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Addictions: escaping the pain

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

Addictive behaviours can come from simply the desire to avoid pain. Whether that may be continuously clicking through YouTube video after YouTube video, scrolling down Facebook's newsfeed like a zombie, knowing that nothings really that interesting, shopping and feeling the buzz of buying a new item of clothing, burying ourself in an over-scheduled life, playing endless amounts of candy crush, or even smoking, taking drugs and drinking alcohol.

Now I’m not saying that every time someone does these things, its an attempt to avoid something! But we all sometimes go through painful situations in life and these addictive behaviors can often result from not wanting to deal with, tolerate or experience pain. It’s easier to busy ourselves in work, or mindlessly loose ourselves on the internet or numb our feelings with drugs and alcohol. However there’s three main problems with this:

1. The problem never really goes away. 2. When emotions are suppressed, they will eventually come out in other uglier ways. E.g someone is hurt by an ex and becomes over defensive and bitter, making everyone else pay for the hurt. 3. You end up creating an unhealthy psychological pattern (bad habit) as the way to deal with problems. This way of behaving becomes your go-to solution that is repeated to other problems and painful life events.

The solution: If you have an addictive pattern of behaviour, the most important thing you can do is try to see what you’re avoiding and too scared to look at. Just stop and look. You will know when you ask yourself. Just be honest with yourself. A really simple and helpful way to figure out what’s going inside you is to write or draw. When you begin to express yourself, not only is that therapeutic, but you may also begin to find solutions to your problems. I believe the answers lie within all of us. You just need to connect to yourself to get them. If you need more help to untie the knots, you may want to contact a therapist. But remember, you always have your answers within and a true therapist will help you find it.

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