Most everyone recognizes addictions when they are obvious, like drugs and alcohol. However, there are other forms of addictive behaviors which, although legal and socially acceptable, often serve the same purpose of substance abuse. The underlying agenda of these behaviors, when used addictively, is avoidance. Avoidance of certain people and avoidance of certain feelings are often the unconsious objective of addictive behaviors. Some typical forms of addictive behavior are noted below. If you know of others or have thoughts on this subject, please share in the comments.
- Excessive work (over time, volunteering, going in early, staying late)
- Too much social activity (frenic, never having a moment not involved or seeking involvement with others, avoiding being alone)
- Obessive physical activity (exercise, yard work, house cleaning, etc…more than is needed)
- Shopping to the extreme (spending more time and money than normal)
- Compulsive sexual activity (can’t get enough, can’t stop thinking about it)
- Over eating (when not hungry, binging, gaining weight, junk food)
- Over-indulgment in media (reading, television, video games).
- Too much time computer (games, internet, social media, browsing)
All of these things are part of normal every day living. It’s only considered addictive if it is used as an avoidance mechanism in some way. Usually it’s avoidance if there is a frenic, compulsive, and anxious quality to the pursuit of these activities–similar to those who are addicted to substances. If these things cause a problem (whether with family, with friends, with yourself or with your health) then you may be engaging in addictive behaviors. Just something to think about.