Addictions: root causes

ADDICTIONS: My column in today’s Jersey Evening Post (part 1 of 2) is what lies behind addictions, no matter what they are (sugar, shopping, sport, gaming, drugs, etc). I love helping people overcome their addictions 😊

Addictions are brain disorders characterised by compulsively engaging in a behaviour even if the consequences of the behaviour are harmful in some way.

You’ll read that there are three main parts to addiction:
– the initial craving
– bingeing to over-satiation or intoxication
– and withdrawal

I would like to add one that’s rarely mentioned: the driver that sets off the original craving.

We evolved to get chemical ‘feel-good’ rewards for doing things that kept our species going; however, evolution did not reckon on the super-normal stimuli of coffee, junk food, alcohol, tobacco, shops, gambling, drugs, poverty and social isolation!

Add to that trauma and lack of funding for mental health care and you can find people addicted to a huge range of things: sugar, drinking, smoking, exercising, shopping, sex, gambling, drugs and more.

Addicts are often stigmatised and you’ll hear phrases like, ‘character flaw’, ‘their choice’, and ‘self-indulgent’.

Sadly, addicts will often berate themselves as weak, selfish and stupid; at the same time, they feel bewildered because they have no idea what is making them act like this.

This means an addict may be ‘cured’ of an addiction but, if the underlying cause is not treated, they will soon turn to another addiction.

To get to the root cause, we need to look deep into an addict’s subconscious to discover what purpose is solved by the addictive actions; RTT can help here.

Think of when something has upset you and, to move away from that feeling, you chatted with a friend, went for a walk, had a coffee or bought a small treat, and the painful emotions passed.

Sometimes that normal response becomes a habit because a person likes the repeated feel-good hit of the treat; for others, it can tip into an addiction.

This is because an addict may subconsciously feel continuously helpless, not enough, or trapped and thus powerless.

These deep-rooted feelings drive fear and anger – a rage even… and the subconscious feelings are like an irresistible force that drives the addictive behaviour.

It may seem back-to-front, but the addictive act means the person is at least temporarily in control because they have made the decision to do it.

In fact, the sense of relief often comes from the decision to do the act rather than the act itself.

In part 2 (JEP 5 August), we’ll look at how what society and individuals can do to help. In the meantime, if you are suffering from an addiction and would like help to solve it, you can contact me for an initial, no-obligation chat.

Jacqui Carrel helps people quickly find the subconscious, root causes of issues around personal and business blocks.

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