Kicking those Addictions

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • As we move into the New Year and make out our list of resolutions, be sure to add giving up your addictions. I'm not speaking of the hard drugs. I'm sure the majority of my readers aren't hooked on heroine or cocaine.


    Neither am I talking about drugs prescribed by your doctor. It's true that some of these may be addictive, or, at the very least, habit forming, but if your doctor has prescribed them and if they are working for you, listen to your doctor. If they aren't working for you, then it's time for another appointment to discuss changing your medication, but not because it's addictive.

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    What I am talking about are those common, everyday addictions that so many take for granted. Do you start your day with a cup of coffee? Do you drink several more cups during the day? Then you may be addicted to caffeine, the drug found in coffee. Caffeine in the morning helps to jolt you awake. It increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure. Well, surprise! It does the same thing at night, and can cause insomnia. If getting to sleep is one of your problems, it might be wise to cut back on coffee. And don't forget that caffeine is present in other substances besides coffee. Many Cola drinks are loaded with it, as is chocolate and various over-the-counter and prescription medications.


    Perhaps you add a cigarette to your morning ritual. Maybe you smoke many cigarettes during the day. Another addiction - nicotine. Nicotine is also a stimulant and can keep you awake. Smoking causes breathing problems, especially bad for those suffering from sleep apnea, asthma or other disorders associated with the throat or lungs. Why not give up a habit that causes health problems, makes you smell terrible and costs a fortune?


    Most of you know the social and medical problems brought about by alcohol abuse. Another addiction that some people never worry about. But alcohol does cause health problems, disrupt sleep and can be deadly when mixed with many prescription drugs. Never use an alcoholic drink as a nightcap in the belief it will help you sleep. This is a myth. You may fall asleep quickly, but your sleep will be restless and you'll wake up feeling dragged out and even ill.


    The final addiction I want to touch on today is food. Food? Addictive? Well, actually it is. That's why we see so many overweight people. We just keep eating and eating and can't seem to stop. It wouldn't be so bad if the foods we become addicted to were healthy choices, like fresh fruit or vegetables. But it's more likely to be fast food like fries, salty food like potato chips, or sugary food like that box of doughnuts sitting in the coffee room at work filled with empty calories.


    Chocolate gives us a double whammy. Not only is it a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth siren begging you to indulge. It's also loaded with the drug, caffeine. The holidays are over. Let's ditch the chocolate.


    In fact, lets ditch all our addictions and get this year off to a healthy start.

Published On: January 05, 2009