What is your addiction? The Question of the Week

Merely Me Health Guide
  • Hi everybody


    I was thinking about the word "addiction" lately.  We use it so freely to describe all sorts of behaviors. When we really like something or we do it a lot we may say we are addicted to a thing or activity.  For example we may say we are addicted to chocolate chip cookies. But are we really?  Lately I have felt like I am addicted to some new games for my iPad like Word Seek and Word Zinga.  What is it about these word games which lures me like a siren and makes me drop work to play with words?  Could it be a little escapism? But hey...I am building my vocabulary and working my brain.  What is it they say about brain functioning...use it or lose it?  So no I am not really addicted to iPad word games...I just like them a lot. 

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    But I digress...


    When we talk about addictions we tend to think of drugs and alcohol.  We even judge addictions by the substance used.  I sometimes watch the Dr. Drew show about celebrities in rehab.  They had one musician on there...who compared himself to the other patients...that some of the other people in the program "just" had an alcohol or pot addiction...meanwhile he had the "hardcore" addiction to heroin.  It was almost competitive as in you don't know addiction until you have it to certain drugs.  I don't know.  My father died of his alcohol addiction so I think it can be pretty serious.


    There are many other addictions in addition to substance addictions.  In some circles these addictions may be disputed as being true addictions but people seem to suffer for them nonetheless...such as:  Gambling, compulsive sex, internet porn, compulsive shopping, overeating, and even tanning.  


    Addiction has been defined by some as a physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances.  But in a broader sense it can be the continued involvement with a substance or activity regardless of negative consequences.  There is usually some sort of withdrawal if the person ceases to use the substance or engage in the activity. Also the amount of pleasure decreases over time so that the person has to use more of the substance or spend more time engaged in the activity to feel normal. 


    I think it is difficult for people who do not have addictions to understand what it is like.  I have always wondered what it was like for my father, for example, to be addicted to alcohol.  As much as I can process it intellectually I can never walk in his shoes or anyone else for that matter who has an addiction because...I have not had this experience. 


    Which brings me to our question(s) of the week:


    Do any of you have an addiction?  What is the experience like?  Are any of you in recovery?  At what point does an activity or use of a substance cross over into addiction?  Do any of you have a personal definition of when you crossed over that line and knew that you were an addict? 

    (Some addictions include caffeine, cigarettes, prescription medications, alcohol, shopping, street drugs, gambling, sex, tanning, eating, internet, etc.)


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    Bonus questions:

    What would you say is the difference between addiction, obsession, and passion?  Let's say you really like to paint.  You are good at it.  You paint everyday sometimes to the exclusion of being with people....you forget to eat.  Is this passion, obsession, or addiction?  When is something considered harmful and when is it a passion? 


    Let me phrase it this way:


    • Do you have any addictions?

    • Do you have any obsessions?

    • Do you have any compulsions?

    • Do you have any passions?

    • Do you engage in any activities which take up too much time when you feel you really should be doing other things.  In other words, which activities do you engage in to escape or take a break?  What are your "guilty pleasures?"

      Do any of these overlap for you? 

    I know...too many questions!  But I am curious to see how you all view these terms and what your experience has been. 


    Thank you for participating in our question of the week.  I am looking forward to reading your responses!




Published On: July 12, 2011