Any activity, substance, object, or behavior that becomes the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities or has begun to harm the individual whether it be physically, mentally or socially is considered an addictive behavior. A person can become addicted to anything whether it be shopping, surfing the internet, food, alcohol, drugs, compulsive gambling, sex, work, running, or even another person. Most of us have at one time or another been “hopelessly devoted” to someone or have experienced some kind of obsessive attraction. Most of us also know what it feels like to believe “I’ve just got to have that “whatever”; and most of us have felt hysterical or upset because someone didn’t agree with us or give us what we wanted. If you have ever violated your values and ignored responsibilities to pursue an overpowering desire, then you understand the feeling of addiction.
Codependency frequently underlies addiction. A codependent person is someone whose core identity is undeveloped or unknown, and who maintains a false identity built from dependent attachments to external sources – a partner, a spouse, a boyfriend, family, appearances, work or rules. Codependency is essentially an addiction to security.
There are some common characteristics of addictive behaviors:
In therapy we work through many of these issues and study the family of origin because; depending on the individual; it is often helpful to understand how these behaviors were passed down. Other approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy, 12 step programs, family work and building self esteem.
Individuals lacking in self esteem are likely to be very easily influenced by their environment or attracted to addictions. If the environment is perceived as unfavorable, their self esteem is lowered. Individuals with high self esteem are less influenced by the environment. They feel that they can master the environment and, thus, their self esteem is relatively stable. At the Hellenic Therapy Center we strive to promote a healthy self esteem.
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