The sentence “we are all addicts” does sound quite controversial, but in reality we are all addicted to something that may be harming our mental health, functioning, relationships, connection to self, our work and our lives in general. Majority of very toxic addictions such as drugs, alchohol, shopping, sex/porn, gambling, kleptomania, food, video games, and more are all very well known addictions and there is a lot of research and support groups to help those struggling with those addictions.
These addictions are lesser-known about having much less support besides individualized therapy, making it more challenging for the greater population to understand addiction and have those suffering, take back their life.
In this article, I will outline common addictions we have that we don’t realize are taking over us:
Addiction to TV: Although it is easy to sit at home and Netflix and chill, especially during the pandemic, many people are addicted to TV. Binge-watching a TV show or watching movie trilogy marathons now and then isn’t harmful, but in this day and age, binge-watching shows every day is widespread, and this holds detriment to your mind, body, and soul over time. Make sure to leave room for other activities such as exercise, walks outdoors, reading, writing, dancing, and so much more! Make a conscious decision to watch less TV daily.
Addiction to your phone/social media: This one probably seems obvious to you, especially with the younger generations being constantly on their phones. Like most of the things on this list, a little bit of phone time and scrolling isn’t damaging, but there are studies out there that prove that using too much social media daily does have severe impacts on your mental health. It becomes effortless to start comparing yourself to others, seek validation constantly, and get addicted to mindless scrolling through other people’s lives. Remember, the grass is never really greener on the other side of the road, and people typically depict the happy, envy-worthy content on their social media and hide a lot of other parts of their lives. Make sure to limit your time on your phone, be present, and avoid scrolling too much on social media.
Addiction to your own negative thoughts: Believe it or not, we get highly addicted to our own negative thoughts and beliefs. This is part of why it can be challenging to reprogram our minds to be optimistic if we have been pessimistic for so long. The mind is a muscle, and it gets used to certain neurons firing that it takes time to re-wire. There are many different ways to reprogram this type of thinking: through positive affirmations, meditation, breathwork, journaling, and more
Addiction to your own maladaptive behavior patterns: Our behavior patterns can be very unhealthy. We can easily unconsciously get into all sorts of traumatic, dramatic, and difficult situations that are completely unnecessary. We get addicted to doing these behaviors and even the results that come out of them, even if we know they make us unhappy. This is exactly why many children who have been abused end up in abusive relationships when they get older: they become addicted to the abuse, even though they know they don’t want it. Although these patterns are difficult to break out of, it is possible and requires a lot of self-awareness as to where, why, and when these patterns occur and, for some, help from a mental health professional.
Addiction to people: As Warsan Shire the poet and writer said: “You can’t make homes out of human beings” and she was certainly right! If you understand what codependency is, then you will fully understand what an addiction to a person is. We have to remember that other people do not “complete” us and that we are complete on our own! The need for connection and closeness with other people is completely normal and healthy but sometimes it can hit an unhealthy level where we can’t be happy on our own. If you border on codependency, I’d like you to understand more about your childhood and attachment styles, as this always shapes our attachment in relationships as adults.
Addiction to validation: When your happiness and sense of self-worth relies on other people’s praise and validation, you know you’re in for trouble. True happiness should always come from within, not from others around you! In the age of social media, it becomes easy to get addicted to validation from others. Are you only happy when you get likes on your picture on Instagram? Do you do things for others to please them and get praise and admiration? If this sounds like you, then I invite you to work on your self-esteem and self-love. You are always more than enough, whether you get praise or not.
Addiction to our negative moods: Negative moods, quite like behavior patterns and thoughts, are addictive. Sometimes it’s tough to shake yourself out of moods of anger, depression, anxiety, aggression, poor self-esteem, and physiological stress, and that is because they are addictive. Even though we know it makes us feel horrible, it’s simple to fall victim to these negative moods’ patterns and have one event ruin our entire day or even week. It’s good to put things into perspective using a thought record, meditation, journaling, artistic expression, and/or exercise.
Do any of these lesser known addictions resonate with you?