Most people have healthy passions, whether it’s discovering and playing a new video game or exercising. It’s part of what can keep life meaningful, fun and interesting. But in some cases these passions, interests or hobbies can take over and have an unhealthy toll on one’s daily life.
While some addictions such as drugs or alcohol abuse can be more obvious to others on the outside, addiction comes in all forms. Other common addictions include shopping, gambling, video gaming, eating, sex and other activities.
So, how do you know if your love of something is a healthy passion or interfering with the quality of your life?
One common factor underlying every addiction is the feeling of reward. A reward is experienced in the brain as a chemical release that creates craving that fulfills and makes you feel satisfied. While the feeling of reward is healthy, some signs of it moving towards addiction include always wanting more, constantly needing more, continuing despite negative outcomes, an inability to follow rules you have set for yourself, not being able to stop, obsessing, replacing relationships and secrecy.
Some traits of those with an addictive personality include anxiety, depression, impulsivity and risk-taking — and addiction often stems from a core problem. People who are addicted are typically the last person to realize it. When they do, it sometimes has taken a toll on their mental and physical health, relationships and job.
Although an addictive personality is not a diagnosable disease, there are many ways to manage addictions. The key to finding out what the core problem is and how to manage it. Start by talking to your health care provider or finding a mental health professional.