18 February 2012

Addiction is a Powerful Word

I had a long flight back from the west coast last evening.
It got me thinking about alot of things.

One thing that crossed my mind was the concept of addiction.
You always hear that word tossed around .. addicted to drugs, food, shopping, chocolate and even sex.

So exactly what does addiction mean.. the question drove me to seek the real answer.

So the medical definitionis :  Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control.

There is a big difference between addiction and habit though.

  •  A Habit - it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction.

  • I raise this question because some of us may think we have an addiction: to food, to shopping to anything that we feel is controlling us..but really.. is it an addiction?  we all seem to have the capability to change our behaviors at some level.   Meaning we have some level of voluntary control.

    The other interesting thing about addiction is that there are many types. Overeating is classified as one possible type of addiction.  But I do not believe that is should be broad brushed as such.
    Overeating is driven by so many different sub types such as binge eating, stress eating, emotional eating, comfort eating, and sugar addiction.  We may  see ourselves as slipping into one of these subcategories.

    The other question  floating around in my brain is that why do we tend to be more critical of those with visible addiction.. vs. those that we may not be aware until it hits us over the head?

    Overeating is not necessarily a visible addiction. Some of us are pretty good at hiding the evidence;

    I am definitely an emotional eater, have been all my life.
    I have spent many a day trying to figure out why.
    Questioning what events in my life would trigger such an eating style.
    I think I  had a great childhood, but I also think there where times when  my parents relationship was strained.
    As a child, you tend to question everything and hope that none of the bad parts are because of you.

    I know for a fact that none of my actions or status were the cause of any discontent; yet I felt the stress of the situation and pondered how it would all play out.

    To this day, this still resonates within me.. and yet, here are my parents 58 years later, still married, still in love.

    So the question still burns within, what causes me to have such a poor regulator on how I embrace food.  Certainly the band helps limit the volume, but the emotional baggage still looms on my shoulders.

    I sometimes find myself in a very good place in balancing this all out, and now and then I find myself slipping back and letting my emotions overtake me.. letting food slip in the side door to comfort me.

    Is it an addiction, a love affair with food, or is it just a nasty old habit.

    I don't really know.. I am still trying to figure this one out.

    Be well my friends.. have a great weekend.. that is my intent..

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