What we wanted to do here was consider how and why addictions start. Many of you have probably asked:
Why do I smoke or drink / have an addiction?
The first thing to say is we live in an addictive society and addictions take many forms. We have focussed on smoking and drinking because of their obvious impact on your health. There are many addictions that can affect your health and lifestyle, here are just a few:
This is not an exclusive list and maybe you will read these and would not have considered them addictive.
Addictions tend to creep up on us. We do something because it is a treat or it makes us feel good. At this point we are in control, we have the occasional drink and enjoy or we puff the odd cigarette when out socialising. We find a new computer game and just want to get to the next level.
Typically, a life event or stress occurs and we get stressed or anxious. This is the time we turn to our comfort, our treat. We need something to make us feel better. If the stress continues it reaches a point where we need more of our treat to make us feel better.
This is the slippery slope because once we need more and more of something to feel the same buzz from it we will ultimately consume more and more. We become addicted.
Addictions can be insidious. Those of you who read our blogs regularly will know I had a chocolate addiction. You know you are addicted when you go out at 10pm to find chocolate at the local petrol station… That crept up on me! I hadn’t realised I was addicted and even when I did it took me a good while to work out why I had this addiction.
The story is not unusual; I was doing a stressful job, away from home several days of the week and in an unhappy relationship. Chocolate gave me comfort; until I noticed I had to eat more and more to get that comfort. I became aware that I couldn’t go a day without chocolate. This was full on ‘let me at it’ craving. I suffered mood swings, poor skin, weight gain and hormonal issues. These symptoms are all hallmarks of blood sugar levels way out of control.
My stress levels raised my cortisol levels which affected my blood sugar levels which in turn affected my thyroid and other hormonal balance. You can see clearly how one factor cascades to cause chaos and imbalance ultimately leading to ill health in the body.
Addictions the other effects
Addictions can cause problems besides health issues. Relationships can be affected; a drinker may become a different person after a few drinks. The cost of your addiction might affect family finances; it might affect your ability to work as it becomes more extreme. If you have children you are certainly not setting them a good example particularly with drinking and smoking.
How do I stop being addicted?
Well you are still reading this article, so something must have resonated with you…
There are a number of things to think about and there is lots of information out there on the subject so we will give you a brief summary here.
Good luck and please read our GoSober and Stoptober blog there is lots of useful information even if you don’t smoke or drink.
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