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Below are the articles in the Addictions category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.


Addictive Eating: Are You Powerless Over Food?

Identifies the common markers of addictive eating and the reasons behind this compulsive behavior.

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The holidays of winter often bring to mind the image of a full table—and a full stomach. We gather with friends and family and feast merrily on pies and potatoes, turkey and ham and all of the fixings that many of us dearly enjoy.

There is another side to that pretty picture, however.

What if our extra consumption of calories during the winter is fueled not by good cheer and companionship, but by anxiety? And, further, what if it’s not the gathering of loved ones that we most look forward to, but the food that we can’t get out of our minds?

Also, while we may welcome gatherings with friends and family, they do bring with them extra stress and preparation. Add to the mix the anxiety caused by a sputtering economy, and many of us might find ourselves reaching for “comfort” food.

Codependence: What’s My Responsibility?

Codependency is a learned condition, which means it can also be unlearned. This article offers ways to begin.

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Do you find yourself consistently feeling unfulfilled in relationships, not asserting yourself enough, or perhaps you have difficulty figuring out where your responsibility for someone else ends? Issues like these and others, such as perfectionism, low self-esteem, distrust, and even physical illness related to stress can indicate that you have some codependent behavior.

Codependency commonly occurs when a loved one needs support because of an addiction or an illness and we take care of that person at the expense of ourselves. Codependents can also attempt to control everything within a relationship, again, without addressing their own needs, thus setting themselves up for unfulfilling interactions and even sometimes unintentionally discouraging the loved one from seeking outside help.

We learn codependency by watching and imitating people in our family and in society who display the behavior; thus, it is often passed down from generation to generation.

Do You Have Workaholic Habits?

There is a clear difference between enthusiastic, energetic work toward a highly valued goal and workaholism. That difference lies primarily in the emotional quality of the hours spent. This quiz will help a person see if he or she has a problem.

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Workaholism has a treadmill, joyless quality, not the bouncy, fun energy of a trampoline. And while working long, hard hours may help you accomplish a primary work goal, it likely will leave other areas of your life—family, friendship, intellectual stimulation, etc.—in shambles.

“Workaholism is an addiction,” Julia Cameron says in her book, The Artist’s Way, “and like all addictions, it blocks creative energy.” Take the following quiz, adapted from Cameron’s book, to help you figure out if you have workaholic habits. Even better, ask a few members of your family, or a few friends, to answer these questions for you. You may be surprised by what you discover.

1. I work beyond normal office hours.

2. I cancel dates with friends or family members to do more work.

3. I postpone outings until my deadline project is done.

4. I take work with me on vacations.

5. My family and/or friends complain that I always work.

6. I seldom allow myself free time between projects.

Holiday Drinking—When the Party’s Over but the Drinking Isn’t

The holidays are a time of More. More parties, more social gatherings, more celebrations. And more drinking.

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Many of the usual drinking rules are relaxed during the holiday season. Drinking in the daytime for example, and drinking at the workplace where office parties often add alcohol to the mix. More drinking and driving occurs during the holidays than at any other time of the year. And sometimes people who don’t normally drink much may indulge in more than they intended and trouble follows.

It’s not true that increased drinking causes alcoholism—alcoholism is a disease with many “causes.” Just because someone drinks more frequently, or consumes more alcohol than they usually do, doesn’t mean he or she has become an alcoholic. But there are warning signs that drinking may be a problem, for example:

• Starting to drink earlier in the day.

• Increased drinking (drinking every day or every few days, or drinking increased quantities).

• Continuing to drink when they’ve “had enough.”

Internet Addiction

Every day, millions of people come home from work or school, boot up their computers and enter a world we wouldn’t have dreamed of twenty years ago. It’s a world that brings up new issues as well as old ones in new garb.

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Visitors to the internet "talk" with anonymous strangers in chat rooms and news groups; "visit" museums and African plains; "kiss," "hug" and "have sex" by typing into a computer; "swim underwater" in simulated oceans.

It’s a new world, all right—one in which we are confronted daily with new emotional issues, or new twists on age-old issues. These three brief vignettes illustrate some of the uncharted waters we are wading in today.

Real Life vs. Net Life

George spends five to eight hours a day on the Internet talking with a vast assortment of friends in various chat communities. He presents himself alternately as an assertive and confident Casanova, an opinionated scholar or a focused, take-charge businessman.

In "real life," George is none of these. Painfully shy and extremely self-critical, George keeps to himself.

"I feel more like myself when I’m online,” he says. But what he really means is, "I feel more like who I wish I was."

Recovering from Debt Addiction

Tips for finding the roots of debt addictive behavior, to improve finances, and get in control.

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John has a well-paying job, but carries a debt load equal to half his salary. He spends compulsively, buying things he doesn’t really need. Because he also doesn’t keep track of his finances, he frequently bounces checks. John would like to get control of his spending, but hasn’t been able to rein himself in.

Sarah never spends money unless she has to and neglects self-care such as dental check-ups. She is self-employed but doesn’t make enough to cover her basic expenses and uses credit cards to pay bills when she falls short. Her debt load is a great worry to her, but she feels helpless to change the situation.

John is a compulsive debtor and Sarah an underearner, but their core problem is the same. According to Jerrold Mundis, author of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, repeated debt results from dysfunctional or distorted subconscious attitudes and perceptions about money and self.

Self-Talk’s Role in Addiction Relapse

“I’ll just have one. It’s no big deal.” But it is a big deal, and in no time, the decision to quit an addiction has fallen by the wayside.

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It often seems that the moment you decide to quit an addictive substance or activity, the deluding, conniving self-talk begins. Before you know it, this deceptive self-talk has become a deafening self-shout, and the danger of relapse is just around the corner. That’s the power of language and how it shapes our thoughts and actions.

But it is possible to get a hold of this self-defeating, one-way conversation. Change your self-talk and you change yourself.

Addictions help people avoid unpleasant or painful emotions. People develop addictions not only to substances—such as drugs, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, food—but also to activities, such as gambling, sex, the Internet, work, theft, shopping. The common thread is a preoccupation that interferes with life, continued use or involvement despite negative consequences, and loss of control. While they may bring short-term relief, addictions result in long-term nightmares.

To the voices in your head, however, it’s ALL about the short-term relief.

Sex Addiction

Causes of sexual addiction, as well as recovery tips for sex addicts and those who love them.

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When actor David Duchovny was treated for sex addiction in 2008, it brought attention to a topic that few people had ever discussed at a water cooler before.

Similar to food addiction, sex addiction (sometimes referred to as “sex and love addiction”) involves a natural part of life that the afflicted individual takes to extremes, harming self and sometimes others.

Drawing another parallel to food, sex addicts may over-indulge in sex or sexual activities (similar to binge eating) or they may isolate themselves to the point where they curtail almost all activities where they might face temptation or opportunity (similar to anorexia).

Summertime Drinking: When Is It a Problem?

Summer brings more leisure time, longer daylight hours—and more drinking. When does increased drinking indicate a problem?

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Just like the temperature, drinking taboos are lifted a few degrees in the summertime. Drinking in the daytime is more acceptable. Consider lounging around the pool drinking tall, cool ones, patio parties where exotic drinks and tiki torches brighten up the night. And since it stays lighter later, the cocktail hour is extended a few hours.

It’s not true that increased drinking causes alcoholism — alcoholism is a disease with many “causes.” Just because someone drinks more frequently, or consumes more alcohol than they used do, doesn’t mean he or she has become an alcoholic. But, there are warning signs that drinking may be a problem, for example:

• starting to drink earlier in the day

• increased drinking (drinking every day or every few days, and drinking increased quantities)

• continuing to drink when they’ve “had enough.”

• denying they’ve “had enough.”

Top 10 Addiction Clues

How can a person know if a loved one has an addiction? This article lists ten common signs.

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Abuse of or addiction to alcohol or other substances is not always easy to spot. If many of the following clues are present, it could be that you are dealing with someone who needs help.

1. Minimizing. The common refrain is, “I can stop anytime I want.” Hiding the use of substances is also a major clue.

2. Belligerence and intimidation. Mean-spiritedness, intense sarcasm and/or regular belittling usually leads to people feeling as though they must “walk on eggshells” around the person.

3. Lying and promise-breaking. Both hallmarks of substance abuse or addiction, these include the oft-made (and broken) promise to “never do it again,” whatever “it” is.

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