Hey folks! Hope you have read about my recent blog post on “The A, B, and Cs of Addiction: Psycho-education”. Now let us see about how addiction starts and its aftermath.

Addiction and its various creep in into your life with some common roots. Sometimes you are aware of it and sometimes it gobbles you up sub-consciously. Do you wanna know what these common roots are? OK, let’s have a look at these:

1)    Family / Home Environment:  As an innocent child and a curious teenager I used to “ape” or replicate whatever my mom, pops and siblings used to do. It used to fascinate me so much. I felt victorious every time I could mimicry them successfully. In this way I picked up many bad habits too. Only when I grew up to a certain age I could differentiate between what is good or bad for me. And then I made rectification in my thoughts, habits and behaviour. I am sure, many of you must have done this…trying to dress like your mom, shave or smoke like your father or brother, use make-up like your sister. This is a natural human behaviour. But, problem arises when you pick up unhealthy habits from your home environments and the older ones. If at any point you realize that a certain habit is unhealthy and you should abstain from it, then it’s really great. However, if this realization does not strike you at the right time, then that recurrent habit easily tends to become an addiction. Often smoking, alcohol, sex addiction are some of the addictions easily picked up from home environments.

2)    Peer Group Influence and Social Media: Being the limelight of my peer group was always on my mind. The moment someone made me feel down or challenged me, I would do everything to fulfill that challenge. Have you also felt like this or have gone heights to do “dare” stuff? In a peer group we all want to do our best and show our best side in order to impress our friends and followers. But, this attitude back-fires sometimes. When you try to impress others by going beyond your safe limits, you are very much likely to fall into a deadly trap. It’s good to do challenging things, but not at the stake of your health and safety. Breaking self barriers in order to fulfill challenges, “do and dare” stuff, heroic acts, etc are often the first threshold towards deadly addictions in the form of alcohol, drug abuse, gambling, smoking, shop-lifting and so on.

Similarly, social media also is one of the major causes in addiction. Exposure to illicit and negative content in an inappropriate way and age can lead to fatal consequences. If you come across some promiscuous content through the media (TV, Internet, etc) your mind is naturally tempted to explore about it. Porn addiction and sex addiction, and so on are some of the examples whose high incidence rates are due to wrong exposure to such content.

3)    Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Faulty coping to life’s stressors can lead to addiction in manifold ways. If you are depressed, frustrated, abused, tensed…and you do not know how to cope with it healthily, then addiction may silently sneak in.

As I had said in a previous blog post, “Use and Abuse” are two similar sounding words, but can make either hell or heaven out of your life. In the same way; alcohol, sex, masturbation, social media, etc are not bad. The way you use them in your life is what makes the whole difference. Using them for healthy purposes will ultimately be for your betterment and abusing them will take you into a world of pains, illness and agonies.

Addiction of any form can land you in serious physical, social and mental health problems; memory and concentration problems, opportunistic infections, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, social stigma and discrimination…Well, this list is endless! A knife in a doctor’s hand saves a life but a knife in a thief’s hand takes a life. So it’s your choice whether to use the resources for your development and well-being or decay and death. The choice is all yours.

But, this is not the end folks. There are still many things you can do to prevent addiction from curbing your life. There are endless ways in which you can kick addiction out of your life. Some of the ways are:

  •     Knowing safe limits of an addictive substance and self-control.
  •     Abstinence is the best way so far.
  •     Taking suggestions or advice from a friend/elder if you feel that you are getting addicted towards something.
  •     Knowledge about healthy way of coping with the ups and downs of life.
  •     Eating good, sleep, exercises, hobbies, good social circle are some of the finest ways of staying away from addiction.
  •     The courage to say “NO” to unethical deeds and unhealthy behaviour/practices.
  •     Choose your friends and social circles wisely. Good friends and social circles are the one who lead you towards health, happiness and prosperity. Stay away from “toxic” people who tend to destroy your life.
  •     Age-specific and appropriate use of Internet, media outlets and so on.
  •     If you fall prey to any kind of addiction, do not waste even a second and contact a Counselor / psychologist / self-help groups / de-addiction centre in your area.

Life is too short to waste it under the influence of addiction. It is our choices and wisdom that makes or mars our life… Stay safe and Stay healthy.

Best Wishes,

Sareeta