There’s a good possibility you wouldn’t identify yourself as an addict. After all, you tend to think that addiction refers to the dependent consumption of certain substances. Therefore, you detach yourself from this definition. However, a pattern of dependency can be reproduced with many different elements, and there are several addictions that often go unnoticed.
Normally, this happens because they involve normalized behaviors at a social level. It doesn’t mean that these addictions don’t harm you (they do), but that you fail to identify them because they don’t particularly make you stand out from the crowd. In fact, a large part of your environment acts in the same way so it’s difficult for you to realize that something is wrong.
Despite the fact that you’re unaware, it’s possible that some of these addictions are currently limiting you. Today we’re going to focus on them and help you to change.
What are addictions?
Before exposing some of them, it’s important to define what an addiction is. Addiction occurs when there’s dependence (whether psychological, physiological, or both ) with respect to a specific element. In this situation, the brain pathologically seeks to obtain a reward or relief from distress by resorting to a particular substance, person, object, or situation.
A series of phenomena are produced that make up the addictive picture:
- Craving and inability to maintain abstinence. A strong need to use the substance or perform the behavior is experienced. If this urge isn’t satisfied, the individual suffers intensely, either physically or mentally. Therefore, it’s impossible for them to maintain abstinence
- Dependence. Personal well-being is dependent on the addictive element. It’s the main source of satisfaction and the primary escape route from any discomfort.
- Tolerance. Somehow, the body has become accustomed to the substance. For this reason, the individual requires a greater presence of the element to obtain the desired effects.
- Lack of control. It’s really difficult for them to control their behavior and move away from what they’re dependent on.
- Deterioration and discomfort. Addiction affects their personal well-being and negatively impacts different areas of their life. However, they tend to refuse to acknowledge this damage and they minimize the problem so their dependency continues.
Addictions that go unnoticed
As you can see, addiction doesn’t necessarily have to be related to a substance. It’s the way in which you relate to objects, people, or situations. For this reason, you can become dependent on everyday elements, the kinds of things you wouldn’t imagine could ever present a problem.
Here are some of the addictions you might well be experiencing that you haven’t even noticed.
1. Flour and sugar
As a human being, you were born with an innate preference for sweet tastes. This is easily verified when you offer a piece of fruit to a baby. However, as you got older you were exposed to a multitude of ultra-processed products full of added sugars, and that natural sweetness stopped satisfying you.
White flour and hidden sugars in the vast majority of products you consume have great addictive potential. This means you feel that you need them if you go without them for a while and that you need larger amounts each time to satisfy your craving.
That’s because these ‘foods’ significantly activate your brain’s pleasure circuit. Therefore, consuming them rewards you with a pleasant discharge of dopamine that makes you feel good, dispelling any emotional discomfort that you may be feeling. Consequently, a large number of people are addicted to sugar without being aware of it.
2. Internet and social media
This is one of the most widespread addictions today. Indeed, many of us find it difficult to leave the house without our cell phones or to go for more than a few hours without checking our social media.
It’s the younger generation who are most at risk of suffering from conditions such as FOMO syndrome or nomophobia, but they can occur at any age. In fact, other areas of life such as work performance or social relationships can be affected by an addiction to the Internet and technology. However, it’s difficult to change habits.
If you find yourself taking your phone to the bathroom, feel anxious about running out of battery, or being offline for a few hours and you can’t stop yourself from checking your networks, even when you’re with friends or family, you may have developed a degree of addiction.
3. Romantic relationships
Addiction to love is one of the most common yet overlooked addictions. It’s related to emotional dependence. It signifies the urgent need to have a partner and the high discomfort caused by losing them or even thinking about it.
If you suffer from this kind of addiction, you might find yourself maintaining a particularly harmful relationship. Or, you might link up with totally unsuitable people due to your addiction to falling in love and being a part of a couple.
Today, pornography is more accessible than ever before. Furthermore, its consumption has become normalized. However, in some cases it generates addiction and ends up causing discomfort, affecting an individual’s live and damaging their relationships.
Due to the excessive release of dopamine produced by viewing pornography, the actual sexual act ceases to be stimulating. Therefore, it becomes necessary to consume pornographic content to a greater extent. In addition, pornography is used to avoid emotional discomfort and obtain a short-term reward that ends up generating dependency.
Although addictions tend to be linked with unhealthy substances or habits, even those that are beneficial when consumed in a reasonable amount can end up becoming harmful.
When the need to exercise becomes an obsession or an emotional outlet, when it occupies an excessive part of your time or interferes with your social relationships and other vital areas, you’re facing a problem.
This is a behavioral addiction in which you prioritize sport over everything else, leading you to lose control and feel the need to meet increasingly demanding goals in order to feel at peace. However, this is one of those addictions that tends to go unnoticed until it’s at a rather high level. That’s because exercise is associated with discipline and a healthy lifestyle.
Addictions that go unnoticed can be diverse
As you can see, an addictive pattern can be generated around multiple objects. When it comes to drugs or behaviors that are harmful in themselves, it’s easier to identify what’s happening, but when necessary (such as food), healthy (such as sports), or everyday elements such as a relationship are involved, this recognition becomes complicated.
The key is to analyze the effect that the relationship with the person, situation, or product generates. Addictions are always limiting, cause discomfort to the individual and their environment, and interfere with obligations or self-interest. Therefore, when life begins to revolve around the element for which dependency has developed, that’s when help should be sought.
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