Addictions come in many shapes, sizes and forms and they aren’t always glaringly obvious and staring you right in the face. In truth, many addictions can be in activities, past times or other areas that you wouldn’t consider being “at risk” for addictiveness. Things like drug, alcohol, gambling or sex addiction can be pretty obvious from the outset, but what about those smaller areas like addictions to pornography, adrenaline, shopping or exercise? These can be harder to pin point when a problem is developing and it may cause the person affected to stall in finding a source of assistance to curb the addiction.
For many who experience the addictions first hand, identifying the point at which to seek help can be a bit of a grey area. Depending on the addiction it can go from “it’s not a problem at all” to “how did I lose control so quickly” very fast, seemingly overnight, going from your normal life to the life of an addict before you know it. This can be upsetting not just for you but also for all those around you as well as they watch you descend into chaos both within and without, losing control of the situation and partaking in riskier and riskier activities to feed or fund your habits.
So, when do you walk away and ask for help? There are a number of key red flags to watch out for – if you start missing work, showing up late, blowing people off altogether, stealing from either your family/partner/local businesses or starting to do things such as selling your body in order to get that next hit or money for the next trip to the casino. These are all warning signs along with not eating, changing sleeping patterns and starting to hang out with a new and unusual group of friends or frequent areas of town that are rougher and you aren’t known to hang out in. In the case of pornography or sex addictions you may find yourself signing up to websites or companies that cost money to watch videos or you may join groups with more and more extreme content.
Identifying the presence of a problem doesn’t mean that you’re a full-blown addict, but possibly that you are on the way to a potential problem. It’s different for everyone and some people may not go through the period of problematic use before they become addicted and instead seemingly go from zero to sixty in their addiction without warning. It’s important for you to identify when it’s becoming a problem and seek out help then, whether it’s from family members, friends or social programs in your own community. It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone and despite the fear you may have relating to stigma about addictions the support systems and care programs in place are there to help people just like you – of which there are far more than you might expect!
Love & Compassion