Our society is addicted- to anything! Whether it’s substances, screens, stuff, work, money, food, perfectionism…the list could go on and on. I see people that struggle with addiction and it’s harmful affects on relationships and families every day in my therapy practice.

Like Betsy, for example, she knows her family wants her to stop drinking. But she sneaks a drink and believes no one will ever notice. Alcohol helps her feel less stressed and helps her relax from a crazy day. Her loved ones notice how bad it’s gotten and they fear she will have to leave for a long time for treatment soon. She is addicted to alcohol.

Then there’s Stephanie. She numbs out her feelings with her obsessive eating disorder. She is consumed with everything food and working out. Her family feels like she’s more worried about her body, then she is them. She has an eating disorder.

Next is Lorraine. Every thing has to be perfect. The house. The meals. Her children. She feels so much pressure to keep up her perfect image to the world that she doesn’t even like her life. She is addicted to perfectionism.

Lastly there’s Amanda. After a long hard day she curls up with a blanket and her iPad. She gets lost in games, movies, and social media. Her kids ask for help with homework or want to play a game. But she’s always in the middle of something. Her husband wonders if she’s having some kind of online affair because of the amount of time she spends. She is addicted to her screens.

I could give many more examples of people who are battling addiction and losing the battle.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, here are some things to think about:

What is addiction?

Before you classify yourself as an addict, you should know what it is.

Webster’s dictionary defines addiction as: “ a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)”.

How do I know if I struggle with addiction?

I often tell my clients that we can become an addict when we use something obsessively to cope with feelings that are too much. This attachment can become harmful to the person or their loved ones. It all comes down to having unhealthy coping skills. Remember many people are more likely to struggle with addiction due to family history, so that is an important part to consider too.

When is it time to get help?

It is time to seek help when it’s becoming a problem. Addiction will often disorder your priorities, which will damage your relationships. If an area of life has become unmanageable, it’s time to step out of denial and into a world of freedom. There are groups and counselors all across the country with experience to help you in your recovery. The first step is for you to say, “Enough” and get the help you need to fight this long hard battle.

Addictions can be hard to conquer because as one issue is conquered another issue can pop up. So it is often a long term recovery process and not a quick fix.

What are some harmful affects of addiction that you have noticed?