When we hear the word "addiction", the first thing that comes to our mind is a dependency on drugs, alcohol, or its association with gambling, food, and sex. Individuals do not realize that there exists another form of addiction that is more internalized- emotional habits and addictions. Most of us are habitual to accepting the ebb and flow of our emotions, but sometimes these pose dangerous realities to the individuals feeling them.
An emotional addiction disorder is different from a substance use disorder due to its relatively less obvious and pervasive nature. It paints how one perceives the world and reacts to situations. One can break an emotional addiction when one recognizes the unhealthy patterns and take constructive measures for adapting to these feelings.
Emotions have great powers. When integrated with cognitive functions such as logic and reason, they expand one's horizons of productivity, self-care and harmonious relationships. Due to the evolution of emotions as primitive instincts tend to cross logic and reasonable considerations, resulting in us disregarding consequences- Individuals with an emotional addiction disorder experience the same frequency.
Individuals with emotional addiction are hooked to feeling the same way or reacting to their innate emotions. Similar to what happens in other addictions, such as substance use disorder, the brain releases chemicals responding to certain emotions. These are the emotions that an individual is dependent on for comfort, distraction, relief, or escape. It can grow into obsession, compulsion or even a different form of addiction.
Individuals begin to feel that emotional habits and addiction paint their worldview, and they live at the mercy of these feelings.
Emotional signs of addiction overpower the healthy coping skills and cause individuals to:
● Faulty planning and self-management
● Inappropriate behaviour
● Poor decision making
● Unhealthy relationships
● Impaired productivity
Individuals dependent on emotions for relieving stress often take to self-medication, such as drugs or alcohol. This may appear as a quick relief, but it is detrimental and adds to one's struggles in the long run. It is advisable to seek the best stress management counselling to learn healthy coping styles than turning to drugs.
Resilience is the core concept that helps with emotional habits and addictions. It includes awareness and regulation of one’s emotions. As you overcome emotional addiction, you allow your body to rest from the chemical fixes experienced during emotional responses and give space for natural healing to occur.
Here are a few ways that will help you gain resilience and combat emotional addiction disorder:
● Recognize your emotional habit: one might feel that emotional addiction is an indispensable part of them. However, if you pause and observe yourself for some time each day, you'll witness a pattern of your reactions. Once you get hold of this pattern, you're ready to move ahead.
● Tweak the brain’s reward system: you aim to gather the strength to produce a change; you can materialize it through meditation, affirmations, chanting mantras, or even by walking away from emotionally tense situations. Choose a way that best suits you to calm down in an emotionally overwhelming situation. If you face any difficulties stopping intrusive thoughts, the Best anxiety disorder treatment can equip you with strategies to manage these overwhelming worries.
● Refrain from brooding: if you continue agonizing over something, you'll never be able to gain an insight over it- You'll ruminate in circles. If you feel that you are continuously languishing over something, take extreme measures to distract yourself- exercise, watch tv, solve a crossword puzzle, or anything that breaks the rumination.
● Look after your self-esteem: you might feel ashamed when discovering that you have an emotional addiction disorder. Be compassionate towards yourself extend the same support and empathy to yourself that you would to a loved one suffering from a disorder. If you nurture your self-esteem, it acts as an emotional immune system that imparts strength to oneself. Remind yourself of your strengths, appreciate yourself and move forward with hope.
● Be patient: emotional addiction is not developed overnight; one shouldn't expect it to change immediately. Surrender yourself to growth, but don't forget to take breaks when needed. Enjoy the process and celebrate the small victories all along.
The road can seem difficult but always remember that you’re not alone. Never be ashamed to ask for help. The best counselling for depression can help you sail through the process and emerge stronger.