http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=642Fitango EducationHealth TopicsKnowing when youre addicted
1OverviewThe term "rock bottom" is often used to describethe point at which a person with an addiction isforced to acknowl...
2OverviewWende Wood points out that "rock bottom" is asubjective term. For one person, losing everythingmay mean losing a ...
3OverviewSam Waldner explains that often the person withthe addiction needs to start feeling the pain fromthe consequences...
4OverviewWaldner emphasizes that typically the personneeds to hear a repeated message (with specificobservations) from fam...
5Crossing the addiction lineMany of us take part in activities that are oftenassociated with addictive orcompulsive behavi...
6Crossing the addiction lineAddictions come in many forms. Street drugs,prescription medications, alcohol, and inhalantsar...
7Crossing the addiction lineTo get a clearer idea of what addictions look likeand how they can be treated, we spoke to two...
8Crossing the addiction lineWood says that the hallmark ofaddictive behavior is that it interferes with apersons life - to...
9Crossing the addiction lineWaldner describes an addiction as a continuousinvolvement in a repeated behavior that createss...
10Crossing the addiction lineWaldner says the key characteristics of addictionare two-fold: a loss of control (ones behavi...
Knowing when you're addicted
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Knowing when you're addicted

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The term "rock bottom" is often used to describe the point at which a person with an addiction is forced to acknowledge that he or she has a problem - which can lead to their seeking help. But where is rock bottom? And how do people get there?


Wende Wood points out that "rock bottom" is a subjective term. For one person, losing everything may mean losing a marriage or their home, while for another becoming homeless is not yet the end. And what rock bottom looks like will naturally depend on what someone had as a starting point. Additionally, Wood explains that it is a common misconception that one needs to arrive at the so-called bottom before reaching for help - often various opportunities occur along the way where the person is open to receiving or asking for help.


Sam Waldner explains that often the person with the addiction needs to start feeling the pain from the consequences of their actions before he or she can start making changes. The process of feeling the pain is a lengthy one, as the pain often serves as a stimulus to start one's self-defense mechanisms. These protect and maintain one's self-esteem (through the denial that one is an addict), allowing one to rationalize and continue with the behavior. In many cases, the loss of, or prospect of losing, a relationship or something of similar value can often help the person to recognize that there is a problem. Legal charges or an arrest (e.g., for possession of illegal drugs or driving under the influence) can also contribute to this awareness.


Waldner emphasizes that typically the person needs to hear a repeated message (with specific observations) from family and friends that they are seeing a problem. While this information will likely not serve as an immediate stimulus to seek help, the repetition of the overall message can help to counter the "powerful and long-maintained" element of denial.

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Knowing when you're addicted

  1. 1. http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=642Fitango EducationHealth TopicsKnowing when youre addicted
  2. 2. 1OverviewThe term "rock bottom" is often used to describethe point at which a person with an addiction isforced to acknowledge that he or she has aproblem - which can lead to their seeking help. Butwhere is rock bottom? And how do people getthere?
  3. 3. 2OverviewWende Wood points out that "rock bottom" is asubjective term. For one person, losing everythingmay mean losing a marriage or their home, whilefor another becoming homeless is not yet the end.And what rock bottom looks like will naturallydepend on what someone had as a starting point.Additionally, Wood explains that it is a commonmisconception that one needs to arrive at the so-called bottom before reaching for help - oftenvarious opportunities occur along the way wherethe person is open
  4. 4. 3OverviewSam Waldner explains that often the person withthe addiction needs to start feeling the pain fromthe consequences of their actions before he or shecan start making changes. The process of feelingthe pain is a lengthy one, as the pain often servesas a stimulus to start ones self-defensemechanisms. These protect and maintain onesself-esteem (through the denial that one is anaddict), allowing one to rationalize and continuewith the behavior. In many cases, the loss of, orprospect of lo
  5. 5. 4OverviewWaldner emphasizes that typically the personneeds to hear a repeated message (with specificobservations) from family and friends that they areseeing a problem. While this information will likelynot serve as an immediate stimulus to seek help,the repetition of the overall message can help tocounter the "powerful and long-maintained"element of denial.
  6. 6. 5Crossing the addiction lineMany of us take part in activities that are oftenassociated with addictive orcompulsive behaviors - activities such as drinkingor gambling. But not all of us are addicted to them.What constitutes addictive behavior? When do wecross the line?
  7. 7. 6Crossing the addiction lineAddictions come in many forms. Street drugs,prescription medications, alcohol, and inhalantsare all common substances of abuse. Gambling,sex, and shopping are often associated withcompulsive or problem behavior.
  8. 8. 7Crossing the addiction lineTo get a clearer idea of what addictions look likeand how they can be treated, we spoke to twoexperts on the subject: Wende Wood of the Centrefor Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a keyaddiction and mental health teaching hospital inCanada, and Sam Waldner of Samuel WaldnerCounselling and Addiction Services, who is aprivate practitioner and a proponent of 12-stepprograms (of which Alcoholics Anonymous is afamous example).
  9. 9. 8Crossing the addiction lineWood says that the hallmark ofaddictive behavior is that it interferes with apersons life - to the point where all of their energyand attention is given to that pursuit. This, sheexplains, is because certain activities (such asdrinking or gambling) stimulate a "rewardpathway" in the brain. As a result, the brain wantsto continue with this activity, even in the face ofnegative consequences for the person involved.The desire for the "reward" becomes stronger thanthe impact of the
  10. 10. 9Crossing the addiction lineWaldner describes an addiction as a continuousinvolvement in a repeated behavior that createssome kind of negative consequence. This alsoapplies to a person who continues to pursue anactivity despite harmful results - for example, asmoker who does not quit despite knowing thehealth risks they face.
  11. 11. 10Crossing the addiction lineWaldner says the key characteristics of addictionare two-fold: a loss of control (ones behaviourbecomes unpredictable, for example continuing todrink despite having vowed to stop) and a strongsense of denial. Denial about having an addiction isa powerful factor in leading the person to continuewith his or her habit, as the belief is strong thatthere is no real problem and that next time theoutcome from the same behaviour will bedifferent. "Its almost as if the person experiencesa

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