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5 addictions that are already at your fingertips

Posted on 06-19-16 in Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse

Addiction is a brain disease that revolves around reward. It’s not about the substance or the activity to which one is addicted. It’s mental slavery that is single-minded on pleasing its master, be it dopamine or endorphin receptors within the brain.

The scary part about having an addictive personality is that if it’s not one vice, it’s usually another.

Over the years, Sovereign Health has revealed research on several addictions you may not realize you have as well as comprehensive advice on what to do once you realize your little problem is out of control.

Didn’t know I could be addicted to…

  • Smartphones.

More research is being conducted on smartphone addiction, but preliminary surveys show boredom, an addictive personality and “leisure stress” are the recipe for the dependency. The accessibility can make it hard to be present socially or with family and less than productive at work.

Smartphone addicts spend more time scrolling through windows than any other daily activity. Study subjects with the highest amount of use also reported the most anxiety, unrest and ennui in their leisure time.

Kent State University study author Andrew Lepp, Ph.D., explained, “The high-frequency cell phone user may not have the leisure skills necessary to creatively fill their free time with intrinsically rewarding activities. For such people, the ever-present smartphone may provide an easy, but less satisfying and more stressful, means of filling their time.”

The study authors recommend one addicted to the phone can mitigate addiction by simply disconnecting from the phone intermittently. Set an alarm to turn it off; if that doesn’t lessen dependency, it’s time to seek professional help. 

  • Caffiene.

What begins as needing a workday kickoff with a cup of joe can worm its way into an all-day dependency on any type of caffeine one can find, replete with weekend withdrawals if the days don’t debut with caffeine.

About 82 percent of people nationwide drink coffee daily. Any substance that bequeaths one with debilitating withdrawal symptoms in its absence is worth taking a sober look at cutting back on, for long-term wellness. Caffeine withdrawal includes effects such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms: nausea and muscle impairment
  • Fatigue, mental fog and drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Decreased contentedness and depression episodes

And a simple panoramic gaze around Starbucks will demonstrate adolescents are drinking mochas and lattes at much the same frequency and increasingly younger ages.

Samples of high school students show that a significant portion of teens see caffeine as a nonharmful activity. Early addiction in the formative years is a hazardous tangle for brain development and academic success.

  •  Gambling

Research exposes this compulsion as an addiction that instigates depression as well as a dopamine rush. Gambling doesn’t have to be at the slots either. A fantasy sports league taken too far or gambling apps played to no end, even with fake currency, can count.

A study out of Quebec illuminated that “boys who demonstrated more impulsive behavior were more likely to develop depression and gambling problems later in life.”

Lead analyst Frederic Dussault recommended gambling problems be treated along with depression because they often co-occur. Also called dual diagnosis, this comprehensive treatment method is applicable to arguably all process addictions, since they are products of mental distress of some sort.

  • Social Media

Sovereign Health’s “Detaching from technology for your health” infographic is an illustrative compilation of many different kinds of emerging conditions related to the aforementioned smartphone addiction, plus harmful physical and mental issues stemming from addiction to social media.

Of note are social media conditions called cybersickness and Facebook depression. Digital motion sickness is the opposite of being car or seasick. According to a related New York Times article, “You see movement – like the turns and twists shown in a movie or video game car chase – that you do not feel. The result is the same: You may have sensory conflict that can make you feel queasy.”

WebMD explains that “you might be among the 10 percent of social media users who really are hooked. The random pace of posts affects your brain the same way that cocaine does. Sharing details about yourself with others also creates a rush of positive feelings that leaves you wanting more.”

  • Sex

The internet has facilitated information dissemination as well as communication, but has also advanced the ease of access to addictions and altered the way users absorb and retain what’s experienced online.

“The “addict’s brain” concept further gets fed into by the fact that too much exposure can open pathways to online compulsions such as gaming, gambling, stock trading, online shopping, bidding or cybersex addiction.”

When sex is no longer a source of intimacy, partners are continually strangers, and zero attachment is felt, then sex has become an addiction. WebMD explains people with a hypersexual disorder have the brain wiring parallel to someone with a gambling or drug addiction.

Why aren’t others addicted?

A likely response to these surprising addictions is to wonder why others aren’t also addicted. The simple answer is that an addictive personality makes some people more vulnerable to developing abusive tendencies. Here are a few markers to self-check:

  1. A leaning toward impulsivity
  2. Mood swings
  3. Negative self-perception
  4. Continually craving more (of anything) to get the same pleasure
  5. Inability to reduce or cease an activity on one’s own
  6. A past with dependency
  7. A family history of addiction
  8. Consistently anxious

infographic

The good news is, with every looming shadow of temptation there is an illuminated way out. With a combination of brain training, therapy and treatment that addresses both the mental and physical components, you can recover holistically. The Sovereign Health Group provides all this, plus alternative therapies and esteeming aftercare to ensure lasting recovery for our patients.

About the author

Sovereign Health Group staff writer Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass. Her cover: a 30s-something Cinderella breadwinner of an all-sport blended family. Her repertoire includes writing poetry, lifestyle articles and TV news; editing, radio production and on-camera reporting. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at news@sovhealth.com.