The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

Not all people can cope with their own emotions. As a psychological defense, they use habits that are innocent at first. But if you give yourself free will, constant actions will acquire the features of painful obsession, will turn into dependence.

Bad habits have a devastating effect on quality of life. By studying the psychology of addiction, one is able to lightning alarms, preventing the moment when the situation gets out of control.

Addiction: an insight into the problem

People are susceptible to developing bad habits as they seek to protect themselves from unbearably painful feelings. Often this leads to an uncontrollable, uncontrollable state where the only way to feel good is to give in to temptation. Awareness of the plight occurs when the individual is aware of a problem that needs to be eliminated.

There is even a special scientific discipline – the psychology of addiction (addictology). This is research that considers deviant behavior of people, mechanisms, reasons of its development and dynamics. And the conclusions of the researchers, unfortunately, are disappointing.

So, according to studies, addictions can form in every person. But especially in people with weakened self-esteem. When a person does not feel self-importance, does not appreciate himself and drops his hands, not achieving the previously set goal, he finds solace in bad habits. Often the problem is the lack of attention and love from others. For this reason, young people are prone to abuse alcohol or computer games to occupy their leisure time with fun and fill their inner emptiness.

Over time, the way to relax and have fun grows into a bad habit. This is the psychology of addiction: it is hard for a person to get rid of a part of everyday life, because it occupied his leisure time and relieved him from unpleasant memories, collisions with reality. As a result, he prefers not to change anything.

Sometimes bad habits can be overcome. However, it is important not to “get hooked” on another one. The most important mistake is to give up one addiction in favor of another. For example, a person gives up drinking alcohol and starts eating a lot. A short victory will not have the proper effect if, after a while, the realization of a new addiction comes. The situation can only be resolved by fixing the source of the mental emptiness and working for a long time to fill it.

Finding the root (reason) of the problem

To begin with, a person has to stop lying to himself. Only at first it seems that the first step is easy. Some people forgive their habits for years and turn them into a daily “hobby”. But if you stop and pay attention to your own shortcomings, you can learn how to get rid of the addiction.

The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

Psychology in this case recommends asking the right questions to yourself:

  1. Do you feel loved? Needed?
  2. Do you believe in God or other higher powers?
  3. Do you consider yourself interesting, attractive person?

If the person answers the last question negatively, it indicates serious problems with self-esteem. It is recommended to look at the situation realistically or to consult a psychologist.

It is quite possible that the problem arose on the basis of dependence on the person. The psychology of human relationships is very complex. It is necessary to calmly weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such a loss. Humility will require several sessions where the patient does not need to forgive the abuser, just try to mentally let him go. Constant self-improvement reveals the situation from different angles and allows you to make sense of yourself.

Addressing the underlying problems of addiction is the key to eradicating it altogether.

Types of Addiction

Harmful habits are divided into groups. For example, chemical ones are directly related to the regular consumption of alcohol, drugs or medications. Intermediate ones are based on hormonal outbursts, such as adrenaline addiction or the desire to “eat” problems. Behavioral ones are responsible for the body’s conscious reactions to the situation.

Many psychologists classify the psychology of addiction on a non-chemical level:

  1. Gambling and other types of games for money;
  2. Love, sexual habits. Attempts to avoid meeting the person;
  3. Workaholism;
  4. Technical addiction: dependence on the TV, computer, console, personal gadget or the Internet;
  5. Tendency to spend money regularly;
  6. Dependence on time. Its pathological shortage, impossibility to plan the schedule correctly and to carry out all affairs;
  7. Sports addiction. Accompanied by a constant craving for performance of regular exercises, an increase in the complexity of training;
  8. A tendency to seek a spiritual beginning. Not the most popular kind. Described in detail in 2004: when patients tried to practice talking to higher forces and summoning ghosts;
  9. A sense of permanent war. An ex-military man’s inability to come to terms with past events. There are known cases of soldiers digging trenches in the yard to sleep peacefully, or having an unhealthy craving for risk.

In addition to the types of addiction listed above, there is a social classification of addictions in psychology. In this case, they are divided into condemnable (drug addiction, alcoholism) and acceptable ones (overeating, anorexia, workaholism). Quite often after therapy, the former are replaced by the latter. The psychologist recommends an emphasis on work, sports and new relationships.

Romantic Addiction

It is important for people to feel important in the eyes of others and loved ones. However, the psychology of love addiction is not considered healthy, because a person stops paying attention to himself and focuses on the object of adoration. Often such actions are overly obsessive and not pleasant for everyone.

The significance of one’s own life becomes blurred. Many familiar things, interests, hobbies cease to matter. Such behavior leads to the fact that “junkies” give up most of the aspects of life, and changes in mood are associated with a partner.

The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

In psychology, love addiction does not only refer to romantic or sexual experiences. For example, overprotection of the mother over the child, even when the child becomes an adult, can become a harmful habit. A strong friendship between people in which contact with others is perceived as betrayal is also not quite normal.

At the same time, the “junkie” who craves attention can be of any age, religion or life beliefs. Even children fall into the risk zone, because they are often jealous of their parents’ younger siblings if they get more time.

The basic fantasy of a person with addiction is a false expectation of boundless care, problem-solving by a partner, and a constant positive attitude toward everything. When their unrealistic needs are not met, love addicts feel resentment and create conflicts with those around them.

People often develop these kinds of habits because of past experiences. Freud devoted an impressive part of his work to the study of addictions associated with childhood experiences. In a long-term analysis of a minor, acute problems can be identified such as:

  • Attention deficit;
  • Lack or excess of care, love;
  • Flattery without reason or frequent praise of children;
  • Regular loneliness when adults are at work;
  • Lack of friends.

Often these factors affect self-esteem and create a misconception of attachment.

In psychology, addiction to a man is considered the same problem as any other addiction. Its symptoms at first do not inspire concern: a girl misinterprets ordinary actions, politeness is understood as signs of attention and sympathy. But in the end it turns out that the “lover” did not even think about courting. The girl perceives this as a betrayal, a deception. As a result, having stumbled several times, a person closes himself off from others, which leads to a conscious fear of intimacy.

Ways to eliminate love addiction

Self-awareness is the key to the process of getting rid of the habit. This will require taking specific steps:

  1. Overcome the denial and admit the problem;
  2. Get rid of the harmful effects of addiction.

It is not easy to do this alone. Most likely, one cannot do without the intervention of another person to break the endless cycle of repetition.

The first thing required is to accept the hard reality where the object of adoration does not love the “junkie.” For that is the bitter truth. Experiencing emotional pain will put a lot of things in their place.

In psychology, human addiction is viewed only as an individual case of addiction. The psychologist will base it on the personality of the patient, looking for a severe moral turmoil or a point of development of the habit. It is not uncommon for people to experience withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, it is recommended to seek support from a specialist who will help you cope with the oppressive feeling of fear, emptiness or pathological attention deficit.

Food Addiction

The feeling of fullness is accompanied by satisfaction. At first the person feels satisfied and happy, full of energy. In the constant desire to get a new dose of “happiness” and develops an addiction to food.

The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

The psychology of the “food junkie” is not something unique. The person behaves in the same way as any other addict – satisfying his passion to the maximum extent. For example, he devours all the products that are in the fridge, even if he does not feel hunger.

The reasons for development of the food addiction are several factors:

  • Physiology. Addiction can be triggered by hormonal imbalance, taking medications;
  • Psychology. Surviving an event, difficult situation or trauma causes a feeling of vulnerability, fear or a desire to hide from others. The individual is usually unable to accept the problem;
  • Sociology. The influence of loved ones, friends, who similarly cope with the situation through food, also affects the individual’s perception.

The habit of excessive eating is associated with a negative self-perception, low self-esteem and deep emotional distress. In the future, this can lead to a severe form of obesity, due to which the love for your body is completely lost.

Overcoming Food Addiction

If a person does not know how to get rid of an addiction to food, psychology points to the need to recognize the problem. This is the first step.

After that, it is recommended to stick to some rules:

  1. Keep a notebook and think about the menu for the week, sticking to it without exceptions;
  2. Switch to a healthy diet. For example, eating greens increases your mood and promotes a fast metabolism;
  3. Brush your teeth often. Taste is the reason people eat regularly. The aroma of mint overpowers the feeling of enjoying food;
  4. Proper leisure activities and hobbies. Addiction manifests itself in the regular repetition of an activity. Such situations are widely described in psychology. Addictive behaviors can be overcome by distracting yourself with other exciting activities;
  5. Meditate or exercise. It will take about an hour to do the exercises. The advantage will be the fact that after physical activity, the appetite is reduced.

Doctors also advise consuming plenty of clean water a day. The fact is that when the body is dehydrated or hungry, it sends similar signals to the brain. Sometimes a glass of water, not a cake, solves the problem.

Virtual Addiction

Some people develop bad habits while using the computer. The psychology of game addiction is built on the desire to avoid problems in real life, to cope with stress, which in the future looks like the only method of relaxation. Often addicted to the web and computer games are vulnerable, lonely or shy people who face misunderstanding in their environment.

The Psychology of Addiction. Why do people acquire bad habits?

The psychology of addiction to virtual space has the following habits, feelings and experiences:

  • Feelings of guilt or unwarranted well-being;
  • Unsuccessful attempts to go out or limit computer use;
  • Loss of an impressive amount of time;
  • Neglecting the company of friends, family in favor of being online;
  • Lying about time spent online or in computer games;
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable when not able to sit at the computer;
  • Using the Internet as an escape from reality when sad, lonely, or as sexual gratification;
  • Thoughts and plans related to the computer when one cannot access it;
  • Problems at school or work because there is no time left for activities.

Physical signs of virtual addiction are considered:

  • Back and neck discomfort;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • Insomnia;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Dry eyes or poor vision;
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness, burning in the hands, which can spread to the wrists, elbows and shoulders).

Computer addiction results from the fact that in the age of technology, people repeatedly use virtual space as a way to get rid of stress. Instead of facing the underlying problem, they create new ones. Others abuse the postponement of responsibility for important events they actually fear.

How to help a virtual reality obsessed person?

It is difficult to remain indifferent when a loved one can not cope with the situation and take control. This is the reason why intervention is needed to help rid him of his computer addiction:

  1. Find comfortable company, where the Internet is not the only way to spend your leisure time;
  2. Have a heart-to-heart talk. It’s important to keep in mind that the conversation should not be one-sided;
  3. Involve the person in a new hobby: start painting or making music together, go on a trip together, go to a soccer game, etc;
  4. If it’s a child, show an example of using the computer as a purely work tool;
  5. Provide support in emotional distress. Never show judgement, as it will break the trust that has been formed.

The main task is to reduce the stay in the virtual space of the “computer junkie” to a minimum. However, it is difficult to build a comfortable zone for life around an addict on your own, without outside help.

It can happen to anyone

Often when people think of addicts, they think of an abandoned person at the very bottom. This notion is incorrect, because addiction occurs in people of different ages and social status.

The boundary between habit and addiction is that the latter cannot be stopped at will by the individual. For example, alcohol addiction is recognized in psychology as the most frequent compared to other addictions. Regular consumption of alcohol is addictive and develops an urge to “continue the banquet”.

Addictive behavior can develop in anyone. It is a repetitive process that is used as a temporary distraction from a deeper problem, pain, or distress. The real source of addiction is in the soul, and everyone should pay attention to the fine line that separates habit from painful cravings. This is the only way to notice the problem in time and have time to get rid of it.


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