A nun in upstate New York has plead guilty to charges of grand larceny. Sister Mary Anne Rapp admits that she stole almost $130,000 between March of 2006 and April 2011.
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.
Find out if an intensive outpatient treatment program is right for you, or someone you love.
Can men really suffer from a shopping 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!
Cocaine, the party drug of the 1980s, never went away, even more than two decades later. This wake-me-up stimulant is still used by millions of people and it’s more than just a recreational drug. Users really get hooked on it, even if they think they can just party with the white powder a couple of times. Cocaine is highly addictive. It’s right up there with heroin and cocaine’s more deviant cousin, crack cocaine.
So far, no one has been able to crack the problem of a medical treatment for cocaine addiction. Heroin addicts have Buprenorphine and Naltrexone. Alcoholics have Antabuse and Campral. What’s a poor cokehead to do? Just slog it out in rehab with no medication? Never fear, researchers are close to a vaccine, and maybe even an antidote, for cocaine addiction.
Vaccine Prevents Mice from Getting High
Vaccines have long been used to prevent us from getting infections. The idea is to trigger the immune system to act against a particular virus or bacterium. The same idea is being applied to cocaine. A recent study from the Scripps Research Institute demonstrated that a vaccine used in mice could trigger the animals’ immune systems to attack cocaine. The result? When the mouse is administered a dose of cocaine, its immune system destroys the compound before it can get to the brain and get the animal high. If an addict gets no high from cocaine, he will have no reason to take it. Of course, the addict would have to agree to get vaccinated, but if he did the medication could prevent him from relapsing.
This was not the first research team or the first project to work on a vaccine against cocaine, but earlier efforts weren’t very effective. The Scripps team used a protein from bacteria, called flagellin, to help trigger the immune system and put it on the attack against cocaine. Flagellin has been used in other medical vaccines, and so far shows the most promise for a vaccine that targets a drug.
What About an Antidote?
Another research group, this one from the University of Copenhagen, thinks it has found the key to creating a cocaine antidote. The key lies in dopamine transporters in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is related to feelings of pleasure. It is a reward chemical that motivates us to repeat behaviors, like taking cocaine. Dopamine transporters are like vacuums for the neurotransmitter. When stimulated, they clean up excess dopamine. Cocaine inhibits the transporters, which results in a flood of the feel-good chemical.
The Danish researchers recently reported on some interesting discoveries about the structure of the dopamine transporter and how inhibitors act on it. They found other compounds that, like cocaine, inhibit the transporter. However, these other inhibitors attached to the transporter in a closed form. The result was that they had the opposite effect of cocaine and produced no flood of dopamine. With these discoveries, the researchers are certain they can come up with a new inhibitor drug that could counteract cocaine and help addicts avoid relapsing. The overall effect would be similar to a cocaine vaccine in that the drug user would no longer get a high from cocaine if they took the antidote.
The latest cocaine research is exciting, but it is important to understand there is no cure for any addiction. If you’re hooked on snorting cocaine, you need still have to go through all the therapy and group support that will help you work out your inner demons. But if you could supplement that with a vaccine or an antidote, you could have a really useful took for staying clean.
The holidays are over, the lights are down, you’re already tanking on your New Year’s resolutions and you’re feeling glum. You just weighed yourself and realized that the fruitcake you hate, but ate anyway, has given you an additional five pounds. You feel hopeless as you dig your car out of the snow in the freezing temperatures to get to work in the dark. You sigh as you exit your office in the evening, realizing you haven’t seen the sun all day. Then you really feel depressed when you realize there are still two to three months of winter left.
If this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from the usual winter blues along with the rest of us. Cold weather, short days, the come down from the holiday season and the revving up of the flu season all conspire to make January, February, and even March some of the most miserable months of the year. Are you struggling with the typical winter blahs or do you have something more serious?
What is SAD?
Maybe you’ve heard of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, or maybe this is a new concept, but it’s true that you can have a very real and serious mood disorder related to the seasons. SAD is a kind of depression that sets in sometime in the winter, or even late fall, and usually lasts until spring starts to warm and light the earth again. SAD is more than just the typical winter blues. Here are some of the symptoms you might experience:
- Feeling depressed, worthless, and hopeless, most of the time
- Lack of energy, fatigue
- Sleeping more than is normal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight as a result
- Losing interest in normal activities
- Irritability, especially when interacting with others
- A heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- Being hypersensitive, especially to the comments and reactions of other people
Why SAD? Why Me?
As with major depression and other mental health disorders, there is no single, definite cause for SAD. We do know that it is seasonal and that it is related to natural changes caused by the seasons. For instance, not seeing the sun as often in the winter may play a role in the onset of SAD. It may be that the extra darkness disrupts your circadian rhythm, or your biological clock. We also know that lack of sunlight causes levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, to drop in your brain. Serotonin affects mood and the drop off could be a trigger that starts depression.
Certain people are more vulnerable to suffering from SAD than others. While your best friend might feel a little sulky about the shorter days and the miserably cold weather, you get full-blown SAD. It’s impossible to predict with certainty who will get SAD, but there are risk factors. Being younger, female, having a family history of SAD or depression, and of course, living in the colder climates all put you at a greater risk.
There is Hope for SAD
The good news in all of this is that there are treatments for SAD. If you think you might be struggling with this, see your doctor. You can try light therapy, which makes use of a light that mimics the sun to brighten your mood and get your neurotransmitter levels back in balance. Exercise and getting outdoors more often also help, as do other healthy lifestyle practices like eating well and getting enough sleep. If these changes aren’t enough your doctor may suggest pscyotherapy or antidepressants.
Winter sucks, at least if you live somewhere cold enough to know what a wind chill factor is. It doesn’t have to hurt as much as SAD hurts, though. If you are feeling miserable beyond what is typical for January, February or March, get some help. You can beat this, and remember, spring is just around the corner.
We tend to think of problem drinking as a problem for the young, or the middle aged and depressed, but alcohol abuse doesn’t believe in age discrimination. Neither does drug abuse. Worrying statistics show that older Americans are drinking and abusing illicit drugs at record rates. Is it loneliness? A feeling of purposelessness after retirement? The loss of friends or a spouse? Turns out, it’s all pretty complicated, but if you notice grandma or grandpa going through bottles of tequila or hoarding prescription pills, you might need to intervene.
Retired Americans and Substance Abuse
Statistics show very clearly that there is an issue with older Americans and substance abuse. Even when you consider the fact that the overall number of retirees is growing thanks to the size of the Baby Boomer generation, there are a lot of seniors hitting the bottle. About three million meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and experts expect that number to double by 2020.
As for drug abuse, the number of adults over the age of 50 abusing illicit substances doubled from 2002 to 2013. A common factor among older adults struggling with substance abuse is being retired. It makes sense that such a big life transition could lead many adults to seek comfort in drugs and alcohol, but researchers have found that the numbers can’t be explained so simply.
It’s not Just Retirement
Recent research from faculty at Tel Aviv University and Cornell University, funded by the National Institutes of Health, has uncovered some interesting and more complex explanations for the increasing number of older Americans turning to drugs and alcohol. The researchers used a phone-based survey and collected answers from 1,200 adults between the ages of 52 and 75.
The data definitely show that retirement is part of the problem. The transition from working for thirty or more years and being useful and needed, to not working can be difficult. Not all workers have prepared adequately for this transition and face feelings of having no purpose, of not being needed, and of not having anything useful to do. Psychologically, the transition is tough.
What the researchers found among all the survey responses was that the psychological transition from work to no work was not the simple answer to the problem of elder substance abuse. Whether a retiree would become a substance abuser had more to do with circumstances and attitudes surrounding retirement than the lack of work itself. For instance, those that had not prepared financially were more likely to take to drinking or drug abuse. Another issue was marital discord. Retirement of one spouse can put a strain on the relationship. Deaths of close friends and spouses also contributed to substance abuse.
The reasons for and the conditions of retirement were also important in determining how well individuals coped and whether they turned to substance abuse. The group that had the highest rates of substance abuse included those seniors that had retired earlier than they wanted to out of fear that the companies for which they worked were going to fail. These people enjoyed their jobs and were not ready to stop working yet.
The Good News
All this sounds terribly depressing and sad, but there is good news. Even small interventions can make a difference. In fact, even the awareness that substance abuse is an issue for older Americans can lead to significant positive changes. This means you may need to have a talk with that senior you care about. It may be awkward, but if you want grandma to be happy and healthy, sit her down and have a chat about her lifestyle choices. Your intervention could make all the difference.
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
Internet addiction is real. Help is available.
photo credit: larskflem
Can Your Sleepless Teen Turn Into a Substance Abuser?
If you’re the parent of a teen, you have a lot of things to worry about. Will he fail math this semester? Will he get into college? Is that new friend of his a racist, or is it just me? How much your teen sleeps or doesn’t sleep might be low on your list of concerns, but there is new research that says you better prioritize it. If you know teens at all you know they don’t sleep enough. They stay up too late texting, or if you’re lucky, studying, and then they have to be to school by 7:30. How can they possibly be getting enough sleep? They’re not and they are at risk for substance abuse as a result.
The Problem of Sleep
Surveys and polls tell us what we already know: teenagers don’t get enough sleep. As much as 45 percent of young adults get too few hours of sleep each night. Even youngsters are struggling. Up to 27 percent of children and pre-teens are not sleeping enough either. Then there are the teens who may want to sleep, but have symptoms of insomnia. Ten percent of teens report having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep every night. You have probably heard that adults should aim for between six and eight hours of sleep every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens should be getting more than nine hours every night.
Sleepiness Leads to Substance Abuse?
There are some pretty obvious consequences for your teenager when she doesn’t get enough sleep. Her memory and concentration at school suffer. Her mood becomes even more volatile than normal. She may eat too much or eat more junk food in her dazed and sleepy state. A new study has found that the results of poor sleep can be even more serious.
The research comes from psychologist Maria Wong and her colleagues at Idaho State University. They analyzed data from questionnaires and interviews conducted with over 6,000 adolescents who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The data were collected over three different time periods. The researchers looked for sleep problems and tiredness in one time period and substance abuse issues in the next time period. They controlled for any teens that were already abusing substances during the first period of data collection.
What the researchers found was that having sleep difficulties during the first period correlated significantly with problematic drinking and drug use in the second period of surveys. Those teens that didn’t sleep enough or had symptoms of insomnia were more likely to binge drink, drive while under the influence of alcohol, to be sexually active because of drinking and regret it later, and to use illicit drugs.
This study was not the first to make a connection between lack of sleep and later substance abuse, but it is important in a couple of ways. First, previous studies looked at kids in groups already at a high-risk for substance abuse, while this study included a nationally-representative sample. And, the current study included both insomnia and insufficient sleep, while previous work focused only on insomnia.
What Can Parents Do?
The results of the study are troubling, and yes, they give you yet another thing to worry about as a parent. The good news is that you can play an important role in teaching your teen about sleep and to have good sleep hygiene. Share and model good sleep hygiene like not using mobile devices before bed and setting a regular sleep schedule. If your teen shows signs of insomnia, consider seeing your pediatrician or a sleep specialist. You know how serious the consequences of inadequate sleep can be, so take steps now to make sure your teen is sleeping like a baby every night.
After the party-filled nights (and days too, let’s be honest) of the holiday season, and particularly that New Year’s Eve bender, a lot of us are rethinking our drinking. After weight loss and exercise, cutting back on alcohol is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. It makes sense, after all. You’re realizing that waking up with a pounding head, a spinning room, and a tongue plastered to the roof of your mouth is not the way to live. You might even be starting to think you have a slight and growing problem with your old friend the bottle.
If you feel this way, you’re far from alone. There is a growing trend to participate in Drynuary, a dry January, to reset the liver and the spirit. Could you go booze-free for a month? No glass of wine with dinner, no wind-down drink after a hard day at the office, and no cocktails on girls’ night out. It seems like a good, restorative choice, especially if you feel you imbibe too much, but are the positive effects of Drynuary worth the efforts?
In a scientific, if not clinical, trial, several staffers at the magazine New Scientist tried a month of alcohol-free living and measured their health outcomes to find out if it was worthwhile. The question is: can short-term abstinence have any positive health effects? What they found was encouraging. The staff members answered a health questionnaire, gave blood samples, and underwent ultrasounds to measure fat on the liver. This was all conducted under the supervision of health care workers at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
Repeating the tests after five weeks free of alcohol, the ten staffers found that they had achieved positive health gains. On average, they lost 15 percent of fatty liver deposits, a precursor to liver damage. They also saw an average reduction in blood sugar levels of 16 percent and blood cholesterol levels of five percent. They even lost a little weight. The participants also reported more subjective improvements. On the questionnaires they reported significant improvements in quality of sleep, work performance, and concentration.
No other study, academic or otherwise, has tested the impact of short-term alcohol abstinence. Plenty of research, however, has pinpointed all the ways in which drinking to excess can harm your health. Heavy drinking can lead to addiction, causes accidents, and has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer in women. Cutting back on alcohol reduces these risks.
There is no question that abstaining from drink for a month could make you feel better, and the intrepid journalists who tried it certainly saw some benefits, but we have no idea if these benefits are lasting. We also don’t know if going totally alcohol-free for one month will cause people to drink less generally after the abstinence or if the participants go straight to the bar on February first and undo all their efforts.
If you want to try giving up alcohol for a month, it is a worthy and worthwhile effort, but don’t use Drynuary as an excuse to go on a bender in February. You would be better off cutting back on your drinking overall and avoiding binge drinking. Step away from the bar a couple nights a week and go out for a jog instead, or spend some time with friends at a coffee shop. Trade in your hangovers and next-morning regrets for better health and a better sense of self.
The A&E show Intervention ran for 13 successful seasons for a very good reason: this is compelling stuff. Watching tearful families confront their addicted loved ones, seeing the realities of addiction and how it affects individuals and those close to them, this is the content that makes for the best reality television. Especially for any viewers with the good fortune to never have been touched by the demon of addiction, watching lives collapse and loved ones scrambling to pull them back together again is an emotional roller coaster, ending with a warm fuzzy feeling that this person will get better.
Watching real, live interventions is exciting. We wonder how the addict will react. Is she going to cry and submit? Or will she throw a chair through the window and refuse to get help? What we don’t see is what happens after a successful intervention. All we get is the excitement of an intervention and this can be misleading. What is an intervention really, and how does it help the addict? What goes into a good intervention and how can it go wrong? Should you stage one on your own or do you need the help of a professional? And what happens next?
Intervention is Motivation
The main goal of an intervention is to motivate an addict to recognize his problem and to accept help for it. An intervention can be held for someone addicted to drugs or alcohol or for someone with a behavioral addiction, to say shopping or gambling. Denial is a common trait in all types of addicts. An addict does not want to admit to having a problem for a variety of reasons: the stigma and shame of being an addict, the inevitable treatment, and the need to give up the vice. Hearing from loved ones about how the addiction is affecting everyone is a powerfully motivating tool for eliminating denial.
An Intervention is a Process
If you think you can sit your loved one down and have a simple heart-to-heart about her problem drinking and that you’ll hug and cry afterwards as she promises to get help, you’re kidding yourself. An intervention is a well-planned process that involves several people and it may not stick the first time. To stage an intervention with the best chance of success requires a plan, practice, outlined treatment options, and specific consequences for the addict if she refuses help.
Intervention is for the Professionals
To hold an intervention that is not likely to deteriorate into rage, violent outbursts, and a situation that is worse than what you started with, you need the help of a professional. Imagine you were about to be confronted by a group of people and told that you had a problem and needed to change. How would you react? Think of all the possibilities and you may never stage an intervention. Having a professional on hand is crucial for keeping the peace and for ensuring that your addicted loved one will cope in a healthful way with the realities of his situation. You also need to be sure that you have options for your loved one. You can’t just tell him he has a problem and leave it at that. A professional can help you find a treatment program.
Interventions are exciting and fun to watch on television. The drama of addiction is particularly engaging when it isn’t your life. The reality for an addict is not so much fun. If you have been watching a friend or family member struggle with addiction while in complete denial, an intervention could be the motivating tool you need. Most people confronted in this way do end up getting help. Take the step to intervene, but do it right and don’t just get caught up in the excitement of reality TV.
“When I shop, the world gets better, and the world is better, but then it’s not, and I need to do it again.” Have you seen the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic? The main character, Rebecca Bloomwood, played by Isla Fisher, says that line to describe why she loves to shop.
Sophie Kinsella wrote a series of novels that lead to the script that follows a young woman who cannot stop shopping. While the story is fiction, there is so much truth to the concept and to that simple quote. Shopping becomes a drug, and the user needs a constant fix.
The fact that a movie like this was made, and did well, shows just how much shopping addiction and compulsive buying are a growing concern in America.
The high Rebecca feels when buying something is temporary. She sees that even though the world gets better and feels better when she compulsively buys, that it is temporary and she needs another shopping spree to make her world feel better again. It’s a vicious cycle of ups and downs based on something completely external. Does this sound familiar?
About 6% of people in the United States have some form of a shopping addiction. With a population of almost 314 million, that’s over 18 million people.
Instead of buying clothes and other stuff when it is actually needed, people are shopping as a recreational activity. Clothes and shoes are needed for everyday life, yes, but think about how much you are able to wear at one time. Now think of how many items in your closet you absolutely love. What is all the rest there for?
Think about the reason you bought certain pieces that are in your closet right now. Did emotions drive you to make that purchase? Are there feelings still connected to certain articles of clothing Would you say that these emotions and feelings are healthy?
Unhealthy patterns progress and it seems that shopping is a cure for anything difficult to handle these days. Are you having trouble coping with a painful breakup, or loss of a job or friend? Go buy yourself something nice. Are you bored? Go shopping. Sad? Go buy yourself something to cheer you up. It can also go the other way. Are you feeling great? Did you do something well? Go shop a little. Promotion at work? Go reward yourself for a job well done.
So what exactly diagnoses a shopping addiction or compulsive buying? Well, do you feel unable to stop? When you are on your way to buy something, do you feel that you shouldn’t be stepping foot into that store? Do you know that a shopping spree right now will mess up your finances, but you want to do it anyway? Are you buying things that you want instead of items that you need?
If you feel your behavior is out of control, you want to stop but you cannot, and you need help to make shopping and buying changes, you may be diagnosable. In any case, finding out how to stop is an important step. Just like an alcoholic or drug addict, abstinence is a very real part of recovery from shopping addiction and compulsive buying.
Treatment centers that help people recover from drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, like gambling and love/sex addiction, also treat shopping addiction and compulsive buying. A formal assessment is a great way to find out more.
The treatment team at The Control Center will help determine what treatment is best for you. Call now 877.813.2974 and start building a better life!
Amanda Bynes comes clean: she has an eating disorder. How does she announce it? As only a young Hollywood lady can, by posting pictures of herself on Twitter with majorly self-degrading comments.
She used to seem like a sweet, well-balanced, talented actress, getting work all the time. Starring on TV shows and in movies, carrying a whole film, but recently she has taken a turn for the worst.
In February, when she weighed in at 121 lbs, Amanda felt that was Tweet-worthy, and it seems that was when she established her target weight. She had just moved to New York, and her Twitter followers learned that, “I lost four pounds since I moved. I’m 121 pounds — my goal is 100 pounds.”
Amanda celebrated her birthday in early April and then Tweeted that “I have an eating disorder, so I have a hard time staying thin.”
An April 30th Tweet, “About to put on makeup! I weigh 135, I’ve gained weight! I need to be 100 lbs!” was paired with a picture of Amanda in a bra and leggings.
At 5’8” tall, 27-year-old Amanda can weigh between 122 and 164 pounds to still be considered within a healthy range. Obviously if she got down to 100 lbs she could be considered frail and unhealthy. What is keeping her from seeing that? A disease that tricks you by perception?
It appears Amanda Bynes truly has an eating disorder, and she knows it, so many are asking why isn’t she in treatment? Why isn’t someone stepping in and helping Amanda get help? Where are her family and friends? Has the disease convinced her to push everyone who cares about her away? Denial is a powerful mental tool when you need it.
These Tweets are only some of the unsettling messages Amanda has made public. The list goes on. Some are quite vulgar and others are sad.
Many professions would agree – this young woman is screaming for help.
Advice to Amanda, and other women like her: Girl, stop Tweeting! Stop sharing everything with everyone. The help you need will not come from a Twitter follower. Instead, talk to somebody you trust, and if that somebody does not exist right now, call and find help.
The problem is, an eating disorder can consume your thoughts and behaviors. You can feel like you must gain control this aspect of your life because you don’t have control over any other part, and perfectionism is very real too.
For young women in the Hollywood spotlight, staying a certain size and trying to remain relevant to the masses is competitive, but may come as part of the job description. We’ve heard reports of what growing up in the public eye can do to a girl. Britney Spears, Drew Barrymore. Jodie Sweetin (who played Stephanie on the show Full House.) And now Amanda Bynes. The pressure is too much. Without a developed identity, these young women seek external validation and never seem to feel “good enough.”
Eating disorders, and substance abuse issues, are attempts at filling the void. Convincing yourself that, by setting a goal weight and working toward being a certain size, you are taking control of your life, is simply backwards.
Drew Barrymore, per reports and interviews, is a great example of someone who got help and made changes so she could live a healthy life. We cannot do it alone though.
Amanda Bynes needs an intervention. A chance to get healthy. Formal treatment could save her life, and show her how detrimental her current lifestyle will be long-term.
Can someone in her life persuade her to seek eating disorder rehab before anything else life-changing happens?
The Control Center’s very own Dr. Reef appeared on The Today Show to talk about new “smart drugs.”
Prompted by a Details Magazine article and Bradley Cooper’s character in the movie Limitless, the segment’s topic focuses on new pills, specifically Nuvigil and Provigil, that make you feel more awake and alert, and essentially increase what you are capable of intellectually.
Today Show host, Matt Lauer sets up the topic by posing the question, “If you could take a pill, and it would make you smarter, would you take it?”
One man tells his story of taking Nuvigil, and then going off the drug. His experience is that the drug only helps him, and he likes who he is better when he is taking the “smart pill.”
Dr. Reef is consulted on these nootropics, or “smart drugs.” He warns that, while these brain-enhancing pills are not addictive, the danger of side effects when nootropics are not taken properly is very real.
In his words, “I’m not against the concept of building a smarter brain. What I am against is people that just haphazardly go in and just try to pretend they’re chemists and do things to their brains that could be hurtful in the end.”
Enhancing the brain’s functioning is not what troubles him, but the approach people are taking in popping a pill without understanding what effect it is truly having on the brain is cause for concern.
Like other pills, Nuvigil and other “smart drugs” are altering your brain’s chemistry. You function one way, and then add a combination of chemicals, and the system operates differently. Your routine functioning is altered. When you don’t know what changes are being made to your own brain, you may not be doing what’s best for you overall, or in the long run.
So back to the question, if your doctor thought one of these non-addictive “smart pills” was right for you, would you take it?
Watch the video to hear Dr. Reef share his opinion on this new class of drugs.
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!
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.
Contact The Control Center today to enroll and begin your healing process!
photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune
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
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.
photo credit: Jason Poulton
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.
Internet addiction, as we diagnose it in United States at least, is an alarming problem in China.
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?
Help is available for online Internet addiction. The intensive outpatient treatment program at The Control Center helps clients learn and practice tools for recovery in real time, while continuing their daily schedule. Find out how you can participate and change your behaviors.
photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc
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.
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.
The Control Center’s intensive outpatient program helps thousands of people like you who need to heal while continuing to work or attend to other responsibilities. Start recovering today!