Are you addicted?

These days it is possible to become addicted to anything. You might be thinking about common addictions such as alcohol, drugs and gambling but you can also develop an unhealthy habit around sugar, shopping, social media, computer games, pornography – the list goes on and on.

Addiction is defined as ‘the compulsive repetition of a habit/behaviour, regardless of negative consequences’.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine says, ‘Addiction is what happens in a person’s brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviour’.

I am not sure that I am addicted to the Internet and Facebook but I know how upset I become when my broadband connection fails or is weak. When it happened recently I got stressed and then angry. I also know that sometimes I start looking at social media sites for ‘5 minutes’ and then time passes and I feel guilty that I have got nothing done. Guilt, stress and anger are all symptoms of addiction.

Some of the developers of the apps and programs we us in everyday life are now concerned about how addictive they have become. These men (mainly) who are now in their 30s and early 40s are having children and are starting to worry about the impact of tech on the next generation.

There were some useful tips in The Guardian Magazine about how to stop tech from stealing your time:

  • Turn off notifications which are not from a real person, such as Twitter updates or news bulletins
  • The only easily accessible apps you should have are those with a clear endpoint such as National Rail, TfL, Maps or Notes
  • Do not have your phone or tablet in your bedroom. Use an external alarm clock
  • Create custom notifications for special people, so you don’t feel tempted to check your phone whenever it vibrates or chimes
  • Scramble your apps regularly by rearranging your screen, so you don’t click on time-sapping apps out of habit

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So, what might you be addicted to? What is stealing your money, health, time or attention? What one change could you make today that is going to make a difference?

If you need help to make a change contact me today.


Here in the UK, Cancer Research UK are encouraging people to give up alcohol for the month of January and raise money for the charity through sponsorship or by pledging the money saved by not drinking.  What a great thing to do after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year.


Drinking alcohol is not just linked to increasing your risk of cancer, it is also linked to a variety of diseases and injuries associated with accidents.  Although giving up alcohol for a month will not have a lasting positive effect on your health, it may break an existing habit and get you into a different way of enjoying yourself.


If you want to get started make a commitment to yourself and then tell a friend or even better tell a lot of friends.  That simple step will increase the probability of you sticking to your resolve.


 Once you have done that, think about the circumstances and contexts in which you usually drink alcohol.  What could you do differently?  What alternative drink could you enjoy?  If you have a drink of alcohol at home at a certain time of day, what else could you do at that time to break that habit?

Drink plenty of water.  It will let your conscious and unconscious mind know that you are not thirsty.  It will also help to flush through your kidneys and liver.


The deadline for signing up for Dryathalon is 6 January but if you have missed it you can still do this for yourself.  For more details see