How to Identify and Stop Addictive Behaviors

Many people confuse addictive behaviors with habits that they enjoy throughout the week without realizing they’re addicted to certain activities. There are many different types of behavioral addictions, which often help people temporarily feel safe, happy, or relaxed. You may assume that because you’re not breaking the law you don’t have a problem.

Understanding how to identify and stop addictive behaviors is key to realizing you’re finding a different way to cope with pain or trauma. The repeated action to alleviate your distress can have long-term effects and alter every part of your life. Here are a few ways to identify and stop addictive behaviors.

Examples of Addictive Behaviors

Addictive behaviors can take many different forms and can be similar to using drugs or alcohol to find relief. Some people develop addictive behaviors as a way of coping with a mental health issue, anxiety, or depression. If the activity is socially acceptable, it can be even more challenging to recognize it’s an addictive behavior. Many addictive behaviors are non-substance addictions, which include sex, gambling, plastic surgery, shopping, and playing video games.

The chemical releases that are experienced while participating in the activities make the individual want to repeat the behavior as much as possible. Some people may even get a thrill out of stealing or taking extreme risks. This can affect your impulse control as you continue to feel rewarded every time you visit the casino or shopping mall. You may feel bored, alone, or depressed when you’re not doing the activity.

Signs of Addictive Behaviors

There are many ways to recognize if you have addictive behaviors to determine if you need to seek professional help. You may realize that you have the inability to stop or control your behavior once you attempt to make a change. You may also start to hide your shopping or gambling from your loved ones due to how much time you spend doing it.

Over time, you may build a tolerance and have to do it more frequently to experience the same highs. You can start to develop cravings while doing the activity and start to take more risks to get the same thrill you first experienced. This can lead to spending more money to manage your addiction, failing to show up to work, or losing friends.

How to Stop Addictive Behaviors

Once you recognize your addictive behavior, it’s important to seek help from a professional. Therapy is one of the most effective ways to stop the addiction because it provides you with a safe place to process your feelings and get to the root of the issue. You may have enough willpower to quit the addiction, but it’ll be easier to adopt a different habit if you fail to address the underlying issues with a professional. Meditation is another form of treatment that has proven to be effective. This can allow you to clear your mind and process your emotions.

Once you self-reflect and understand what triggers you to have an addictive behavior, it can make it easier to feel less controlled by it. Creating a support network is also necessary to ensure you have family members and friends who can help. This will allow you to have accountability and people who can give you guidance when you’re tempted to return to the addiction.

Establish boundaries with anyone who shares the same addictive behavior or enables you as you work hard to recover and change your habits. Working closely with your healthcare provider can also help you to determine the best form of treatment based on your condition and history. You may even need someone that helps you manage your money and monitors your spending habits to ensure you’re not using your money to fuel the addictive behavior.

Look Towards the Future

Creating goals for the future is one of the best ways to develop better habits and avoid spending your time and energy on an addiction. Think about where you want to be in several years and create a plan on how you can get there. You may want to further your education, change careers, pay off debt, or become a homeowner. Following your passions will help you to shift your focus and feel fulfilled in other ways. This will allow you to feel rewarded without resorting to sex, gambling, shopping, or other types of activities. If you want to learn more about how to identify and stop addictive behaviors, you can talk to our team of counselors 24/7. Reach out to us by calling 772-266-5320.

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