he escapes from his inner emptiness, but in a transitory way. For this reason, he constantly turns to the element that suits him to generate a discharge of endorphins that gives him pleasure and enters the circle of dependence.
When we speak of “external factors”, we are not just talking about drugs or alcohol. We are talking about socially accepted daily habits such as shopping, using the cell phone, eating, or going to the gym. What’s wrong? Excess.
“Problem gambling, uncontrolled sex or compulsive shopping increases dopamine in the brain as would the use of psychoactive substances, leading to a feeling of euphoria,” says the Latin America Psychiatric Association in the study Non-Substance Related Addictions.
A person predisposed to addiction will more easily develop an addiction to these behaviors because his or her impulses will become uncontrollable and will have to constantly repeat the behavior that gives him or her pleasure. The addictive personality is marked by genetic and psychosocial factors.
“If there is a history of addiction in the family, it is important to watch out because there may be a genetic predisposition, but the environment also counts and learned behavior patterns and culture,” explains psychologist Paola Andres Velasquez.
When there is an emotional discomfort of loneliness, boredom, or even aggressiveness, an addictive personality will relieve it by filling the time with activities: working, shopping, exercising, continually looking at social networks, etc.
Behavioral dependence is also related to certain behavioral patterns that are usually unnoticed by the person concerned but are visible to the closest family members:
Inability to complete projects or honor commitments. The addictive personality is characterized by anxiety about doing a lot of things in a short period, and therefore quickly loses interest in finishing what is started.
Difficulty following the rules. Why should pleasure be limited?
Increasingly complex lies. As with any addiction, the person will find it difficult to admit that they have a problem and lie about their motivations or about the time they spend on the same activity, in order not to be questioned.
An unrealistic vision of themselves. Not accepting that they have a problem, these people feel very affected by outside criticism and are outraged by the image that others have of them.
Constant boredom. They are constantly dissatisfied. Nothing comforts or fills them up as much as compulsive activity. They have no patience and despair easily.
Searching for adrenaline. The addictive personality will disown people who are calm or overly organized. It prefers chaos, and to this extent, seeks people who offer intense emotions and transient relationships.
Excess without measure. The norm is not acceptable. Limits are not desirable. An addictive personality will seek to drink more, eat more, spend more, play more, work more… in short, anything that can be excessive.
For a non-addicted person, it is easy to judge this behavior and to propose the simplest solution: “stop playing with fire and stop everything”. But it’s more complex than that.
The non-dependent society thinks these people do not heal because they do not want to or dislike it. At first, the addictive behavior gives them pleasure, then it becomes a negative pleasure, a discomfort they don’t enjoy. They feel bad, but they can’t live without it because they feel that there is an inner force that strengthens them, a force greater than themselves,” explains psychologist Paola Andres Velasquez.
So, once the problem is recognized, the next step is to find professional help. A person with a behavioral addiction will find it difficult to stop on their own because they will relapse into the same addiction or into a more dangerous one.
Therapy will comprise finding the deep-seated deficiency that causes the person to fill it in every way possible and helping him or her to seek satisfaction in his or her own well-being rather than in external factors. Because the greatest risk you run with this personality is to change one addiction for another.
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