Massage Addiction – Are You at Risk?

As a massage therapist, I work hard to earn repeat customers by way of offering a great service at a price that reflects value for money.

Getting to know a customer and their likes and dislikes over time makes the massage much more easier. Massaging is a highly personal service so any familiarity built over time, helps both the massage therapist and the client relax into what is a very enjoyable experience.

Where there is no ‘standard’ rate of frequency for being massaged, most Massage Therapists would suggest one massage per month is a standard rate of frequency for a repeat customer. More sessions may be required depending on whether an injury or health concern is being treated.

So what happens when a customer starts booking massages weekly, or twice per week, for no reason other than they just ‘like being massaged and massaged by you in particular. In any other profession, accelerated frequency of a customer is a welcome event. In the world of massage, it may actually cause concern to the Massage Therapist.

Could this customer be addicted to massage? If they are, is this a negative thing?

One often associates addition to what are regarded as negative habits – smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive gambling, etc. Or, addiction is often associated to events that give people a ‘rush’ of sorts. High impact sports, bungee jumping, sky diving, etc. But massage? The act of being pampered into slumber!

If we break it down, my belief is that our society has become one where ‘touching’ others is at the very least, avoided – think about the discomfort of standing close to others in an elevator, or how one says ‘sorry’ when they accidentally touch by someone in the street (well most of the time). Consider how we bustle for our own patch of turf on public transport. How we act in the workplace is highly regulated and ‘touching’ of any type may point toward sexual harassment. I don’t disagree with the need to protect all in a workplace against any form of discrimination.

Human beings are programmed to be social – we seek community and we seek the company of others.

Now think about a person, who is either single or in a non affectionate ‘non touching’ relationship. They wake up and go to work and in every instance where they have ‘touched’ someone albeit accidentally, they apologise.

It is actually possible that some people in our society today go through whole days, or even months and never get ‘purposely touched’ in a positive, healing, way by someone.

Could some be using massage as a way of simply being touched? Where does someone go who yearns being touched in a non sexual, healing, pampering way go?

In a society where touching is avoided, discouraged or legislated against, one can see how easily some may become addicted to what in its essence, is a basic human need – being touched.

Perpetually Erect Penis – Sex Addiction or Normal Male Desire?

At some point, most men probably wonder whether they might have a sex addiction or whether that always-ready erect penis is just part of being a man. Clearly, a tool that is always at the ready is a sign of good penis health, but even so, the possibility that he may have a sex addiction problem can make a man feel quite uncomfortable. So how is a guy supposed to tell if he is addicted?

What is sex addiction?

Sex addiction – also known by the term “hypersexuality” – is a cause for enormous debate among the medical and psychiatric communities. Some people believe that there is no such thing; others believe that it most certainly does exist. But even among the latter group, there is a range of opinions concerning how to define it – and how to diagnose it.

Writing on PsychCentral, Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, defines sex addiction as “a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex; pornography; compulsive masturbation; romantic intensity and objectified partner sex for a period of at least six months.”

Weiss also states that an addiction may exist if this obsessive behavior continues despite efforts to stop it and despite the impact that it has on relationships, social life and work. He compares it to other obsessive addictive behaviors like gambling and binge eating.

If it feels good, is it addiction?

One of the traits of sex addiction is that sex is often used to make a person feel better; rather than soothing oneself in a non-sexual manner or talking to others about problems they are experiencing, sex addicts tend to turn to sexual behaviors to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

That does not mean that a guy who occasionally fondles his tool when he’s feeling stressed or seeks to bed someone when he’s blue is a sex addict; but if this kind of behavior occurs with great frequency and if it cannot really be controlled by the man, then an addiction is quite likely.

The un-controlled aspect is key; many men have extremely high sex drives and engage in sex with an above average frequency; but they do this by choice. So, just because it feels good to have sex and a man does it often does not mean he has an addiction.

Seeking help

If a man does think that perhaps his sexual activity goes beyond normal and has the possibility of being an addiction, he should definitely seek help. There are recovery programs, such as Sexaholics Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous, that can provide support and aid in dealing with the issue. Mental health professionals, such as psychotherapists, psychiatrists and some social workers, are another resource; those with training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can men develop strategies to meet their sex addiction challenges. Certain medications, such as SSRIs (often used in treating depression and anxiety), may be prescribed by doctors to help control sexually compulsive behaviors; various mood stabilizers may also be used. Seeking help for a sex addiction is very important; as more becomes known about this condition in future years, more therapies will be developed to help those suffering from it.

Many men who experience a sex addiction engage in sex so frequently or with such aggressive behavior that their erect penis can become damaged – raw and sore or even de-sensitized — due to rough handling. And it’s not just hypersexual men who encounter this; many men find themselves in the same boat. This is why it’s crucial that men make a habit of using a superior penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) on a regular basis. A cream with shea butter and vitamin E will nourish and moisturize the skin; if the cream also contains acetyl L carnitine, which is neuroprotective, it can help restore sensitivity lost due to peripheral nerve damage caused by rough use. And if L-arginine is also present in the cream, there will be a benefit to penis blood flow, as that ingredient aids the process which keeps blood vessels open.

Recovery From Addiction Through Basic Mindfulness

Introduction

Currently, there is no clear consensus among health professionals in precisely defining addiction. Historically, it has been defined narrowly only in relation to psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Increasingly in recent years, however, many dysfunctional behavioral patterns that are not specifically substance-based are viewed by many professionals also as “addictions.” Some common examples are addictions to: gambling, food, sex, pornography, computers, video games, watching TV, dieting, internet use, work, exercise, shopping, cutting/burning oneself, etc.

A common unifying theme with the victims of all of these disorders is how powerfully and repetitively they are internally driven to engage in the particular activity that defines their addiction.

There is, moreover, growing evidence from neuroscience research that the neurophysiology of ALL addictive disorders, whether substance-based or behavioral, is very similar in many ways. Endorphins (or endogenous morphine), for example, as well as key transmitter substances such as dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin are common mediating factors in all of these disorders.

The prevalence of these addictions in the modern world is staggeringly high. In the U.S. alone 15.1 million people are addicted to alcohol, 4 million to drugs, and over 20% of the population is still addicted to tobacco.

Although there is no reliable way to estimate the total prevalence of all the behavioral addictions, there is abundant evidence that they are extremely common. As a matter of fact, there are probably very few people alive today who are not subject to some form of addictive behavior.

In this regard, answering the following question with complete honesty will help you determine if you may be one of them: Do I ever feel driven to engage in any form of behavior that I personally regard as self-defeating or harmful and about which I later feel guilt, shame, embarrassment and/or remorse to some degree?

A New Way to Understand Addictions

The following formulation, although grossly oversimplified in many ways, is intended to help provide an initial rough framework for understanding how Basic Mindfulness offers a highly effective way to deconstruct the brain/mind formations that underlie all addictive behaviors.

Like all other creatures on this planet, humans universally tend to seek pleasure and to avoid or escape from pain. Although these two extremely strong genetic instincts have been and continue to be essential to survival, they are also the extremely fertile common ground in which all addictive behaviors become strongly rooted and sustained.

The basic habit patterns that comprise the core of these addictions start developing out of these intrinsic propensities in a very natural and lawful way even before we are born and continue to proliferate from that point onward.

The twin principles that govern their natural initial development can be stated quite simply, although they progressively evolve into highly complex and subtle brain/mind processes that are much more challenging to understand.

Principle #1: Whenever we do anything that is followed by an increase in subjective pleasure or satisfaction, the probability that we will do it again increases to some degree. In general, the probability of recurrence of such a behavior is proportional to the degree of pleasure/satisfaction experienced.

Each subsequent repetition of this particular sequence further increases the probability of its future recurrence or its “habit strength.” As it continues to develop, it will tend to become increasingly streamlined or “automatic,” requiring progressively less conscious awareness and/or intentionality for its occurrence. An automatic habit pattern that has developed primarily in this way will be referred to here as a pleasure-seeking reaction.

Principle #2: Whenever we do anything that is followed by a decrease in subjective physical/emotional pain, discomfort or dissatisfaction, the probability that we will do it again also increases slightly. Again, this increment in the probability of recurrence is generally proportional to the degree of reduction in subjective pain/dissatisfaction that is experienced.

Each subsequent repetition of this sequence similarly increases the probability of its future recurrence or its “habit strength.” As this happens, it will also become progressively more automatic as described above. This type of automatic habit pattern will be referred to here as a terminating reaction.

As used above, the words, “do anything,” refer to external behaviors as well as to their internal representations -i.e., the emotional feelings, mental imagery and/or self-talk to which they give rise. Typically, these internal representations are strongly linked to the external behavioral reactions from which they are derived and thus become a key part of the overall reactive pattern. Very commonly, they also play an important part in activating the external behavioral part of the reaction.

For example, thinking about/imaging a piece of chocolate cake in the refrigerator will tend to activate the corresponding pleasure-seeking reaction of actually eating it. Similarly, if you have a headache, your terminating reaction of taking an aspirin is highly likely to be preceded by thinking, for example, “I need an aspirin,” and/or an image of taking one and getting relief.

As nearly everyone knows from much personal experience, reliving a pleasure-seeking reaction in imagery tends to activate–at least to some degree-subtle feelings of pleasure; conversely, reliving a terminating reaction in imagery similarly tends to activate subtle feelings of getting relief from pain/discomfort. The same is true of anticipatory imagery and/or engaging in internal self-talk about future occurrences of pleasure or pain.

For example, someone experiencing a lot of stress at work may repeatedly imagine what she is going to do when the weekend comes and/or think repetitiously, “I can hardly wait to….” Both of these internal processes can be understood as subtle, garden-variety internal terminating reactions. It’s very important to understand that they also commonly occur very automatically, without any conscious awareness.

Within this framework, then, an addictive behavior can be defined as any pleasure-seeking reaction, terminating reaction, or a combination of both that is significantly harmful to oneself and/or others and that has become sufficiently strong and automatic that it effectively overrides-at least on some occasions– one’s intentionally conscious efforts to suppress or control it.

By this definition, all addictions cause pain-physical and/or emotional; and since pain tends to activate automatic terminating reactions, this sets up a self-perpetuating process or “vicious circle.”

Consider, for example, an alcoholic who chronically worries about how to pay his bills and who has had a highly stressful week at work. Predictably, this triggers a strong terminating reaction of stopping for “happy hour” at his favorite bar, where he ends up getting drunk, spending a large part of his paycheck, and staying until the bar closes.

His wife, expecting him to come home to participate in a special birthday celebration for one of their children, becomes very emotionally upset, as do all of the children. They are traumatized further by the loud argument that ensues between their parents after he finally gets home.

When he wakes up the next morning, he has a terrible hangover and is filled with intense guilt, shame, and self-loathing about what he has done. His baseline level of emotional pain, which he temporarily terminated through ingesting a large amount of alcohol, has now increased tremendously-far above its original high base level.

Given this level of pain, it is extremely likely that the same terminating reaction will be quickly reactivated, setting off another addictive round in this tragically vicious circle.

How Basic Mindfulness Fosters Recovery from Addiction

Mindfulness meditation was originally discovered in India over 25 centuries ago by a young prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as the Buddha. He made this discovery after five years of intensively searching for an effective way to end suffering. He subsequently spent 40 years teaching this method to his many followers. Since then it has been practiced ardently by hundreds of millions of people-mainly in Asian countries.

Since it was successfully introduced into Western countries a few short decades ago, it has quickly merged into the cultural mainstream-especially in areas such as psychology, medicine, education, and generalized personal development. At this point, it has also become a very hot topic in Neuroscience research.

A Definition of Basic Mindfulness

Basic Mindfulness, as I will refer to it here, consists of three powerful interrelated mental skills:

1) Concentration power;

2) sensory clarity; and

3) equanimity.

With adequate guidance and through disciplined practice, this skill set can be developed to a very high degree by nearly anyone. Once acquired, it can be applied effectively to every area of one’s life.

In particular, it is a means second to none for enhancing conscious awareness and thus become liberated from a wide array of highly automatic and unskillful habit patterns-which, very importantly, includes all addictions. Likewise, it provides a way to enjoy all of life’s pleasures much more fully, while also offering a very powerful means of coping with all forms of physical and mental pain.

Here are brief definitions of the three sub-skills of Basic Mindfulness:

Concentration power is defined simply as the ability to attend selectively and consistently to whatever you consider as relevant at any given time.

Sensory clarity consists in being consciously aware of, and perceiving clearly, all of the endlessly changing external and internal sensory events to which we are subject continuously.

Very importantly, this includes the subtle internal mental states mentioned previously that are incorporated into pleasure-seeking and terminating reactions. These transient states typically occur very automatically and with little or no conscious awareness.

Without mindfulness training, an average person will not perceive them clearly for what they are, but rather will typically experience them as a powerful and highly compelling urge to behave addictively in order to get relief. As a result, then, they commonly give rise to highly automatic and unskillful behavioral reactions.

These internal states fall into three basic categories:

1) Emotional feelings in the body;

2) mental imagery; and

3) verbal thinking

Equanimity entails letting go of negative judgments about what you are experiencing and consciously replacing them with an attitude of loving acceptance and gentle matter-of-factness. Effectively, then, it allows our internal mental processes to flow without resistance or interference.

Very importantly, equanimity does NOT in any way imply apathy. Actually, in fact, it is the opposite of apathy in that it frees up internal energy to respond more fully and consciously to external situations.

It is also the opposite of suppression in that it entails radical permission to feel. With regard to expressing feelings externally, however, it empowers one to choose skillfully what is most appropriate to her/his particular life situation.

How Basic Mindfulness Helps in Recovery from Addictions

In keeping with the introductory nature of this article, the following brief description is intended to convey only an initial understanding of the formal practice of Basic Mindfulness and how it can help in recovery from addictions. What it highlights, however, will hopefully help readers recognize some of its unique potential in this regard. (Much more comprehensive information about this approach is provided through my blog, mentioned below.)

The formal practice of Basic Mindfulness is most commonly carried out with eyes gently closed while seated in an upright, but relaxed, posture.

The duration of a typical mindfulness practice session ranges from 10 to 45 minutes. After a few weeks of basic training, more extended periods of practice can accelerate one’s progress greatly. This is commonly carried out in “retreat” settings that are specifically set up to support this type of more intense practice for periods ranging from a few consecutive hours up to several days, or even weeks.

The initial phase of practice emphasizes concentration power, which is of key importance in subsequently developing both sensory clarity and equanimity.

Concentration power then functions much like an internal microscope, allowing one to become clearly and continuously aware of all external and internal sensory events-very importantly, including emotional feeling, mental images, and verbal self-talk.

As an aid to this continuous, detailed observation, the meditator formally “notes” these sensory states with a simple sub-vocal label (e.g., “feel,” “image,” “talk,” etc.). In doing so, s/he also “embraces” all of them lovingly and equally with deep equanimity-that is, with complete acceptance and non-reactivity.

This state of equanimity arises very naturally as a result of applying concentration and includes, very importantly, deep body-mind relaxation. As such, it is intrinsically comforting and satisfying and, for people who are addicted, it often gives rise to the dramatic insight that what they have been compulsively seeking through external addictive objects is actually abundantly available from within.

Through this highly focused and non-reactive observational process, internal states that were previously experienced as being vaguely global, static and overpowering are clearly re-perceived as nothing other than an impersonal and impermanent flow of subtle mental events. Shinzen Young, who is a master teacher of Basic Mindfulness, sometimes refers to this highly empowering process of fine-grained perception as a “divide and conquer” strategy.

In the traditional practice of mindfulness, this simple process of systematically bringing clear, highly discriminating awareness and equanimity to internal sensory states that have been previously out of awareness has been found to be powerfully “purifying.” That is, it gradually-or sometimes quite suddenly and dramatically-reduces or eliminates completely the potential of these internal states to activate automatic unskillful reactions.

This application of Basic Mindfulness, then, provides a powerful means of recovery from all forms of addiction. Interestingly in this regard, it effectively utilizes pure awareness as a “higher power” instead of relying on ego-based “will power,” which has repeatedly proven to be highly ineffective in achieving lasting recovery.

Noah Levine, author of the book, Dharma Punx, is an outstanding exemplar of someone who has made a highly impressive recovery from severe drug addiction through the intensive practice of mindfulness. For more in-depth information and guidance in applying mindfulness to recovery from addiction, please visit my blog, “Wise Ways to Happiness.”

Responsible Gaming and Addiction

Gaming is one of those fun activities that most Ugandans find appealing. This is especially true for online gaming and online casinos. The beauty is that gaming online is safe because the regulation bit has been taken care of the National Gaming Board Uganda which is a body corporate that was established to ensure responsible gaming in Uganda.

Despite the regulation that has been put in place, it is still your responsibility as a player to ensure that you play the right way and avoid any gambling issues that may arise. Many games have gotten addicted because they probably were not advised as to how best to play. Many have found themselves borrowing money to facilitate their gaming and losing jobs all because they do not exercise any form of restraint. The truth of the matter is that for you to reap anything out of gaming, you need to be extremely disciplined.

The commonest symptom of gambling is the inability to stop irrespective of how much money has been lost. Addicts are the gamers that you will find playing day or night and who often resort to pleading tactics when told to stop. They keep requesting for more time or one more game. Addiction is mostly intensified or fuelled by the use of substances like alcohol and drugs since these remove any inhibitions that one might have.

How to avoid the addiction – The Four Pointers

  1. Have a pre-set budget: Creating a budget will give you a discipline that you need while gaming. Given that people earn different incomes, it’s essential that you do not base your budget on that of others but rather create one that fits perfectly into your income. Remember that gaming money should not take priority over bills like rent, food and tuition. It should be taken from your supplementary budget after other essential expenses have been removed. Remember to stick to your budget and not divert from it irrespective of whether you are winning or losing. If you need to reinvest, rather invest with your winnings than with money that is not budgeted for.
  2. Do not accumulate unnecessary debts: Borrowing is not a good decision when it comes to gaming. Not only will it create unnecessary anxiety but will also put a lot of strain on your finances. Remember that gaming is not a necessity so if you have no money, you would rather postpone it than enter into debts.
  3. Follow a strict set of rules: Setting your personal rules will help you have a discipline when playing. Set a time frame within which to play so as to leave room for other activities. Also essential is that you do not raise the stakes when you lose. Count all losses as such as opposed to them being a ticket for further playing. It is also essential that you follow the rules that you have set and not deviate from them.
  4. Never rely on your luck: Luck is just odds and this might not guarantee a good gaming experience for you. It is important that you understand that at certain times you will win while other times you will lose. At some point you will hit a jackpot but this does not mean that you should continue playing thinking that it is your night. It is important that you have fun while playing and not take the game too seriously. So play for playing sake and have fun while at it.

The above are just a few pointers of how to avoid gambling. However, in the event that you find yourself an addict, there is still hope for you. You might need some professional help along the way and might even need to close your accounts for a while until you get things under control.

The 12 Steps To Recovery From Sex Addiction

Recovering from a sex addiction requires adhering to a 12 step program. Such programs have become synonymous with people’s efforts to change their lives and behaviors, and have been applied to everything including over-eating, sex, compulsive gambling, and drug addiction.

The original 12 step program was published by Alcoholics Anonymous in the late 1930s to treat addiction to alcohol. Since then, it has been adapted and directed towards other forms of addiction and compulsive behaviors and has been recognized by the American Psychological Foundation. Small details within each 12 step program change depending on what’s being treated, but all follow the same template. While there is debate on what defines addiction, many agree that the brain becomes dependent on chemicals either imbibed (alcohol) or produced naturally through a behavior, such as sex or gambling.

The 12 Steps:

Step one is the sex addict admitting they have no power over their sex addiction and that their lives have gotten out of control. This step essentially defines a sex addiction, a situation where a person no longer can control their sexual behavior despite it causing them problems. This may sound facetious, but if a sex addict could control their behavior, they would not be an addict. Admitting powerlessness also opens the door to getting outside help. A person with a broken leg does not try to mend it on their own, they call a doctor because they do not have the skills to heal themselves. It is no different with a sex addiction.

Step two is acknowledging there is a “higher power” that can help the addict with their addiction. This and the next step may be two of the least understood, as “higher power” generally refers to God. While many going through the 12 step program turn to the Christian faith, anything can serve as the higher power. A person can look to the sun, a favorite object, anything they can mentally equate with a power above themselves. Some neurologists have said the human brain is hardwired towards religion, and because of this it can be used as a powerful tool in influencing behavior.

A higher power plays the role of a neutral yet supportive third part in the sex addict’s life. It is not the addicts themselves, nor is it their therapist, nor is it a loved one the addict may have wronged or someone who will judge them.

The third step is giving themselves over to that higher power, as they understand it. Many sex addicts begin reading the Bible and attending religious services of their faith. Others will take up a different spiritual text as their understand of their higher power. The book or the faith or belief is not important here, what is important is that the reliance on self get turned over to a reliance on a higher power. Most religions have set guidelines on sexual conduct, as well as other aspects of life, and make for a ready made code of conduct a person can adhere to, at least until their lives are under their control once more.

Step four is where the sex addict gets to the “nitty gritty” of their problem and comes to see what it looks like from the outside by completing a “moral inventory” of themselves. This inventory documents their life and how and when their sexual habits, failings, and other common behaviors began in an effort to see the big picture and have an accurate understanding of what it is. Typically, a deadline is put on this step, as many addicts tend to get hung up on it, either because they find it difficult to examine themselves this way, or feel the need to be too thorough.

The fifth step involves taking that inventory and showing it to someone else, either a spouse, sponsor, clergy or trusted confidant, or even another sex addict further along in their treatment. This is done for a number of reasons. If a sex addict can share this, it means they are comfortable with it to a degree and will be able to open up further because seeing the behavior inventory may not be enough to let the sex addict truly see their problem or recognize patterns in their behavior. When it comes to the familiar, an addict sees what they intend rather than what really is. It’s the same as when an athlete needs a coach to check their stance or swing or attitude for their sport. So the sex addict needs another pair of eyes on their moral inventory to catch things and gain feedback from a different perspective.

Steps six and seven of the original Alcoholics Anonymous version are asking the higher power or God to remove the addict’s defects and to forgive them. Other, more secular minded versions describe these steps as similar transition periods. The sex addict goes from identifying the problem to recognizing that they, themselves, are now past that stage and can now expend energy enacting change. The addict is taught to see that the mistakes have been made cannot be unmade, and wishing to change the past is a waste of energy. While it’s not a “clear slate,” it is a shift of focus onto the present, which can be affected by the sex addict.

Step eight, while at first may seem like a look back, is actually for the addict to compile a list of people their sex addiction has harmed. This may be family they’ve neglected, spouses cheated on, and in extreme cases, victims of their sexual abuse. This step is sometimes broken down into smaller segments, identifying the types of relationships harmed by the sex addiction. In the case of deceased loved ones or people the addict cannot have contact with, this step serves as an emotional release by further letting the addict see the extent of the damage their behavior has caused.

The ninth step is an extension of the eighth, and involves making amends with the people identified in that step, when possible. It could be something as simple as a verbal apology, and may not be something that can be accomplished in a moment, a day, or even months. This step is distinctive to the individuals involved, and not completely possible in all cases.

Step 10 is continuing the list from step five, and admitting when a mistake has been made. This can expand beyond sexual behavior and include any kind of non-desirable actions or emotions. Negative feelings are what led the sex addict to compulsively seek the numbing behavior to start with. And being able to identify those trouble spots and handle them in a way that doesn’t feed a new addiction cycle is key. Sex addiction often comes with other forms of addiction, or can spin off into those other forms if the root cause is not being monitored.

Prayer and meditation are Step 11 in the program. Many call prayer and meditation one and the same, but whichever route the sex addict chooses, they should set aside time each day for quiet reflection. A daily pause is used as an anchor to keep the complexities of the addict’s outside world from becoming overwhelming. This step lets the sex addict remind themselves of their progress and the tools they have to fight their compulsions.

The final step is working with other sex addicts, or passing on some of the knowledge the addict has gained. The selfless side of this is ensures a pool of experienced teachers well versed in the subject matter who can perpetuate the program. The benefit to the addict doing the teaching is the same as to teacher; the one imparting the wisdom in turn learns more about what they’ve come to know. Having to articulate to another person what one has learned makes a person think about benefits in ways they hadn’t before, and leads to greater understanding.

Those are the basic 12 steps found in addiction recovery programs. Many are closely related, but together they show a progression. It should be noted this programs not a “do these 12 things and you’re cured” prescription, but at the higher levels are a lifelong set of behaviors. They may play a less active role in the recovering sex addict’s life as time goes on, but the inventory, meditation, and teaching tend to be in the background for a long time.

Overcome Weed Addiction With These Three Tips

To overcome any addiction you need a plan, a strategy that will allow you to deal with all the problems and cravings that will challenge you along the way. Without a proper plan most people succumb to their addiction once more and continue their habit making it even harder to quit the second time with the feeling of failure that comes with a failed attempt. To overcome weed addiction you must understand, plan and act to quit your habit for good!

Understand Your Addiction

If you do not understand your addiction in depth you will never learn to overcome it. Since marijuana has no chemicals that addict you like cigarettes have nicotine it means that smoking weed is a psychological addiction where you are addicted to getting the high, you want it and the cravings are a deep seated want not a physical need. This is just like alcohol addiction or a gambling addiction where the action becomes something you keep going back to again and again until it starts to take over your life. This is the end result though, the important thing is to understand the root cause and the triggers associated with your drug abuse. By understanding the root cause, why you started to smoke and why you continued you get beyond the simple “I like to get high” excuse, you also need to know what triggers your cravings, there are often events in your life that make you want to go have a smoke, isolating these incidents and knowing what causes them allow you a depth of knowledge you need to combat your addiction.

Have A Plan

Once you develop a good knowledge of your addiction you need to have a plan. You need to know what you need to do when a trigger event happens and how you can stop yourself giving in to the cravings, there may be many ways to do this but you must make this plan and stick to it whenever you are triggered. Only once you can avoid giving into cravings can you focus on overcoming your addiction fully.

Act On Your Knowledge

Only by acting on this knowledge and having a plan for countering triggers can you work to solve the root cause of your addiction, the seed of all your cravings and need for the drug will always be there luring you back unless you find some solution or peace with yourself that can allow you to truly be free.

While these tips are only a simple overview on how to overcome weed addiction they can still provide a structure for fighting back against the controlling forces of addiction that can dominate your life and lead it to ruin.

Are You Suffering From Addiction?

Many researchers believe that addiction is a behavior that can be controlled to some extent and also a brain disease. And since some testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) found that all addictions tend to cause nearly the same reactions inside the brain, there could be one type of control model for addiction health-related issues.

Others express the opinion that some of us have an addictive personality and therefore are more likely to have problems than others.

In other words, just as there is one disorder or disease labeled asthma, there would be one for addiction, covering all addictions; gambling, smoking, overeating, drugs, etc. Then one main treatment strategy or plan could be used to treat all addictions.

How addiction works in a nutshell is like this. The brain, the center of the body’s nervous system, handles addiction by increasing dopamine levels in response to increased reactions from behaviors, also referred to as compulsions, like gambling or over eating, and / or in response to increased repeated episodes of substance abuse, like from cocaine or alcohol.

And this addiction affects the three functioning processes of the nervous system; sensing, perceiving and reacting. How? Let’s take a quick peak…

Dopamine, the chemical transmitter to the “pleasure center,” the place where survival instincts like eating and reproduction focus in the brain, activates cells individually or energizes them. Each energized cell in turn energizes another cell, and so on down the line, resulting in a spontaneous process of ecstasy or feelings of elation.

The problem is the brain doesn’t realize what it is that is causing the ecstasy reaction. So when this flutter of activity increases the creation of dopamine for the negative behaviors and substances like drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., it neglects the natural survival instinct reaction mechanisms, replacing them with the ecstasy instead.

Depending upon the addiction, nervous system functions are altered. So sensing, perceiving and reacting functions of individuals are impeded. For example, alcohol is a depressant and slows down all of these functions. So a drunk driver facing an immediate collision will in all likelihood react slower than a healthy, alert driver.

And whether or not the addictive substances are inhaled, going into the lung system; or injected, traveling via the blood system; or swallowed, entering the digestive system, also affects different bodily reactions, responses and overall health.

One long-term effect is an increased tolerance level with dopamine reaching out into other brain areas that cloud judgment and behavioral considerations and choices. And ultimately depression results, even amidst opposing or negative stimuli, like the negative effects of narcotics on behaviors and on the body / mind and like trying to withdrawal or discontinue use.

Other long-term effects can include changing of the brain’s shape and possible permanent brain damage, depending upon the addiction and length of compulsive activity. And other health problems like cancer from cigarette smoking can result.

Addiction summed up is: compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.

I’ve Been In And Out Of Addiction Rehab – Now What?

If you have been diagnosed as addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling and have been admitted to an addiction recovery clinic, you are given utmost support to recover from your addiction. The staffs of the rehab centre, as well as your family and friends, are also there to help you get through the addiction treatment process. Now that you have finished your detoxification and addiction treatment, what’s next?

What lies ahead of you? If you are serious about living life anew, you should totally put your addiction to past. You should avoid getting tempted to your addiction again. Don’t get into drugs, alcohol and gambling. The temptation can be strong but you can surely battle it out. These after-treatment pointers will help you out:

o Be committed to change. Unless you personally commits to recovering from addiction, you will go back to your old habits again and again. So tell yourself, that you are finally quitting and there is no way that you are getting back to it.

o Attend an after-treatment therapy. Some addiction recovery clinics offer after-rehab treatments. This is their way of helping the users face life with bright hopes. Sometimes your own experience can serve as inspiration to others who are trying to recover from their own addictions as well. So spend some time sharing your experience at the rehab centre.

o Treasure your health. You should understand that maintaining a healthy body is a prerequisite of happy living. When you start to become conscious of your health, avoiding your addiction – drug, alcohol and gambling – will come naturally. Also start prioritising healthy eating habits. When you eat healthily, your body functions well and you will feel content and happy. No need for drugs, alcohol or gambling to keep your well being high.

o Continue detoxifying. The best way to detoxify the body from all harmful chemicals is to drink plenty of water. It is also believed that water contributes in calming a person’s mood.

o When the craving for alcohol, drugs or gambling haunts you, divert your attention to something else. Try exercising or going out with friends (no drinking alcohol involved).

o Maintain a strong spiritual life. The spiritual aspect of a person is also taken cared of at most addiction rehab centres.

Staying away from your old addiction is easy if you are serious about it. The support which your family and friends give you plays an important role as well.

Addiction, The Silent Killer

The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Anyone who has struggled to overcome an addiction or has tried to help someone else to do so understands why.

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.

Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

The word addiction is used in several different ways. One definition describes physical addiction. This is a biological state in which the body adapts to the presence of a drug so that drug no longer has the same effect, otherwise known as a tolerance. Another form of physical addiction is the phenomenon of overreaction by the brain to drugs (or to cues associated with the drugs). An alcoholic walking into a bar, for instance, will feel an extra pull to have a drink because of these cues.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful.

Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

However, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior.

Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.

When referring to any kind of addiction, it is important to recognize that its cause is not simply a search for pleasure and that addiction has nothing to do with one’s morality or strength of character.

Experts debate whether addiction is a “disease” or a true mental illness, whether drug dependence and addiction mean the same thing, and many other aspects of addiction. Such debates are not likely to be resolved soon.

The Dangers Of Gambling Abuse And Addiction

So, how do you know if you or someone you love have a gambling problem?

First of all it’s important to note that compulsive gambling is a psychological condition that makes people unable to control their desire to gamble. Many crave the feeling they have when they gamble and seek this experience on a daily basis, no matter whether they’re on a winning or losing streak.

Compulsive gamblers may start betting small amounts, but sooner or later start to wager higher bets in order to get the same feelings of excitement they had when they first started playing. Compulsive gamblers often feel agitated and restless if they are unable to gamble and can feel a strong desire to gamble when other aspects of their lives are weighing them down. Compulsive gamblers may also believe that gambling is the only way to pay off debts and keep believing that it’s only a matter of time before they hit the elusive jackpot. Some compulsive gamblers may find themselves lying to friends and families and in some cases stealing money or goods to pay for their gambling habit.

Not all compulsive gamblers will exhibit each of these qualities, but if you recognise just a few of these in yourself or someone close to you then it could be time to seek help.

Compulsive gambling is treatable and there are a number of wonderful organisations set up to deal specifically with this problem.

Gamblers Anonymous is probably the most well-known and widespread and is based on a 12-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Members meet on a regular basis to share experiences and listen to each others stories and you will find that there are literally hundreds of Gamblers Anonymous groups situated all over the world. Go to the Gamblers Anonymous website for more information (www.gamblersanonymous.com) or check your local newspaper.

Gam-Anon is another well-respected self-help organization whose motto is “serenity, courage, wisdom. “Their website provides a solid resource into the issues surrounding compulsive gambling and meetings are held regularly. (www.gam-anon.org).

The National Council on Problem Gambling is a government sponsored organization with branches across the USA. The website also has a lot of information which you may find useful. (www.ncpgambling.org).

Other countries will also have their own groups and organizations which may be publicly or privately run. Again check your local newspaper or phone book for more information.

Remember, compulsive gambling is a mental health issue for which there is help and support. If you feel that gambling is dominating your life in a way that is harmful or unhealthy, then perhaps its time to talk to someone about it.