Are You Enabling an Addict?

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Enabling is any activity that encourages the addict to engage or maintain their addiction.

Enabling makes it less easy for the alcoholic to continue drinking, the drug addict to obtain morphine and use, the compulsive gambler to visit the casino, the sex addict to cruise pubs and the compulsive buyer to go on another spending spree.

Enabling can be subtle. For most people, it can take a long time to realize that they unwittingly contribute to their loved one’s addiction.

The enabler try to ‘fix’ the problems that arise from their loved one’s addiction. The addict is protected from the consequences of his action. He’s never made to take full responsibility of his action.

Too often, family members or friend may have good intentions to help their loved addicts, but they could also inadvertently provide them the opportunities to continue their addictive behaviors. For example;

Rebecca, 42, is a single mother. His boy, Sunny, is in college. He uses drugs.

Rebecca had always given him everything he needed. He had plenty of money at school so he would have plenty of time for study.

When he was withdrawn from his first school for allegedly using drugs, his mom did everything she could to get him into another college.

Sunny is in his third college and he continues to use. He is never reprimanded. He doesn’t study or work, yet he has a nice place to live, plenty of money, and all the independence he needed.

Enabling behaviors can include;

  • Covering up or making excuses for the addict. For example, calling their bosses to say they are sick and can’t come to work
  • Helping with the bail of the addict when he’s arrested
  • Taking on the responsibility of the addict. When you perform the task the addict should be doing, you’re enabling
  • Providing him money that allows him to buy alcohol or gamble
  • Pretending not to have noticed the addiction and ignoring they don’t need help
  • Helping to pay off the addict’s debt when he had borrowed money to support his addiction.
  • Keeping alcohol in the house
  • Providing the addict a place to live when he’s been kicked out by his family

Thanks for reading!!

How Sexual Addicts Think

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Addiction can be hard to live it. It takes everything from you; your health, your good reputation, your relationships, your work. In the end you wind up all alone.

All addicts share common problems. They have distorted perception of reality. The part of the brain that is responsible for pleasure, judgement, decision making, or planning is severely damaged.

And they act and behave according to their belief system. A belief system which is faulty but have come to accept as ‘truths’. They defend themselves with excuses, rationalizations, lies and myths and these keep their addiction in play.

For example, the compulsive cybersex user may rationalize that, cybersex won’t give him STD s or venereal disease.

And the exhibitionist may think she is not hurting anyone by exposing. Or she may gain attention only by exposing. However, not everyone will enjoy the exposurέ, some people may get offended and defensive.

I had this day to forget, recalled Clara. “I was in the elevator with this strange man. Abruptly, he unzipped his shorts and pulled down his pant right before my eyes. I got uncomfortable and turned to my other side

Their impaired way of thinking supports and festers their addiction. The addict believes he is not hurting anyone by his behavior. However, family and friends may suffer seeing their loved one slowly waste away everyday.

Brian is sixteen years old. His dad is separated from his mom. Helen prides herself of working extra hard to keep Brian in school. Her schedule is always hectic that she fails to see that her boy struggles with sexual compulsion.

Brian spends countless hours at midnight behind the computer screen cruising pornographic websites. He is increasingly isolated from his playmates. Nobody knows of his addiction. Like most cybersex addicts, he believes it’s just a game. It’s not real. And he’s not hurting anyone.

During school recession, he’d find a private place to masturbate. He’d vow to stop each time, but after another recession he does it again.

The sexual addict supports his addiction with rationalizations such as;

  • I’m worthless, nobody really cares
  • I can stop whenever I want
  • It’s my way of relaxing
  • my chances of getting STD is zero if I do cybersex
  • I am hurting no one by watching
  • with the stress I’m under, I deserve it
  • I do it because I was sexually abused growing up
  • I use sex to get acceptance and approval
  • cybersex is virtual, it’s not real
  • medical experts say masturbating is healthy
  • I do it to stay out of relationship
  • when I’m depressed, my only way to feel alive is to view nude videos

 

Thanks for reading.

Photo:  Annie Spratt

Compulsive Buying Disorder

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Do you have that friend or relative that fancy and want to buy every new products on the market, especially online?

They want the fancier cars, nicer clothes and newer technology gadgets. They are not happy with one or two. They want more of everything, more jewelries, more pair of shoes, and more iPad.

When they are depressed, they yearn for something, anything, which would feel their emptiness. And they think spending excessive is the right thing to do.

But when the spree is over, they feel depressed or guilty. And, in order to overcome this guilt and feel better, they resort to spending again.

The compulsive buyer is constantly preoccupied with shopping and this cause significant distress, interfering their relationships and other areas of their life. They deplete their credit cards, accumulate substantial debts and eventually go bankruptcy.

We all make excessive spending.

But not everyone who spends lot of money and time shopping have this condition. For example, some people may spend lot of money during big life events such as birthdays, marriages, graduations or holidays.

A bipolar person has mood disorder and will exhibit such impulsive buying during the manic episode. Unlike the compulsive shopper who feels guilty and would like to hide his or her behavior after the spree, the manic person who may boast about his or her spending and try to convince family or friends that his purchase was necessary.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are usually obvious. But the person may deny out of embarrassment or disappointment. This present a major setback for health professional to make appropriate diagnose and make future interventions. The symptoms include;

  • Frequent occupation with buying, which is time consuming
  • Shopping for longer period of time than intended
  • Obsessions with shopping that is intrusive and irresistible
  • Frequent buying of items that are not needed
  • Spending too much than you can afford

Treatment

The impulsive shopper may have existing problems of substance or alcohol abuse, depression or bipolar disorder. A combination of medication and psychotherapy, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy CBT and talk therapy may prove useful to overcome this addiction.

Medications such SSRI’s and antidepressants help stabilize mood.

CBT and talk therapy help reconstruct thoughts such as “having the latest fashions will make me more popular” or “having 5 pair of new shoes will make me a happier and better person”.

Thanks for reading!

Image: Canva

Resource: Delphi Psychiatry Journal Vol 12 No. 1

 

 

 

Compulsive Gambling

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Previously the term addiction was only limited to substance and alcohol abuse. However, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM, some behaviors pass the criteria to be labelled addiction. That is, behavioral addiction.

For example, some people could become addicted to gambling, internet, sex, sugar, television and food.

People with a compulsive gambling problem cannot control their urges to place any another bet. They gamble on anything from sport events to whether the USD will rise in value against the GBP.

How I do I tell if I have a compulsive gambling problem?

According to the DSM – 5, individual showing four or more of the following symptoms in a 12- month period is likely to have this addiction;

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back , or stop gambling
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling.
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g. depressed, anxiety, helpless, guilty)
  • After losing money, returns to “chase” one’s losses
  • Lost significant relationship due to gambling
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement in gambling
  • Relies on others for money to relieve financial stress

Who is at Risk?

Expert believe that some people have a greater chance to have gambling addiction. They include;

  • Mental health problem. Individual suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior OCD and ADHD are more likely to develop this addiction.
  • Age; men are more likely than women to develop a compulsive gambling problem. And children who start gambling at an early age are likely to develop this addiction latter in their adult life.
  • History of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Early big win

When to get help

Seek professional help when the addiction escalate. Your psychologist may combine a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy as part of your treatment program to recover. However, overcoming an addiction is not as easy as it sound. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever try.

And when you start treatments, stay clean, avoid firends who gamble and places where gambling occur. Because relapse is very common in this period.

Thanks for reading.