While the nature of every type of addiction from substance abuse to a shopping addiction can be quite different, when someone fears they may be addicted to anything, they wonder, “How do I know if this is a problem?” It can be particularly tricky to recognize addiction when it’s a dependence on something humans cannot live fully without. Alcoholics can give up alcohol entirely. Drug addicts can give up drugs entirely. But what about food addicts? They can’t relinquish that from their lives completely. They have to interact with it to survive, which makes it difficult to sometimes identify an addiction there. The same could be said of a sex addiction. Sex is an integral part of a healthy intimate relationship, so it’s still something a sex addict will interact with. Where is the line drawn? It can be hard to know.
Much of identifying addiction and creating a healthy relationship with anything, whether that’s going to mean quitting it entirely or simply enjoying it in moderation, is first knowing the signs that the relationship has become unhealthy. To get expert input on this topic, we spoke to licensed clinical mental health counselor, Demetrius Cofield, pictured below. He went into detail about how to recognize when a relationship with something has become addictive.
It begins with your thoughts
“If someone has reason to question if they are addicted to something, they more than likely are or they are on their way to being addicted,” he says. “Common signs are obsessive thoughts about the vice. If it is something that you plan your day around or you are constantly thinking about when you are doing other things, that is a major sign.”