When you need to break free
There is an addiction when we realize that something or someone is not good for us, yet we can’t stay away from that object or person.
The word “addiction” is mainly associated to substances, such as alcohol, drugs and medication. Nevertheless, other addictions are more common, such as love addiction and new addictions, such as smartphone, social medias and porn.
Love addiction is a dependency relationship in which you can’t stay away and detach from someone even if the relationship is affecting the possibility of reaching your personal goals. Usually, this happens when the sense of self is vague and feels defined only by the presence of a significant someone. Life seems meaningless without this person, but the relationship triggers feelings of sadness, pain and frustration. Therefore love addiction is characterized by mixed feelings: the need to stay away from someone who is “toxic”, and the urgency to be close to this same person.
New addictions are so widely spread across the population, that they go under-noticed. Most people indeed are unaware of how many times they check their phone and of how much time they spend on social media, videogaming and binge watching. There is the risk of developing the habit of not being fully present to the reality and of getting used to a constant distraction from activities and social interactions.
The most common feeling associated to addiction is shame, as if failing in one’s own determination, by having fallen in an easily avoidable trap. This sense of shame is often responsible of the refusal to seek for help.
As therapists, we never judge people’s behaviour, regardless of its harmfulness; instead, we believe who has developed an addiction must have been trying to fulfil a personal need. In therapy, we will identify this deep and personal need, in order to find together alternative ways for it to be fulfilled, more functional to one’s own goals.