Addictions & Addictive Personalities
This is not as straightforward as most of us think it is! Typically, we associate addictions to things or activities such as gambling, illicit substances, eating or the lack of it, alcohol and sex, to name a few.
There are strong emotions and drives that are the basis for our compulsive behaviours linked to an addiction. Often these emotions are connected to early experiences that are humiliating or shameful and that severely impact on ones identity or their place in society.
Emotions linked to shame and humiliations are by nature, unattractive and difficult to deal with. As a result, behaviour linked to something that provides a great deal of distraction from these frequently arising emotions, and the satisfaction this brings, becomes the compulsion to repeat this behaviour.
Addictions are also formed as a result of dealing with psychological, social and physical distress that produces a pleasurable feeling and a significant distraction from having to deal with the distress being experienced.
Very soon, this pattern defines our lifestyles leading to impaired mental, physical and cognitive health, difficulties in relationships, employment, academia/school and often coming in contact with the law.
A simple reflective checklist could help you in taking steps to address this problem. Ask yourself:
- Psychotherapy will examine the developmental contributions to your experience of personal distress Do I think I need to reduce/cut down?
- Do I feel guilty?
- Am I annoyed with this pattern?
- Am I feeling disappointed with myself?
- Have I developed a sophisticated pretence about my behaviour?
- Am I ‘letting down’ those close to me?
- Am I exhausted with this behaviour?
Psychotherapy will aim to provide that integrated structure to explore any precipitating events in your history, that can be linked to the troubling emotions that sit behind and fuel your compulsive behaviour that is attached to your addiction.