Lots of people assume that you can only become addicted to substances that exert a physical effect on the body for example alcohol or drugs, but many activities could become addictions including gambling, shopping.
When you engage in activities that make you feel happy – such as a shopping spree, winning a bet – your brain gives out ‘feel-good’ chemicals that encourage you to repeat that behaviour because it provides such an exciting ‘high’.
However, if seeking out the ‘high’ has developed into a compulsive and uncontrollable desire to engage with the activity in spite of the increasing negative and harmful consequences it is having on your life, then you are dealing with an addiction.
Regardless of what kind of addiction you have, almost all might take a serious toll on your physical and psychological well-being. Signs and symptoms may include depressive disorders, panic attacks, sleeping disturbance, obsessive-compulsive traits, deteriorating relationships, poor work performance and worsening financial issues as a result of your increasing preoccupation with the activity.
If your day-to-day functioning or health is affected, or if the behaviour takes up a large amount of time or money, then you may benefit from addiction counselling and psychotherapy.
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