Friday, January 17, 2014

Compulsion and the Brain #2

According to Dodes (MD professor emeritus at Harvard and author of Breaking Addiction), the best approach for managing compulsions is to think ahead, rather than trying to handle them only when they arise. Think ahead and figure out what actions you can take to prevent feeling helpless or overwhelmed or whatever. This may mean changing future plans or reframing (developing a new perspective) about what is approaching. These types of strategies are much easier to implement ahead of time, in advance of the teetering-on-the-edge moment as, Dodes puts it. Spending time focusing on the precipitating contributors to the times you went ahead with the compulsion or addictive behavior is much more likely to help you solve and better handle the emotional issues that typically precede each action you take. “Planning ahead is how we deal with most challenges in life. But you have to know what to look for—not only the specific triggers but the reasons for feeling so helpless in those situations.”

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