When we think about addiction, our minds usually jump to drugs and alcohol and for good reason. Addiction to substances is the most common form, and for this reason it is easy to diagnose and treat as there are numerous programmes aimed at supporting people suffering from substance addiction. On the other hand, behavioural addictions can be just as dangerous, but as people are not using addictive substances it seems completely innocent.
Any action that takes over our time, consumes our thoughts and has a negative effect on our health, our relationships, our work and our general well-being, cannot be considered as innocent and we need to treat these “addictions” as any other.
Below are 8 of the most common modern addictions:
While most of us normally wish the week away until we can relax and spend time with family and friends, some people find it difficult to separate their work lives from their personal lives and on top of this, are usually so busy during the day that they forget to eat or exercise. People who overwork themselves often experience burnout and suffer from exhaustion. This may also lead to anxiety and depression. It is very important to have a healthy balance in one’s life.
2. Love addiction:
Some people love being in love. This is usually the beginning of a new relationship where everything is still new and exciting. This feeling is due to the release of endorphins that make you feel good. Even though we all enjoy this part of the relationship, it tends to move from this phase to a more long term phase where the partners get to know each other and the feelings move from pure infatuation to love and respect. For someone who is addicted to the feeling of being in love, it is difficult to move to that phase of the relationship, thus their relationships never last very long and they find it hard to connect on a deeper level.
3. Television addiction:
We all enjoy the escapism of watching a good show or a movie to unwind at the end of a long day, but some people spend most of their time staring at a rectangular screen and losing themselves in another world. They tend to lose touch with reality in some way. Even if you don’t own a TV, you can be addicted to watching “television”, with platforms like Netflix, YouTube and websites where you can stream series and movies wherever you are on your laptop or smart device.
4. Teeth whitening addiction:
For some people, appearance is very important. Every second commercial on TV or in a magazine advertises toothpaste that will whiten your teeth and we feel if our teeth don’t look like that, then there is something wrong with us. So we tend to turn to other methods where we can whiten our teeth in the comfort of our own homes, and once we start, we can’t stop.
5. Exercise addiction:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important. We are constantly working to be stronger, fitter, leaner, more toned, skinnier and the list goes on. Exercise also releases hormones that make us feel good and we generally enjoy the “high”. Some people also turn to using performance enhancing agents and supplements so that they can go on longer and see results more quickly. This goes hand in hand with the previous point about our obsession with our appearance. We need to keep in mind, that even though exercise is very important, we need to let our bodies rest sufficiently and maintain a balanced diet.
6. Shopping addiction:
We all enjoy a little retail therapy every now and then. Especially at this time of year, when the season of giving usually means spending a lot of money on ourselves and our loved ones. Some of us enjoy it a little too much and don’t know when to stop. They get addicted to the feeling that buying something for someone or ourselves gives. The sense of instant gratification is what makes us spend more and more money on generally unnecessary items. We think that if we have something, whether it be clothes, cars or gadgets, people will like or respect us more. We need to keep in mind that we need to be responsible with our purchases, to keep us out of dangerous debt.
7. Tanning addiction:
Having a healthy summer glow all year round seems to be the norm nowadays. With the harsh South African sun and the very real risk of skin cancer, we tend to turn to other ways of bronzing our skin. As with teeth whitening, we feel that if we don’t look a certain way, there is something wrong with us and it is easy to get addicted to self-tanning, because we like the way we feel when we get compliments on our appearance.
8. Internet addiction:
The most common addiction is social media addiction. We want to know what everyone else is up to and show everyone else what we are up to all the time. We can spend hours on end watching online videos, posting pictures and reading the latest celeb news. The problem with this is that we tend to portray our lives in a certain way that is not necessarily the whole truth. This may lead to depression in some people that think everyone else’s lives are perfect, when they’re actually not.