Imagine sitting in the same chair, doing the same activity for 2,190 days in a row.
One Chinese man has spent the past 6 years at an online cafe, only occasionally leaving for food, and for a random shower. He sleeps at the cafe during the day, if he gets tired, but otherwise he is generally engaging in online activity. This man, Li Meng, even pays the cafe a monthly rent as you would for an apartment.
6 years at one place, doing the same activity over and over every day. Based on news reports, Li has clearly not had a haircut during his time at the cafe, but he makes enough money from at least some of the online activity to support his life.
According to reports, Li finished college, but instead of going on to find a job like the rest of his peers, as is expected of young men his age, Li chose to start frequenting the internet cafe and engaging in online activity for money.
China has tried putting a stop to the high levels of online gaming that have occupied the time of way too many young people throughout their country. Camps were set up to discontinue Internet addiction one individual at a time. Allegedly parents take their kids to these camps where violence is used to “cure” the young person of an Internet or online gaming addiction. In a country that sees about 80% of its young population suffering from a desire to constantly be online, and that has a total population of 450 million people, online gaming is without a doubt a growing problem in China.
So is there harm in kids spending a lot of time online? What about Li Meng’s lifestyle choice? Is he hurting anyone? Is he hurting himself?
Behavioral addictions seem much harder to define than substance addictions, don’t they? If someone is drinking to the point of intoxication every night, and has been arrested for drunk driving, and has been abusive to family members while drunk, that addiction to alcohol is clearly harmful to the person who is drinking, and to those around the alcoholic. But what about someone like Li Meng, or the millions of young people in China, and around the world, who are involved in various online activities a majority of their lives? The consequences and ramifications of an Internet or gaming addiction are not as clear.
No one who has been interviewed at the online cafe has really heard Li speak much, so it is not known what Li’s relationship is like with his family. It can be assumed that if Li is basically living at the cafe, and people do not see his family with him, then his relationship with family members must be at least somewhat estranged.
Internet and online gaming addiction diagnosis can follow the general umbrella criteria that are used to identify a drug addiction.
Has the individual experienced a loss of control over use of a substance or over a behavior?
Is the person obsessed with use of a substance, or with engagement in a behavior?
Does the individual continue to use even after experiencing negative consequences directly, or indirectly, from the use of a substance, or the involvement in a behavior?
Even when the problem is evident, is the person still in denial?
Is a powerful tendency to relapse his or her reality? Has the person tried to stop or slow down use of a substance or frequency of a behavior, but the use also returns?
What makes a relationship really official? Facebook!
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn each put a message up on Facebook confirming the rumors of their relationship. Not that it was a secret, but the couple felt it was time to let the world know that the two are an item.
If you remember back to 2009 when Tiger fist got busted for cheating on his then wife Elin, the media was going crazy with reports of all kinds. Alleged mistresses and lovers were coming forward, different places were listed that Tiger Woods had been spotted with so and so, and other celebrities were weighing in on the situation, as if they knew what is going on. People love to chime in on the distress of others, and ironically enough, Lindsey Vonn was no different.
In 2010, Lindsey was quoted in Time magazine mocking Tiger Woods and his indiscretions. She was quoted as saying, “Yeah, you’re awesome, you go have that sex.” and “There’s something you don’t know about me. Tiger, you’re like my idol, and I too have a sex problem.” She even had a little Saturday Night Live sketch idea that made fun of the way Tiger announced what was going on with him and his marriage and how he apologized publicly for it.
She was with a group of friends after an Olympic event, just enjoying some down time, and was overheard making the jokes. She did not go out of her way to make a public statement, or to openly express her opinions of Tiger Woods, so it seems he was not too upset by it.
Although Lindsey Vonn was not the only one to make light of Tiger Woods’ sex addiction, it certainly is humorous that the two are now dating, especially since they were both married at the time. Within the two years after the scandal and Lindsey’s comment, each were going through a formal divorce. Lindsey is the first woman Tiger has been in a relationship with since his marriage to Elin.
It appears that since the two are high-profile athletes, they have an understanding of where the other person is coming from, and there is a mutual respect for the level of competition within their individuals sports that the other has reached. So does Lindsey respect Tiger’s sex addiction? Does she take it seriously? She does not seem to have made any further public comments about it, but she must now understand the extent of a sex addiction if she is in a committed relationship with someone who has been formally diagnosed and treated for one.
Tiger Woods was cheating on his wife. He got caught. Does that make him a sex addict? Maybe, but is most important is that he got the help he needed to stop engaging in behaviors that were destructive to himself, to his profession, to his wife, to his family, and to his public image.
For many people who have become involved in similar situations, and who end up losing everything that once meant something to them, rehab has provided the environment that allows them to change and choose a different way of life. It appears to have done the same for Tiger Woods. If he is choosing to be monogamous and he is carrying that out, then he is honoring his commitment when not too long ago he was not living with the same integrity.
Formal treatment for sex and love addiction can help you, or a loved one, figure out how to go about making the desired changes that can lead to a more satisfying life.
An individual treatment plan identifies your unique set of needs in treatment so you can learn the most helpful coping skills and strategies for handling difficult cravings and triggers, and start your road to recovery from a harmful addiction.
The intensive outpatient program at The Control Center does just that. Contact the center today to find out more!
Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?
You may be surprised to find out that all four of these “substances,” along with gambling, Internet activity, shopping, eating, and many more behaviors can all be equally detrimental when they have reached the point of addiction.
Are you a relationship addict? Do you have an intimacy disorder, or an attachment disorder? Let’s find out together.
The following questions are drawn from information in the book, Addicted to Love, by Stephen Arterburn.
Were you abandoned or rejected in some way as a child?
Have you been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse?
Do you feel unloved by the world at large and by everyone around you?
Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed by the requirements of everyday life?
Do you worry constantly? Are you fearful of daily events?
Have you set standards for yourself that are too high to ever attain?
Do you feel you must be perfect to ever be “good enough” for someone else to truly love you? Are feelings of inadequacy real for you?
Have you attempted to fix someone you’ve been romantically involved with?
Are you staying with partners for too long in an effort to save them?
Do you find yourself attracted to needy people? Does their neediness make you feel like they will not leave you, and you will not get hurt?
Are you attracted to emotionally abusive or distant people?
Does an emotionally-stable person make you anxious or uncomfortable? Does it scare you to think of being in a relationship with someone healthy who would be strong enough to live without your love?
Have you attached to partners quickly? Does attraction lead right to a relationship?
Do you stay with a partner because it is better to be with them, then to be alone?
In comparison to those you’ve dated, do you seem like the emotionally-stable person? Does that bring you joy or comfort in any way?
Do you walk on eggshells, hiding your own opinion about things, to keep the other person calm and happy?
Can you honestly say that your efforts to help a partner are selfless, or do your actions in some way always serve you and your need to be loved?
Are you aware of your own needs? Do you need to be needed?
After periods of keeping your emotions and opinions bottled up, do you lash out with anger? Are outbursts followed by guilt, remorse, and a need to mend the relationship? Why? Fear of abandonment?
Are you afraid to ask anyone at all for help with relationships?
Does it cause great internal discomfort to think about someone helping you? Does it make you feel “less than”?
Do you sometimes think that you will never find a truly loving relationship?
Does every new and exciting relationship make you think things will be different this time? Are they ever different?
If anything goes wrong in a relationship, do you blame yourself?
Do you feel like an outcast?
Think about your last relationship: did you appear subservient and giving, but really you held all the power and control?
Do you feel like you’re on a never ending search for happiness?
Does conflict in a relationship cause you to shut down and become depressed?
When you are not in a relationship, do you find yourself engaging in compulsive behaviors? (gambling, eating, shopping, etc.)
Do you doubt every decision you make, even down to the smallest, everyday tasks?
Are you constantly guessing what your partner wants so that you don’t have to ask? Does it make you feel like a better partner if you guess correctly?
If you have difficulty expressing your own needs, do you eventually get angry with a partner for not knowing what you need and not fulfilling your needs?
Could you possibly be trying to compensate for what you did not get as a child, by manipulating others to get what you want?
Do you act strong to compensate for a weakness?
Whether you answer yes or no to these questions may not matter. It is more important to explore how answering these questions made you feel.
What thoughts, feelings, and reactions surfaced for you?
If you are a relationship addict, or if you have an intimacy or an attachment disorder, you are not alone. If you have come to the end of your own strength, you need help, and that is okay.
If you went to college, chances are you knew someone who was using Adderall to study; it may have been you. The drug is a stimulant, meaning it makes your brain and body feel like there is more energy present.
Like many who started the use of Adderall in college, author Kate Miller opens up about her own Adderall addiction. During her senior year, she recounts trouble concentrating so she and a friend found a guy in the dorms who sold Adderall. The drug changed her life. Kate could study and write papers for hours on end without taking any breaks.
After finishing college, she took a job with a law firm in Manhattan, New York. The hours were long and the work was intense, so she felt it was time to get her own prescription of Adderall. Kate found a doctor who agreed with her self-diagnosed disorder, and she got 60 pills of Adderall after each appointment.
Instead of just using her new prescription for work focusing purposes though, Kate says that she began taking Adderall every night, which sometimes required drinking heavily to come down from the drug’s stimulation.
When she left the law firm, and the health insurance benefits that can with it, Kate would refill her Adderall prescription instead of buying groceries. The abuse was in full swing. When she went nights without sleeping, because of Adderall use the day before, Kate would just pop an Adderall pill with her morning coffee and go about her day. She was performing well at work, and maintaining an active social life.
At the time, she recalls thinking that this lifestyle would make for great stories one day, but as she wrote in her New York Times article, “The problem was, it stopped being a persona, and became who I was as a person: uninspired, unproductive and miserable.” She goes on to say that Adderall went from. “The take–as–needed-to-manage-boatloads-of-work basis” to the “need-to-get-through-the-day mood stabilizer.”
After a wild night out with an old friend, Kate recognized the problem. The friend asked what was going on with Kate, which jolted her to see herself as she really was, and to break down crying, and then to flush the rest of her Adderall.
The ensuing months were extremely difficult, as is true for any addict that gets clean. The chemical imbalance is obvious in mood, energy level, and behavior. Eventually everything recalibrates and you can feel back to “normal,” but some of the effects can be more long-term.
In the case of Adderall, and other stimulant drugs, depression can be very real. Your body and brain were falsely energized by the substance for a long time and now that the drug is no longer in your system, the inner workings have to re-learn how to stimulate themselves. What was up, must come down, so to speak.
Although Kate Miller does not mention rehab in her story of Adderall addiction, for many people, treatment is the only way to truly heal from an addiction. Learning how to live a life without the drug that has aided your daily functioning for an extended period of time is difficult, but can be done with the assistance of trained professionals. The treatment team in a good rehab facility will work with you each day, focusing on your individually unique set of needs.
An alternative to months at an inpatient rehab program is the intensive outpatient treatment program at The Control Center, which allows you to continue working, going to school, taking care of a family, or any other responsibilities you simply cannot leave.
Even after thinking she needed Adderall to function and to be successful in the working world of New York City, Kate Miller changed her life and stopped abusing her drug of choice. Do the same for yourself, or for someone you love.
Prescription drugs + pro football players = a problem!
The NFL (the National Football League) has not been identified in the same way as baseball and steroids, but new reports are surfacing that prescription drug abuse is a major problem among the league’s players.
If you think about it, these are grown men who are putting their body through physically grueling games and practices every week for 17 weeks (with one week off per team.) The amount of injuries, even seemingly small, require a certain level of pain management. Many players would not be able to continue performing at the high level that the NFL demands without a weekly pain reduction.
Also, just from playing in a game, without any actual injuries caused, takes a brutal toll on the body. Recovering from such a high-impact sport can take most of the week, and then there is another game, and that does not include any practices. So, to be game-ready within 6 days, most players are prescribed various medications, whether for pain or for overall physical recuperation.
The problem: the medications prescribed, and most notably prescription painkillers, are among the most addictive of any substance around. Over-the-counter pain medications do not even begin to alleviate the pain these men are experiencing, and the dosage a 250-pound linebacker would have to ingest to feel any pain relief could send his liver into immediate shock.
Another part of the problem is that prescription painkillers do not just kill physical pain. Any emotional or psychological pain is also dulled, or completely relieved. What has happened to many NFL players is that when a physical injury has healed and the pain is no longer present, the lack of the prescription painkiller causes more than just a physical craving. Psychologically the person still wants the effects of the medication. All pain feels much more intense when it has been absent for an extended period of time.
Several well-known NFL players have become addicted to prescriptions like Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Norco, codeine, or morphine. A study out of the school of medical at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, found that 52% of the NFL players who were surveyed, had used opiates (or opioids) during his career, and of those men, 71% self-reported “misuse” of the prescription painkillers.
A few players came out to say that pain, playing through pain, and doing what you have to do to overcome pain, is an understood part of the professional football player’s job description. Your career may be short, and there are younger guys always waiting to take your position.
A real danger among professional football players is the combination of prescription painkillers with anti-inflammatory medications like Toradol. The effects of each drug, even when taken at separate times, run the full spectrum on the body and brain. Toradol is injected directly into a muscle for best results, and longest pain management. Players even report taking Toradol in pill form every Sunday, just in case an injury happened during the game.
Is prescription drug abuse rampant in the NFL because it has to be, or will people continue to be negatively affected long-term, leading the league to do something about the drug problem? The team physician for the St. Louis Rams has discontinued use of Toradol for his players. Will other teams follow suit?
Several team physicians say that the pain is real, and if the team doctor can not help manage the pain, the players will seek relief elsewhere, and what will they find? Instead of worrying about what drugs the players will take, at least the substances prescribed in-house are controlled.
What can be done to offer players quick pain relief, but in a way that will not lead to an addiction? It seems a solution is still to be determined.
For players who need to continue playing and training, but who want to stop abusing drugs, and for anyone cannot afford to be away from life, the intensive outpatient program at The Control Center is the solution. There are other ways to address pain, and to heal from whatever lead to a prescription drug addiction.
Although you can’t drink, smoke, or snort a video game, studies show they may be as addictive as drugs and alcohol.
Video game usage affects the same part of the brain as drugs and alcohol, so it’s no wonder that so many people become addicted to playing video games for hours on end. The same patterns that lead to a substance addiction are the same ones that lead someone to a gaming addiction.
As is also true of drugs and alcohol, the age of first use of video games plays a big part in how the patterns develop and potentially progress into an addiction. The pleasure center of the brain responds to video games as if they are a drug, so the chance of kids and young adults developing an addiction to them is high. Many stories come out that kids, who are otherwise well-behaved, begin acting out or becoming violent when they are not allowed to play their video game, or games, of choice any longer.
Does this sound like a drug addict? Similar reaction as a heroin addict who cannot seem to find his next fix? Or even like a young child when his favorite toy gets taken away? This reaction in someone playing video games is just like an addict or alcoholic going through withdrawal from his or her drug, or drugs, of choice.
One new study has yielded results that show that playing video games can be as addictive as drugs. Games like Call of Duty are never finished, unlike arcade games and others that have a win or loss feature to them. The open-opened nature of the games can create an insatiable desire to continue playing. When the game never ends, anyone playing can find that hours have gone by in what felt like a matter of minutes.
The frequency of use, the amount of use, and the denial of the problem caused by use of video games are ways to detect an addiction. Identifying the symptoms of a problem early offers the best chance at treatment. Although video games do not cause the same internal physical damage that drugs and alcohol create, the consequences and repercussions can be just as harmful to someone’s life as injecting substances of any kind.
Generally, an addiction to anything is an indicator of deeper lying mental issues. Depression, anxiety, a learning disorder, and the inability to connect with others to form healthy interpersonal relationship can all be masked by video game addiction, drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, shopping, an eating disorder, a sex or love addiction, or an Internet addiction. Playing video games alone can be a way to escape from difficult social situations, or to avoid homework because it is too difficult to concentrate long enough to complete.
As a behavioral addiction, further research is needed to fully understand the cause, effect, and best treatment of video game addiction.
Programs to treat video game addiction focus on the underlying issues that lead to the desire to escape from, cover up, or avoid in the first place. While in treatment, an individualized treatment plan allows each client to identify any mental illness, learning disability, or another addiction that is at play.
Not all video game addicts have a diagnosable mental illness disorder, but most have an underlying psychological issue that needs to be explored.
During treatment, a video game addict learns tools for handling difficult situations that used to lead right to video game use. Triggering events can be better handled at home, at work, or at school while the person is attending treatment services. Psychological cravings will continue to occur, probably forever, and a good rehab program will help each client develop a plan for when they do. Coping skills for frustrating or emotionally complex situations gives a prior addict a chance at a life without a video game addiction.
As situations present themselves, and the person faces them head on, the newly learned tools and skills can be tried, and whether immediately successful or not, the client can discuss with his or her individual counselor, plus the fellow rehab clients and members of the sober community. Real-time processing can keep a young addict from returning to the problematic behaviors.
An intensive outpatient treatment program, like the one offered at The Control Center, gives an addict the opportunity to practice new skills while still involved in his or her everyday life. Contact the treatment team today at 877.813.2974 today to find out more!
photo credit: Rakka via photopincc
Lil Wayne was reportedly abusing “sizzurp” and it’s making its way through Hollywood fast.
What is “sizzurp” and how bad is it?
It’s bad enough that the entire nation of India has placed a ban on any cough syrup that contains codeine to prevent the spread of sizzurp abuse.
With the continued increase of international abuse of sizzurp, a drink concocted of cough syrup that has codeine in it and fizzy and/or fruity drinks, India has decided to nip it in the bud within its own borders. The drink’s use has risen to a point that the Indian government can no longer manage. The states of Bihar and Maharashtra are the main places of concern, so the country decided that a nationwide ban would counteract the growing abuse.
India, Canada, and the United States are currently experiencing the highest rates of abuse and addiction to codeine cough syrup, and sizzurp. Have you heard about this?
Sizzurp and codeine usage has been glamorized by international music personalities to the point where millions of people are at least trying the drink. Lil Wayne seems to have become the face of sizzurp, but other rappers are also mentioning it in their lyrics. Young people who listen to hip-hop and rap music, and who look up to these stars and want to emulate them, are thinking that it’s okay to drink sizzurp.
Experimenting with an opiate is dangerous though. Codeine is in the same drug family as heroin. This part of the reality is not included in the hype or the fun surrounding codeine and sizzurp use presented in the media.
Just like heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco, and other opiates, codeine and cough syrup with codeine causes its user to feel euphoria and an absence of pain, but while that is happening the drug is also suppressing the central nervous system. Breathing is slowed down dramatically, heart rate is much lower than normal, and brain functioning is slowed and confused.
Withdrawal from an opiate is among the worst of any drug. It is said that once someone makes it through opiate withdrawal without using, he or she has a major deterrent to ever use again: not wanting to experience those symptoms again!
For people like Lil Wayne who have been hospitalized because of seizures linked to codeine abuse, why would consumption of sizzurp continue? And, why would rappers continue to express the coolness that comes with codeine use and abuse?
Do rappers like Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake and Ludacris, who mention sizzurp use in their music, need to take more responsibility for the widespread impact their nonchalant messages of drug abuse are conveying, or are they grown men who are free to do as they please and make songs about it? With the way drug use is progressing in the United States and internationally, something needs to happen to change the way the next generations are viewing substance abuse and addiction.
India’s ban on codeine cough syrup to help fight sizzurp addiction is one of those steps, but does making a drug illegal ever really stop its usage levels? It seems people will always find a way to use their drug, or drugs, of choice.
India might be taking the first positive action to fight the rise of sizzurp, codeine, and overall opiate abuse problem that plagues our world. Who will be next?!
What’s important for people who have tried sizzurp and have developed an addiction to codeine is to seek treatment. Opiate addiction is treatable with the desire to get clean and to start a life of recovery. With individual therapy, peer process groups, educational components, and holistic approaches, you, or someone you love, can stop using codeine. Tools for handling cravings, and skills to cope with difficult situations that may trigger the desire to use, are learned and applied to everyday life while in rehab.
Internet addiction is being shown in a whole new way through the documentary, Love Child. Prepare yourself, the story is quite shocking.
To start with a little background information, South Korea strives to have the best internet access in the world. The amount of people who take part in the gaming industry among those living in South Korea is astronomical. As the country works to expand its broadband infrastructure to ideally reach every home, many citizens instead partake in PC Bang, a community gaming center. While you pay an hourly fee to play at a PC Bang center, some people actually earn a living playing games online this way.
The film, Love Child presents the story of one real couple who met through online gaming, and then continued to participate in gaming at a PC Bang location. Sounds simple, right? Well, for many people in South Korea, this sounds like an everyday occurrence, so how can this be a movie that is gaining attention for the dangers of internet addiction?
Well, the story begins with a mother encouraging her 24-year-old daughter, Mi-sun to join her at PC Bang in an effort to meet a man to marry. Through a multi-player game, Mi-sun met 34-year-old Yoo-chul. They later met in person and eventually got married. The couple began playing Prius, a particular online game available through PC Bang, and the behavior continued even after their daughter, Sarang was born. By the way, the name Sarang means “love” in Korean.
In order to play enough to make a living, the couple would leave 3-month-old baby Sarang home alone. Ironically enough, the game Prius, that the couple was playing more and more, consisted of a virtual daughter that they were responsible for nurturing. Instead of being at home with their real-life daughter, Mi-sun and Yoo-chul took care of a virtual baby online for up to 12 hours a day.
One day, the couple returned home to find that Sarang had died, allegedly because of starvation.
The couple was arrested in March of 2010, and the prosecutor suggested a five-year prison sentence. So are Mi-sun and Yoo-chul in jail for the neglect that lead to the death of their young child? No. Their defense attorney argued that the couple could not be responsible for what happened to Sarang because of an Internet addiction that had impaired their judgment.
For the first time in South Korea, Internet addiction was a valid defense. The couple was banned from online gaming, but faced no time in jail. The couple now has a second child.
This couple’s story can be a great example of the true dangers involved with Internet addiction when many people do not necessarily see the harm in online gaming or other online activities.
As is the case with drug and alcohol addiction, which is more widely known, behavioral addictions follow the same dangerous progression. You can start to identify an addiction by the following:
loss of use over use of a substance or a behavior
obsession with use of a substance or a behavior
continued use despite negative consequences (social, legal, interpersonal, financial, physical, psychological)
denial that there is a problem
a powerful tendency to relapse, or an inability to discontinue the behavior
Why did she do it? Sister Mary Anne, a nun for 50 years, needed the money so that she could continue to play the slots at casinos in western New York.
How did she do it? Sister Mary Anne was in charge of managing the donations from patrons at two churches in Orleans County – St. Mary’s in Holley, New York and St. Mark’s in Kendall, New York.
How did she finally get caught? The two houses of worship were taken over by Father Mark Noonan in 2010. Part of his ideas for restructuring a seemingly financially burdened church was to conduct an audit of all money coming into the churches and all money being spent by each church. Apparently discrepancies were discovered, and Sister Rapp was arrested in November of 2012.
Sister Mary Anne Rapp now faces up to 6 months in jail and she will be responsible for paying back a portion of the money she stole (amount to be determined); her sentencing is set for July 1, 2013. The future nun abilities of this sister will be in the hands of her order, the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity.
What would lead a nun, a supposedly “chosen one” to steal this much money from the community she chose to dedicate her life to serving? Quite simply: addiction.
Sadly, what may have started as a hobby that provided fun and a sense of excitement to Sister Mary Anne, may have quickly become a habit she could no longer control or stop. When she spent her own money to play the slot machines, she was partaking in an activity that she could financially support, but when a pattern of use leads anyone to the point of dishonest, uncharacteristic, or even illegal behaviors, there is a problem.
Gambling addiction can take over someone’s life. Addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse when left untreated. Many programs exist for those struggling to end the behaviors that are leading to life-altering financial, interpersonal, social, emotional, and legal consequences.
Someone like Sister Mary Anne Rapp could have really benefited from a behavioral intervention before her patterns of gambling became an addiction that lead her to steal from her own job, and to put her own whole life’s work in jeopardy. She could have talked to someone, anyone, when she first began taking money from the church donations. If action is taken early on, and the symptoms can be treated, the person’s situation can be treated and prevented from progression to an addiction.
Unfortunately, the guilt and shame that can surround an addiction can keep people from seeking rehab services. For a number of reasons, people feel unable to admit to a problem with gambling, substances, eating, or other behavioral addictions like sex, fame, or online activities.
Intensive outpatient services are extremely advantageous for those battling an addiction, and especially gambling addiction. As is true for drug and alcohol addicts, the ability to abstain from the substance, or behavior, is a big part of recovery. If an individual can continue working his or her normal schedule, and then attend an outpatient program in the evening, for example, this may fill the time in which gambling is most likely to occur.
Learning how to cope with difficult situations and emotions, how to deal with times when cravings arise, and useful tools to handle events that trigger your reasons for use are all important in recovering from any addiction.
Just like drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, and compulsive eating, shopping addiction affects women and men. Although you may not think of men as shoppers like women (stereotype!), shopping addiction issues are increasing among men in our society.
It seems that because of the stigma surrounding shopping, fewer men than women come forward to admit a problem and to seek treatment for uncontrollable shopping behaviors. A similar stigma is also true in the case of eating disorders. Men appear to feel more shame around these types of addictions or disorders than women do, and then most men feel around alcoholism or a sex addiction.
So what constitutes a shopping addiction? Well, “compulsive shopping” and “compulsive buying” involve chronic episodes in which the individual experiences an inability to control his or her shopping or buying behavior.
An occasional splurge is common among most people, and does not necessarily indicate a shopping addiction, but when the urge to splurge, and to shop in general becomes more frequent and constant, the existence of a shopping addiction needs to be explored. When the desire to shop and buy starts taking away from time spent working, enjoying other activities, or spending time with loved ones, the behavior has interfered with everyday functioning, and may be clinically diagnosable at that point.
Have you ever been feeling sad, or insecure for whatever reason, and you really wanted to go shopping? To browse and find something to spend money on because you feel like it will make you feel better? When you find something that’s maybe out of your normal price range, and you really shouldn’t be spending that kind of money right now, but you buy it anyway, does that purchase make you feel better? Usually no, right? You may feel a bit of a euphoria, or a high, from getting something that is brand new and that you love, but that effect wears off quite quickly and you are either brought back to neutral, or you are still sad or feeling less than confident. Compulsive shoppers and compulsive spenders experience this cycle over and over again.
The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that 1 in 20 people living in the United States, suffer from the symptoms and behaviors of compulsive shopping.
Women have been more recognized as engaging in shopping behaviors, but the prevalence of this behavior is increasing among men. It seems a part of the gender misconception is that men tend to buy more “practical” items that have higher costs, whereas women seem to buy less expensive items more frequently. The types of items purchased are typically different. Female shopping addicts tend to buy personal and home items (clothing, makeup, shoes, bags, jewelry, decorations) while male shopping addicts tend to buy electronics, tech items, car gadgets, athletic gear, and overall bigger ticket items. Is there a difference though?
As shopping addiction issues increase among men in our country, the importance in understanding the disorder becomes more obvious. Like any other addiction, the possibility of an addiction exists for everyone. The psychological component of a shopping addiction is the same for men and women. Many experts in the field site a lack of emotional comfort in childhood, a need to gain control, difficulty or complete inability to tolerate difficult emotions (fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, depression, boredom, etc.), perfectionism, excitement or approval seeking, an innate propensity for impulsive and compulsive behavior, and a lifelong or long-term desire to fill an empty inner void as reasons for the development of compulsive shopping or buying, and a shopping addiction.
If you can relate to this, or you can see these qualities in someone you love, seeking treatment is important. Like drug addiction, the sooner the diagnosis can be made, the sooner the symptoms of shopping addiction can be treated. Don’t let gender be a factor in getting the help that’s needed.
Contact The Control Center to find out how their behavioral addiction treatment program can work for you!