Researchers have been studying addiction for years now, and many of them would agree that if we could pinpoint an exact moment when an addiction starts, like a light going off in someone’s head, things would be easier. Maybe then we could do more to prevent an addiction from starting. But addictions begin gradually, usually with behavior that isn’t always wrong or necessarily dangerous. We don’t wake up one morning and say, “I think today I’m going to become addicted to something.” Rather, it starts as something about us or our lives that we aren’t satisfied with. Maybe it’s our family life that we try to get away from by drinking or doing drugs. Maybe an injury has left us relying on prescription medications to deal with the pain. Maybe it’s a stressful job that we escape by spending hours on the computer, or maybe it is our weight that has caused us to worry and be anxious.
Addiction is a Gradual Process
Usually when people become addicted to something, they feel like they can manage it on their own at first; that they will be the one person that can partake of these activities over and over and not become addicted. Young girls that binge and purge do so because they think they can do it for a short time and then quit. The same goes for drugs. No one tries drugs thinking that they will one day be the drug addict alone on the street. But compulsive behaviors can quickly take over a person and before they realize how strong the compulsion is becoming they are caught up in a full-blown addiction.
It is important that we learn other ways to cope with our problems. Sometimes a little alone time to think, take a walk, or rejuvenate is what helps keep an addiction away. Sometimes it is a nice, long talk with a good friend or family member. For those that really see the danger looming ahead, a talk with a counselor will be very beneficial. Just don’t think you can do it on your own.
An Unhealthy Mindset
Our society today has an attitude that makes us think we are too rushed, too pressured, or suffering too much, and that we need to do something to reward ourselves, or make ourselves feel better. Drugs help at first and the high that people get makes them forget their problems. Other addicting behaviors like shopping, binge eating and purging, or excessive internet use, help people feel they are in control, or escaping their unhappy life.
But addictions take over people’s lives and those that are addicted become miserable. Then their problems are even more serious, and what once helped them feel better fast, now is ruining their lives.
Treatment for addiction can be very effective and many Americans are learning to heal their addiction and live a normal life. We shouldn’t think we can get over an addiction on our own. Professional help is necessary to provide people with the counseling, skills, and support necessary to recover.