Addictions

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An addiction is a compulsive behavior that results from a physical or emotional dependence. What you are dependent on can vary. Some substances or activities that you can be dependent on are

Drugs
Tobacco
Alcohol
Gambling
Overeating

Addiction has become part of our everyday lives. If you associate an activity with pleasure or the relief of stress, chances are you fall back on it whenever times are tough or when events in your life encourage it. Some addictions can be physically damaging such as smoking, excessive drinking and using narcotic drugs. However any habit that becomes the dominant factor in your life can damage your physical or emotional health and may even harm your family and others. Some substances are highly addictive such as narcotic drugs and nicotine in tobacco and most users become physically dependent on them. It has been shown through research that some people are genetically predisposed to addiction because of the particular balance of chemicals in their brains. Depression and anxiety, can be associated with an imbalance of neurotransmitters and hormones that make the cravings leading to addictive behavior more likely. Unfortunately social, emotional and behavioral influences are also responsible for these cravings. With determination and support, addictive behavior can often be changed or overcome.

Prevention

 

If you find that you have a tendency toward addictive behavior, try to recognize the warning signs that a cycle is about to begin and find alternative and less destructive ways to respond. Increase self-awareness by writing out lists of alternative, life-enhancing behaviors that you can substitute for your habit, whenever you feel that your addictive behavior is about to break through.

Alternative Treatments

 

Support Groups - Find out if there are any local support groups for your type of addiction and attend them.

Yoga and meditation - Yoga exercises, meditation and visualization have all been found to be helpful in breaking addictions and they also enable you to attain a more positive attitude towards your health. A daily session of yoga postures, breathing exercises and relaxation may calm you down, reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase willpower. Your mood will be lifted and your self-esteem improved.

Massage - Self massage may help reduce some withdrawal symptoms and ease tension when you are trying to resist a substance or activity. Before beginning massage, sit somewhere comfortable and give each foot a firm massage, using a tablespoon of almond oil mixed with 2 - 3 drops of geranium, lavender, jasmine or neroli oils. Stroke your lower legs, working with long, slow sweeps from your ankles up to your knees and gently smooth moisturizing cream over your face and neck with your fingertips.

Diet - If you are a compulsive drinker, include foods that are rich in beta carotene, chromium, magnesium, zinc and vitamins B, C and E into your diet. This will help meet your body’s increased need for these vital nutrients and reduce cravings. Addiction to tobacco and alcohol may be associated with low blood sugar. To maintain steady blood sugar levels eat regular, medium meals and keep sugar-rich food to a minimum. In general follow a diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates and drink plenty of non alcoholic fluids; as dehydration can be a trigger for addictive behavior. Chromium supplements act as a glucose tolerance factor.

Other therapies - You could seek individual help from a counselor who uses cognitive techniques to help you understand your addictive behavior and demonstrate alternative ways to meet the same needs. Acupuncture, biofeedback and hypnotherapy have all been found to be effective when treating addictions.

Traditional Treatment

 

You should consult your doctor if you realize that the habit is out of control, the addictive behavior affects your relationship adversely or if it causes emotional or physical problems. You should get help immediately if you have taken an overdose of an addictive substance or if the addictive behavior makes you a danger to yourself or others.

The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2013-01-17