Yes, life is difficult. No matter who you are, few escape unscathed from life and it’s stress.
Not everyone handles stress well. You may think you do, when in fact, you really don’t. Many addictions are the result of one’s efforts to cope with anxiety and pain while hoping to find relief. Addictions are escalating and so is anxiety when fueled by compulsive behaviors. It becomes a continuous cycle. Consider alcohol, drugs, sex, work, food, money, exercise, gambling, and shopping addictions. Frankly, you can become addicted to just about anything in an effort to self-medicate. Not all addictions are chemical, (drug and alcohol) but can be what we call process addictions (gambling, sex, exercise, etc.) Sometimes addictions present together such as alcohol, nicotine and work, or drugs and sex, for example. We have learned that they need to be treated simultaneously, or the progress made with one addiction will be undermined by the continuance and destruction of another.
Growing up is the perfect time to learn coping skills as ideally, we have a safety net provided by out parents. They teach us and protect us. In a perfect world, they model how we are to deal with problems so that we learn to solve them wisely. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and not everyone has perfect parents. Often times, parents are doing all they can to cope and keep their heads above water. Perhaps they do not model good coping skills and we can learn their behavior, taking on their attitudes, temperament and sometimes even addictions.
Whether your timing is age appropriate or not, there is no better time than the present to learn to cope in a healthy way. If you have compulsive behaviors that are interfering with your everyday life and functioning as well as the wellbeing of yourself and those you love, you may have an addiction. If you have tried to stop and been unsuccessful, or have found yourself obsessing about the compulsive behavior, it is time to consider help.
Learning to establish healthy coping skills and boundaries can be life changing at any age as you learn to manage compulsive behaviors rather than them managing you.
As a therapist with special training in these areas (both Certified Sex Addictions Therapist and Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist) as well as other mental health concerns, I can help you learn coping skills that you can take with you into life. Treatment is confidential and individualized as we are all complex and different from each other.