The prevalence of addictions in modern society includes a variety of estimates that point to the vulnerability of human beings to various behaviors and substances. As the late author and psychiatrist Albert Ellis often said, “humans are addiction-prone.” Taking that even a step farther, one researcher, I. Marks, in the British Journal of Addiction said, “life is a series of addictions and without them, we die.”
Pros and Cons?
One’s relationship with addictions is a personal matter that can also impact family relationships, finances, plus physical and mental health. They can also put other people in harm’s way. Addictions are commonly self-destructive, but they can also be life-affirming. Some people are addicted to exercise, while others are addicted to work. These addictions, or could be said, balance productivity and harm.
In fact, Dr. Ellis used to advise his patients to turn their self-destructive addictions into positive ones. First, he would say, put the obsessive quality of your addiction to use by using it to help your recovery process. Next, seek out addictions that are on the benign side. Become addicted to gardening, golf, knitting, jogging, drawing or music, just to provide a few examples.
The necessity of stopping truly harmful addictions requires the help of trained professionals, therapists and, often, physicians. One of the first steps in detoxification and rehabilitation is a full physical work-up, because addicts often neglect taking care of themselves and because the stress and discomfort of an illness can lead an addict back to their addiction again.
Human beings can tolerate pain to various degrees, but when the source of pain is unattended to, the worry, the stress, the discomfort can be that much greater. When you take care of yourself, at least you know you are doing your best and that is a comfort that can over-ride worries and pain. If you let yourself go, the worries can work against you, especially if you are struggling with addiction issues at the same time.
Your Support Network
If you are dealing with addiction issues or know someone who is, include your physician in your support network. The extra help will not be for naught.
Addictions come in many forms. Here are the more prevalent addiction issues that Americans face:
- Illicit drugs
- Prescription drugs (mostly opioid pain medication)
- Internet addiction