Addiction Studies

Understanding Addiction

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Wilma Gonzalez

How My Wife Saved My Mental Health From Video Game Addiction

I am someone who understands my responsibility as a husband, a father, and a man. I take my commitments seriously, and I always ensure to complete my task before I end up throwing myself on the couch or bed. But right after losing the job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I somehow drifted apart from my positive standpoint in life. I became lethargic and more exposed to technological use. In fact, I spent almost a couple of my time browsing the internet and scrolling up on social media’s newsfeeds. At first, I find it reasonable since there is nothing much to do when locked up. But when I engaged in video games, that is where things began to change.

My wife is a lovely and supportive woman who always takes things into considerations. So when I talked to her about wanting to spend my time playing video games, she agreed immediately. That is when she saw how happy I was with this new set of gaming CDs. She thought that there would be nothing wrong with that. My wife never asked me for anything in return because she feels that nothing much needs to be done in the house. From that agreement, we managed to have a peaceful and easy-going lockdown life amidst the pandemic. But everything started to escalate as soon as I got addicted to playing.

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What Went Wrong?

Routines around the house were changing drastically as I continue to play more and more. I do not wake up early anymore because I got to sleep late. Honestly, I think I only spend 2 to 3 hours sleep in bed at night for weeks. I also do not eat meals with my wife anymore, which made her eat on the dining table alone. Admittedly, my hygiene got affected, too, as I never find time to take a bath or even clean myself before going to bed. I was miserable and hopeless.

When my wife finally talked to me about my condition and calmly explained everything terrible that has been happening around the house, I was closed-minded. I was listening to her while she states facts, but I entirely do not care at the back of my mind. I mean, I do understand that my wife only thinks about my overall health. But I was too stupid to believe that she is only using an ample amount of complaints so that she can make me stop playing video games.

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Day after day, my wife became so persistent in talking to me about my actions’ consequences. I could tell that she tried her very best to control herself as she often gets an unfavorable response. She was so determined to help me get through the video game addiction phase, which I never knew I was having by that time. My wife tried desperately everything from asking me out on a date to asking me every night for intimacy with the hope of getting rid of my video game time.

On the other hand, I thought I was considerate. I made time for my wife and went out with her. My family and I eat meals together at the table again, and I thought it was okay. I believed that when I gave in to her requests, she would leave me alone with my hobby. I thought I was trying to be nice and more committed despite sensing an invisible barrier between us. I thought because I am moving my ass around the house, it was enough for her to consider allowing me to do what I want to do. Unfortunately, that didn’t go well.

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Prepare For The Worse

All my assumptions about my wife and I’s supposed normal relationship went down the hill when she has had enough. One time, when I was busy playing video games, she walked straight towards me with a cooking pan in her hands. I thought she was about to hit me with that. But she smashed it on my computer screen. She then turned her face at me, didn’t say anything, and began to cry. It was at that moment I realized how things are so messed up.

The Instant Effect

Honestly, my wife ruining the computer screen is not the turning point. It was her emotional distress. I was so hooked with a hobby that turned out to be a mental illness, and I didn’t care to help myself. My wife, on the other hand, was struggling with mental and emotional stress because of me. But my wife was trying her best not to create an impact on my well-being. And I thanked her for that. I genuinely appreciate her efforts in helping me get through my addiction despite battling with her own demons.

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From then on, I promised never to allow my wife to suffer from mental and emotional issues for an undeniably stupid thing.



Family Mistakes In Treating Addiction

It can be quite challenging to address addiction, especially if a member of the family is affected. Most members would try their best to create strategies such as providing advice, comforting the addict, tolerating the vices, charging punishments, and ignoring the addiction’s negative results. Well, some of these can work, but not all can support a long-term positive outcome. That is because most families do not try and understand the factors affecting their loved one’s addiction. Thus, they create mistakes in treating them. To give light on the subject, here are some of the reasons why helping a family member getting rid of addiction somehow doesn’t seem to work.

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Thinking It Does Not Affect Them

Most families look at addiction as an individual’s specific struggle only. But that is farther from the truth. Honestly, it is an entire unit’s battle, and it affects everyone in the family. It affects everyone’s productivity, financial growth, physical strength, and emotional and mental well-being. Usually, that is because of their idea that addiction is limited only to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. But addiction has a lot of categories. There’s videogames, sex, abuse, technology, and so on. With this at hand, it is useless to think that a family dynamic can keep their distance from becoming addicted. There is entirely no protection or guarantee that addiction cannot get through their units.

Ignoring The Problem

A lot of times, most family members have suspicions of addiction going on in one of the members of the family. However, since they can’t seem to find proof or couldn’t get validation, they tend to ignore it. That is a big mistake because it makes the addict struggle more; it also postpones the necessary action in treating the mental condition. Yes, it can be okay to include environmental issues, but ignoring the symptoms will make things more complicated. Not only for the addicted individual but also with the life of the whole family surrounding the addict.

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Relying On Short-Term Solution

A lot of times, we see that most families rely on short-term solutions. That is because they think about addiction treatment as something that can be done in a brief period. That is why they bring their addicted family member to a physician, punish them from time to time, and set restrictions, and so on. From there, families think that a few sessions or limited actions can instantly eliminate the problem. However, that is way too impossible, and that is a huge mistake. Addiction requires a lot of time to heal and recover and relying on simple methods, sometimes even makes it worse. It leads to enabling the co-dependency of the addict to his family.

Throwing Money At The Addiction Problem

Throughout the history of treating addiction, it is one of the most common mistakes of every family. We have seen them sending their loved ones to institutions and rehab centers, which we know costs a lot. There is this mentality that if the family finds the most expensive rehabilitation facility, they can best get rid of their loved one’s addiction problem. However, money itself doesn’t solve the mental condition. That no matter how much a family spends, it does not guarantee their family member’s healing and recovery. Usually, choosing this tends to make them become more in denial, thus keeping themselves away from the solution.

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Trying To Negotiate With The Addict

Generally, we understand that addiction is a long-term problem. Depending on the intensity, it will take years for the addict to develop recovery patterns. Thus, it becomes a huge mistake when family members tend to negotiate with the addict. There is no way they can come up with a solution that can benefit both parties. A tough conversational agreement doesn’t help treat the addiction because it is not just a simple rational decision that needs to be hatched out. It is a mistake to think of addiction as a will power because it is instead a mental condition that requires specific treatment.

Delaying The Treatment

Beyond just thinking that addiction is a will-power issue, it is a mistake when there is a delay in the treatment. The more the family spends time thinking of a solution, the more the addict becomes miserable. It is a huge mistake to wait for an event to pass before trying to ask for help. At times, the postponement of getting an addiction treatment leads to either makes the problem worse by causing a further rift and significant life problems. These include illegal involvement, DUIs, injuries, and even drug overdose.

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Takeaway

It is essential to understand that helping someone in the family get rid of addiction is a struggling process. No one can tell when or how things will come to an end. So if families want to help their loved one, they should avoid creating these mistakes.



Managing Your Alcohol Recovery While In Quarantine

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The COVID-19 pandemic has ensued a tremendous amount of anxiety and worries for all of us. The uncertainties it brought, not only in health but also economically, and isolation can affect our mental health and adopt coping mechanisms that may be deemed harmful. Especially for people recovering from alcohol abuse, they have to manage the overwhelming emotions to stay sober while in quarantine. 

Being stuck at home for quarantine can be boring and redundant. It’s a good thing that BetterHelp is here to save us from it all. BetterHelp is an online platform that offers you convenient and affordable counseling in more ways than one!

According to Dr. Yngvild Olsen, MD, from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the “COVID pandemic has created an explosion of people in crisis due to isolation and anxiety.” She also mentions that those who are already in the recovery stage of their addiction may open a chance for relapse. 

Therefore, it’s essential to manage these profound emotions as early as possible to prevent losing touch of their improvement. If you’re in recovery or with people who are, here are some ways recovering alcoholics can manage their mindset while being in quarantine: 

Stay Connected With Your Loved Ones 

Staying in touch with the people you can freely share your feelings is crucial, especially now that the world is in crisis. And when your emotions get out of hand, you might again use alcohol to tune out these sensations. Having a reliable support system allows you to have companions during this hard time and remind you that you’re not alone. 

Even while being in quarantine, you can reach out to them through digital means. You don’t have to talk about COVID-19 pandemic all the time. Share past events in your lives, have some laughs, and breath out the negativity in your mind. Be honest about your worries with them; don’t feel like you have to be strong all the time. They may have the ability to help you or give you advice. 

If you have support groups that are available online, connect with them, or go search for others online. You don’t have to go through this alone. You can lean on to other people.

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Get Busy 

A lot of thoughts can enter your mind when you do nothing. And ideas about alcohol consumption can come in as well. To avoid that, remain productive while in quarantine. Don’t let isolation bore you. Create a daily schedule. Fix the things you said you would last month in your house. Clean and reorganize your furniture. Read books or write stories. Make every day fruitful, and you will keep the negative thoughts away. 

Limit Your Social Media Usage 

Most of the time, social media can be stressful. It can be hard to be emotionally healthy when you’re seeing people bickering online and sharing false information about the pandemic. It can increase your stress and worry more. Leave when you feel drained by the noise of social media. If that’s the only way you receive your news, only follow credible accounts and stay away from hateful pages. 

Understand that the lives of the people you see on the internet may not be authentic. Don’t believe everything you see. Follow your family and friends. Watch funny videos on Youtube. Don’t stay too long on the black screen.

Receive News From Credible Sources Only

Fake news can create panic and deepen your existing anxieties. It’s essential to focus your thoughts and energy on things that are real and accurate. Moreso, we all have to stay informed nowadays and see the pandemic’s state in our community. Only follow organizations that are credible like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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Learn New Things And Find Hobbies

One good thing that you can get from being in quarantine at your home is time. You now have time to explore new activities and learn more about yourself. The internet will give you tips on how to start the hobby you want to pursue. You can also do your old hobbies and rediscover yourself again. Instead of finding ways to get near on a bottle, you can spend your time improving your creativity and character. 

Acknowledge Your Thoughts

Denying that you have sudden cravings can intensify your emotions more. Accept your thoughts and talk to yourself. Why are you feeling this way? What are the consequences if you drink excessively again? Slow down and breathe. Learn to deal with these thoughts in a healthy way. Know those feelings will pass, and you are strong. 

It can be a tough time for people recovering from addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being in isolation and waiting for answers to uncertainties can bring overpowering emotions. But it’s crucial to remember that you can get past through it and hard times will pass. People are waiting for your warmth outside. Take care of yourself, and don’t let your faith wither. 



Five Reasons Why COVID-19 May Cause Internet Addiction

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With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have forced their people to stay in the comfort of their homes. In hopes of controlling the virus, we now spend each day in quarantine. During these tough times, most of us are fortunate enough to have access to the Internet. With the Internet, you can binge-watch movies on Netflix, contact your friends on Messenger, and video chat family on Skype. However, as fortunate as you are to have such a privilege, is it right for you?

As we have no means of going outside, most of us resort to the comfort of our phones, computers, or gaming consoles. We have the freedom to spend as much time as we please on these devices. Though, the more time you spend on the Internet, the more you may become addicted to it.

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Common Internet Addiction Symptoms

There have been several studies regarding internet addiction disorder; however, it is yet to establish a proper diagnosis. Instead, a questionnaire measures or determines whether a patient has internet addiction. Here are some common symptoms or traits associated with internet addiction:

  • Achieves satisfaction with more internet time
  • Stays on the Internet longer than initially intended
  • Becomes moody, irritable, or depressed when the connection to the Internet is lost
  • Uses the Internet as a means of escape from problems
  • Risks the loss of a significant other or responsibility for internet use
  • Unsuccessful with any efforts to reduce internet time

Why COVID-19 May Cause Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is not yet recognized as a condition under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, most psychologists argue that it should still get treated the same as other forms of addiction.

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There may be no exact cause for the addiction, and it may vary from person to person. However, here are five reasons why COVID-19 may cause internet addiction.

  1. It’s Human Nature to Seek A Connection

It is part of our human nature to be associated with a company or group. Whether it may be with a friend, loved ones, or significant other, we always want to stay in touch. Having someone to talk to, especially when you alone, helps you calm down and stay sane. During the quarantine, it is difficult to manage a day with only having yourself. Thus, we spend more time messaging or video chatting with other people to feel connected.

  1. The Internet Becomes A Digital Playground

One thing we all enjoy doing is going around a particular area, such as a mall or park. As social beings, we tend to look for a place to be with other people. However, during the quarantine, we can only look for a place in our homes. We may do online shopping, seek for fun and recreation in online games, or watch random videos online. The Internet becomes our mall, playground, and school.

  1. Means Of Escape From The COVID-19 Situation

Most of us have become anxious about the COVID-19 situation. With how fast the virus is spreading and the growing number of lives it took, you can’t help but be scared. The Internet provides those having difficulty coping up with a sanctuary. The Internet may become their second home with all the possibilities it holds to help you escape. Even if their escape is temporary, it could become addicting.

  1. Lack Of Emotional Support

Those separated from their families during immediate lockdowns may be developing a void in their hearts. It is difficult to be alone and could cause your emotions to overflow. Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., says, “As we are all feeling isolated and dealing with anxiety or fear, having someone who steadies us, supports us, and appreciates who we are in our imperfection can be the healing force that keeps us moving forward.” The Internet may become a tool to fill in those voids. The emotional support it provides may end up as an addicting drug they’ll continuously seek.

  1. Desire To Be Constantly Informed

Right now, the most essential tool everyone needs at their disposal is information. We need to know of necessities such as the use of IDs, supermarket hours, food deliveries, and emergency hotlines. However, nowadays, the bulk of information is online. With a growing desire to find out what we need to know, the longer we may end up staying online.

Everyone should watch out for the COVID-19 situation. It is during these crises that we become most vulnerable. We need to take care of not only our bodies but also our mental health. Some things to help you avoid internet addiction include a timer, doing other activities offline, and self-reflection.  



Moderate Versus Excessive Drinking: Know Your Limits

It’s a no-brainer that alcohol should not be taken in excessive amount because it can pose harmful effects to a person’s body and mind. Drinking alcohol is part of our cultural and social practice. In some countries, drinking alcohol is part or included in their everyday diet and not only during special occasions. Medical research even presented the therapeutic effects of drinking certain alcoholic drinks to physical and psychological health.

For example, drinking two glasses of red wine every day can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders among women. Moderate drinking of alcoholic drinks can also reduce the risk of having ischemic strokes and diabetes in adults. Despite these positive claims, it is still essential to impart the adverse and harmful effects of alcohol if taken excessively. “Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded. While it may allow for a short-lived relief from anxiety, depression, or overwhelming feelings, drinking alcohol is not a smart choice in the grand scope of mental well-being,” says Jesse Viner, MD.

 

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Debunking Some Myths About The Alcoholic Anonymous

Alcoholic Anonymous or commonly known as AA forms the cornerstone of treatment and recovery of every alcoholic or individual with problems in addiction. The practice was started in the late 1930s and continues to help every individual with an alcohol problem to recover and live a meaningful and healthy life. This article will bring us closer to understand what goes around when a person enters this exclusive group and myths or fallacies concerning AA shall be corrected.   

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How To Prevent Underage Alcohol Drinking 

Alcohol drinking is undeniably a part of everyone’s culture. Even our television and internet are bombarded with advertisements and subliminal messages that target every household, but teenagers are the vulnerable age group that answers to the invitation of alcohol. It can penetrate teenagers’ mind where the main point of using alcohol shown in commercials is for social benefits. It is a fact that teens still do not have strong intentions to choose what is truly beneficial or not. As long as it satisfies their desires, they will go with it.  “You should know that while alcohol often causes a “good mood” at first, it is a central nervous system depressant. Its depressant effects can carry over into one’s mind, being a contributing factor to a person’s continuing depression,” says Mark Jacob, M.D. 

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When Your Husband Has Video Game Addiction 

When you are in a relationship with a man who finds happiness in playing video games, you are in for an emotional ride. Be prepared for the times he wouldn’t be able to answer your calls or messages. There will be times when he will forget special occasions. And most of the time, he just wouldn’t have time because he would be busy playing video games. When his hobby is already affecting your relationship, it is somewhat an addiction.  

“Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior (also referred to as digital gaming or video-gaming), that may be primarily conducted over the Internet (online) or primarily conducted not on the Internet (offline),” according to John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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Psychiatry: The Evaluation Of Patients With Addiction

 

 

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Substance abuse is so widespread that most psychiatrists find it utterly alarming due to the mental health complications it brings. According to Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC, “For family and friends of drug- or alcohol-addicted individuals, addressing the addiction is one of the most difficult aspects of helping the addicted person seek treatment.” Some conditions are mild while others are severe at some point. Not all people require the same treatment though. Most psychiatrists use different interventions to assess the needs of people with addiction.

Recovery from addiction is more than possible, but requires a person’s strong commitment to change,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

In treating the condition, there are some essential steps that a psychiatrist considers, especially with the different types of people and their diverse cases. According to Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC, “Effective treatment programs typically utilize peer support (often in the form of group counseling), individual counseling, pharmacotherapy, individualized treatment plans, onsite medical assistance, family involvement, and follow up support to prevent relapse.” We have here the significant guides that can show you how most healthcare professionals address the issue of substance abuse.

Raising The Subject – In a therapy session, the psychiatrist raises the issue and discusses alcohol. It often starts with a straightforward question of ‘how do you occasionally drink or how extreme do you party.’ The process of gathering information from your lifestyle will help the psychiatrist determine what kind of approach applies to your condition.

Providing Feedback – Though it is a fact that alcohol can do almost no harm if moderately taken, the exceeding limit of drinking is unhealthy. You must understand that most psychiatrists will try to explain the danger of too much substance in your body that can affect almost all your daily functions. In most cases, you’ll be able to figure out that some of your mental disorder is somehow related to your addiction. With their feedback, you’ll be able to know the link of your health conditions to your risky kind of lifestyle.

 

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Enhancing The Motivation – A thorough talk is given by the psychiatrist to allow you to understand the positive side of changing your habits. It will help you create a good realization as to when you should consider cutting down your substance abuse or might as well quit doing it for good. In this way, you’ll be able to determine your reason for quitting. It gives you a clear view of what factors you need to know to be able to consider lowering it down. If possible, you’ll have a chance to evaluate yourself and rate the importance of the deliberation.

Making A Plan – The therapy session is beneficial that it contains all the information you need to know as to when you should consider quitting. However, you need to take the initiative to plan on what the first step would be. The psychiatrist can offer you a wide variety of options and treatments such as medication, holistic change, brief counseling, talk therapy, and support groups. It enables a good start of your addiction recovery process.

 

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Follow Up Sessions – A psychiatrist will openly talk about your condition gradually. The process of treatment will follow a particular order that will not compromise your time. You’ll have the option of choosing the best solution that works with your condition. You will not feel stressed or forced by any means.

Substance abuse is something that we should not ignore so it’s better that we seek some excellent advice from those people who can adequately assist us with our needs. We may not feel the urge of asking for help, but if our health is already in danger, we might consider doing something before it’ll be too late.

BetterHelp is a website that offers you accessible counseling and convenient sessions. If you are looking for an app that offers you online counseling with therapists and counselors who are good at what they do well, BetterHelp is one click away. So, go ahead and get BetterHelp.




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