Most people are addicted to something, whether that is their phone, drugs, social media, video games, or even food. These addictions are sometimes something we joke about, but when our behaviour is out of control and we get depressed about not being able to stop what we are doing, it is time to get help.

The best thing you can do when you are suffering from addiction is to seek a mental health professional out for counselling. But why is it that we are so often and so easily addicted? What feeds our addictions even when we live relatively good lives and have so much entertainment, access to the internet, and a good social life?

The Silent Epidemic: Understanding Modern AddictionsStress

Even when we live pretty good lives, we may suffer from severe stress. Stress is often defined as the things that we allow to affect us negatively. Everyone has stressors in their lives, and it is up to us to choose how we let those things affect us. Some people are not bothered by screaming children and low finances. Others feel constantly stressed by them and suffer from depression and worry as a result. 

Stress can be caused by poor money or time management, by untidiness, by being overworked, by health problems, and by relationship problems to name a few. If your responsibilities are too much for you to handle and you never get the things down that you want to, it may help to take some of that burden off of you. What many people will do is get a professional cleaners to tidy their homes so that they have clean homes and more time to get other things done. Some people will hire babysitters to take some of the stress of their children off of them.

To deal with stress, it helps to get some fresh air, go for a walk, and exercise. We may think that sitting in our beds on our phones or other devices would be a good way to de-stress, but it often is not. We are bombarded by so much information and social interaction there that we become more stressed. 

Fear of Missing Out

Another factor that leads many people to get addicted to various things is their fear of missing out (FOMO) on the entertainment and devices that their friends are experiencing. They don’t want to miss any info about the new movie or video game that is coming out, so they stay glued to news sites and social media. That constant data feed can be addicting, as we chase updates and stay constantly connected to social and news networks. It is addicting to enjoy these forms of entertainment and new devices as well. 

How many people are addicted to online games or to their iPhone or social media? Plenty and some people are genetically hardwired to be more easily addicted than others. With so many people trying these things, of course, you will have large numbers of people addicted to them. Video games and social media are designed to be addictive, and while they won’t hook everyone, they do hook enough people to be problematic. 

If you know that you are easily addicted because of past experiences, then you need to be extra careful. It is okay to not play the same games that your friends are playing because you choose to avoid games that drain your time and keep you hooked. It is okay to not stay connected to social media 24 hours a day. If you know you have a weakness there, be on guard for experiences and interactions that could draw you back in and spin you out of control. 

The Silent Epidemic: Understanding Modern AddictionsThe Stigma of Getting Help

Are you afraid of what people will think of you if you were to go for counselling for your addiction? Then it is as though you are acknowledging a problem, and that’s part of why many people stay addicted. They don’t want other people to think poorly of them, so they try to beat addiction on their own. We need to get rid of this stigma attached to counselling and therapy and focus on doing what is best for ourselves. If you need help, then by all means you should get it.

What if there were a stigma attached to hiring plumbers? A lot of people would have leaky homes and other serious plumbing issues. The problems would not get fixed. When we allow stigma to stand in the way of getting help, we are left with our problems, and we avoid a straightforward sensible solution. 

A Lack of Rest

Another factor that contributes to mass addiction is poor rest. So many of us in this generation will stay up late watching our screens rather than getting proper rest. Then, we caffeinate in the morning to try to make up for that lack of sleep. This is a poor way to live, and it is really bad for our self-control and our ability to fight addiction. We need to be on guard about our weaknesses and the kind of things that can addict us. If we are tired and stressed from lack of sleep, we will be more easily susceptible to becoming addicted or falling back into addiction. 

The Silent Epidemic: Understanding Modern AddictionsNo Discipline

Self-discipline is one of the keys to beating addiction, but it seems like very few people have much of this anymore. If we cultivate self-discipline, we will stick to routines more often and be less likely to fall into addiction. Self-discipline empowers us to be in control and to say “no” when we know we ought to. Many people lack discipline because they see no value in it. They want to feel like they are free, and so they avoid routines and schedules. Those who work from home or who don’t have a family to care for will be less likely to be disciplined and more likely to fall into addiction. 

When it comes to protecting yourself from addiction, you need to be aware of these factors and take steps to put your guard up.