How can addictions impair my ability to live the best life possible?
The title for this post is inspired by a seminar-style course I took at the end of my last academic term. In a small group, we first discussed what it means to be addicted to something. What most definitions had in common is the obsessive thought of continually gaining the reward, the inability to stop the behavior associated with the reward, and placing a higher priority on receiving the reward over things that were previously important in their lives, such as responsibilities and relationships.
While most people, understandably, associate the term addiction specifically with drug addiction, it is also important to acknowledge several forms of addiction that manifest themselves in different ways. Interestingly enough, the class actually had a specific type of addiction discussed for each week, and throughout the ten week term, drug addiction was not one of these topics! Instead, topics of addiction pertaining to social media, gambling, eating, shopping, and others were discussed. Although these terms are not the first ones associated with addiction, there are still cases where they become addictions similar to the definition that I provide above, in which there are obsessive thoughts, an inability to stop the behavior, and a higher priority is placed on the rewarding behavior over other aspects of life.
It goes without saying that several forms of addiction can have an immensely negative impact on people’s lives. Much of that is because their decisions become short-sighted and driven on impulse to receive the reward, as opposed to logically and rationally making sound decisions. On top of this, these rewards on material things override the desire to fulfill the more sustainable well-being components of PERMA theory that we as humans should be striving to nourish, especially our relationships, meaning, and accomplishments in our lives. Therefore, it is important to realize that addictions to anything in general can be rewarding in the moment, but very detrimental to an individual’s long term well-being. This is the main takeaway from the article, but I will also dive into each topic specifically that we went over in the class, and why each addiction is specifically detrimental to our well-being. Each proposal to address the addiction in one’s life will also use the holistic biopsychosocial model to suggest possible solutions to combat any addiction someone may be struggling with, or even how to approach others struggling with it. Stay tuned, as I definitely look forward to revisiting some of the thoughts that were exchanged in that class. I hope you all are doing well!