We all speak about ‘quit smoking’ or letting go of alcohol, because they are things that become addiction if not overcome with time. Drugs are addictive and they slowly affect your internal organs, hence we say a big ‘NO NO’ to them.
But what is this addiction? Is it only related to intoxicating objects?
Well anything that alters your mood is an addiction.
We have earlier spoken on checking your addiction with substance abuse in How to deal addiction with a tough hand, but today we will speak of some other forms of addiction, which are present in our daily lives, but we do not identify them as addictions; nor do we do anything to recover from them.
Some common forms are easily identified like addiction with the internet games, social media, and networking, either via texting or social networking, which takes up maximum time of our day; subconsciously, we focus more on messaging and commenting on posts, rather than talking to our family. Some of us are shopaholics; that is a form of addiction too.
We are becoming really mechanical in our approach towards different things. However, some surprising addictions are there, which are really difficult to get rid of, but we do not realize that they are addictions.
Smart phones and tablets: We really don’t know, what is so fascinating or important in our phones, that we keep scrolling up and down; if not anything, we just check the calendar; similarly, for tablets, if you are using it regularly.
The average mobile phone user checks their device 150 times a day, and a recent study cited that 94% of college students reported feeling troubled when not carrying their phones with them. 80% of them said they felt jealous when someone else held their phones, and 70% said they expected to have feelings of depression, panic and helplessness if their phones were lost or stolen.
A behaviour becomes a habit, and then a habit becomes a harmful habit. It has a neurological basis, when we regularly carry our phones, we are prone to check something or the other, and this slowly increases in probability, till we become impulsive towards it, just like we lock the door of the bathroom, out of practice.
Smart phones are designed to make you check it again and again. However, this can cause cyber sickness and nausea, but we do not just give up.
Digging and biting nails- some people say that tension and anxiety make them bite nails, however, this is a form of addiction. Digging on the corners of the nail is an obsessive compulsive action; the action gives you a sensation which, in Freud’s language is an indirect sexual urge; a sensation which is also associated with sucking of thumb or something for a child, hence it becomes an addiction, and we cannot get rid of it easily.
Tanning: You won’t believe, many people across the globe are addicted to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. We Indians crave for #FairAndLovely skin, while many people, especially in America, are fond of getting a slightly dusky complexion, and for that they can lay down in the sun for hours; chances are that they will visit the beach as often as twice a week. In fact, according to Dr. Bryon Adinoff, an author of the study, the brain responds to UV light in areas that are associated with reward, causing some people to develop an addiction (“Tanorexia”) despite the potentially fatal health risks of tanning.
Lip Balm: Have you ever imagined, that helpful stick that protects your lip skin during the winters, can become an addiction? But it is true; some people just get obsessed with the idea of keeping their lips moistened and hydrated, so much so that they always carry a lip balm in their bag; many a times, of a different flavour. Gradually, they get addicted to the taste and smell of the cosmetic. This is because while lip balm offers a temporary moisture boost for dry lips, it can interfere with the process of cellular turnover and the production of natural moisture, leading you to apply more and more lip balm to counteract these drying effects. It may not be life-threatening, but it can be the cause of many illnesses.
Falling in love: Love and relationships complete our lives, but for some people, it is an addiction. They fall in love, and get off with it soon, and this becomes a habit, such people cannot stay single even for a day, they love being linked to someone or the other of the opposite gender, and they claim they are in love.
Exercise: Exercise is a healthy habit; it keeps you healthy in mind and body, however, for some people it becomes not just a habit, but an addiction, so much so, that they won’t give up exercise, even if they are ill or injured. Now that can be dangerous.
How can such addictions be cured?
Unfortunately, addiction is not an acute illness like jaundice or diarrhoea, where a direct medicine can be implied.
- Cognitive behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be much of a help for recovering yourself of this urge of going back to your habit. CBT is especially popular for its non-invasive and non-drug-based approach to therapy, which allows the patient to exercise more control over treatment than with other options.
- Controlled environment- Sometimes, we can use a controlled environment to get rid of the habit, we are in. For e.g. you choose to be without your phone for a day; intentionally, forget your phone at home, and go for office; you will be disturbed initially, but, when you practice this for a couple of alternate days, you will no longer feel anything compulsive about your smartphone.
- Self-control and routine set- start your schedule from a fixed day. You need to make up your mind that you need to free yourself of the addiction. Promise yourself that you will not look into Facebook posts for more than half an hour in a day, and maintain this timing religiously.
- Spend more time in other activities- after you get home, instead of switching on the TV or computer game, or facebook, read a book, do some study on subject of your interest, practice some yoga, or just help your partner in cooking. Do some cleaning for the house. When you are engaged in something, you won’t feel the urge for addictive things.