In our modern world, it’s incredibly easy to find short-lived pleasures or activities to become addicted to. We can fall into the trap of becoming identified and dependant on something without even realising it.
Do you wake up in the morning and see the glare of your phone screen before anything else? Scrolling through your notifications and social media almost as if on autopilot. Similarly, it can be difficult to recognise addiction to things like video games, pornography, junk food or even the gym.
Of course, some things are less destructive to your life. It would be less harmful to be addicted to the gym than to heroine but regardless, addiction can ruin your life. There can often be a fine line between having a healthy relationship to something you enjoy doing and being dangerously obsessed with it. Here are a few signs that you may be addicted to something:
1. Disruptive to your life
Is this activity affecting one or more aspects of your life in a negative way? Are the relationships with your loved ones or other friends being affected? The more addicted to something you are, the more your life will begin to revolve around it. This of course affects the way you spend your time and your priorities in general.
If you are more concerned about getting home after work/school to begin binge-playing video games until midnight rather than spending time with your family or friends, it could mean that you are overly dependant.
2. Discomfort if you go without it
If you begin to feel uneasy and anxious when you go without this activity for longer than you are used to, it’s a typical sign of addiction. Can you go a few days without checking your Facebook, watching porn or eating junk food?
A good way to test this would be to simply try it out. Do your best to go without the thing you think you’re addicted to for a few days. The harder it is, the more likely that you are somewhere on the addiction scale.
3. Losing control
With addictive activities and tendencies, it’s very easy and common to lose control of your actions and end up spending more time on them than you should be. You may convince yourself that you’ll only have one slice of the cake or just play one hour of your new video game, but what happens? The cake is gone within the hour and the clock ticks away for hours as you stare at your TV screen.
One of the biggest mistakes that addicts face is thinking that you have power over your addiction. It is very unlikely that you will actually stop after one slice of cake or an hour of gaming and so this can be one of the biggest indicators of your unhealthy addiction to something.
4. It’s Importance
Your sense of identification with the activity in question can also be a determining factor pointing towards your addiction. How important has it become to the way you live and structure your life?
Pushing other things aside which may even be more important can show the extent to which your life is dictated by your addiction. As with some of the other points, the degree of severity of the addiction can be shown by just how many things are being replaced and taken over by this addiction.
5. Returning to it
This indicator suggests that you are aware of your problem to a certain extent. However, we may think of a lot of things in our life that aren’t necessarily good for us but don’t regard them as addictions. Saying to yourself that you won’t watch porn for at least a week and then reverting back to it the following day highlights a sense of dependence which points to an addiction.
Constantly going back on yourself and returning to your activity despite knowing that it’s not good for you can be a seemingly inescapable trap that many of us fall into, particularly with things we may not think are of great importance such as scrolling through social media at every free minute.
All of the above steps can be an indicator of the significant problem of addiction. Addiction is often not thought of as a disease but it can truly be destructive to every aspect of our lives. It is essentially a representation of our inner desires, fears and lack of control over our judgement and decisions. The first step to dealing with most problems, is to recognise that it’s there in the first place. In this regard, I hope this article has helped you.