Thursday, January 16, 2014

Compulsions and the Brain #1

Dr. Lance Dodes in his article in the November/December 2013 issue of Psychology Today discussed the misunderstandings that people have related to addictive behaviors. He says, “Addictions are neither more nor less than compulsions, behaviors most people have to some degree.” So how did you fare during the holidays? Did you have a compulsion to eat or drink or spend more than was healthy or advisable? Did you follow through on the compulsion or make a different choice? Many people did, exhibiting those behaviors because they felt helpless or vulnerable in some specific situation and using them as a way to supposedly take control against those feelings. Instead of taking action in an area of their lives that isn’t working for them (e.g., stressors at work, an unhappy relationship), they use those compulsive behaviors as a substitute action. In general, society has misunderstood the psychology behind addictive behavior, which not surprisingly has led to most treatment failures.

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