emotional addiction

7 Emotional Addictions that Often Precede Chemical Addictions

One in seven people in the United States will suffer from some type of drug addiction in their lives. There are many circumstances that can lead to addiction, but none are more powerful than human emotions.

If you are stuck in a pattern of emotional addiction, this can often lead to chemical addiction. There is an undeniable connection between the two.

Read on for our top 7 emotional addictions that can precede chemical addictions.

1. Fear

Fear is an emotional addiction that can lead to a downward spiral. Someone who is prone to this negative emotion might be unable to think rationally. Instead, they might turn to illicit substances in order to put off the inevitable.

For example, someone might be struggling with fear about growing up or just the future in general. Trying to escape this fear can be incredibly difficult to do on their own, if not impossible.

Fear is not something that gives way to a productive life. In fact, it’s an emotional pain addiction that could lead a person to begin using drugs as a means of escaping negative thought patterns. Unfortunately, this won’t do anything to help and often leads to a chemical addiction that can be much harder to shake. 

2. Anger

Anger is another major emotional addiction that can often lead to substance abuse. Someone who is overcome with constant anger will look for anything to make them feel more at ease with their life. While there are healthy ways to overcome this emotional pain addiction, like anger management courses, not everyone chooses the best means to cope.

Anger is an emotional addiction that can cause major issues in a person’s life. Their personal and professional relationships often suffer. It can also have devastating effects on their mental health.

If someone who is prone to anger finds themselves unable to deal with how they’re feeling, they might turn to drugs to mellow out. Many drugs offer a sense of euphoria and a detachment from reality, which can be a welcome escape. Because of this, they might quickly develop a chemical addiction as a result.

3. Grief

Grief is an emotional pain addiction that often gives way to reckless behavior. If someone is faced with an extreme loss, they might find it difficult to care about anything else. This leaves them especially vulnerable to turning to drugs as a means of feeling better.

Grief can devastate a person’s life. Depending on the severity of the loss, it can leave a huge void in their life, leaving them feeling alone and indifferent to the consequences of their actions. Once a person turns to drugs to try and fill this void, it can quickly develop into a chemical addiction.

Once a person begins using drugs to feel better about their grief, they can soon grow to depend on their substance of choice in order to feel normal. This can lead to a chemical addiction that can quickly get out of control.

4. Depression

Depression is a common emotional addiction that many people struggle with. In fact, it’s the most common mental illness in the United States.

Depression is similar to grief because it leads a person to behave recklessly. Someone who doesn’t care about anything is especially vulnerable to developing a substance addiction in order to cope with their feelings.

Unfortunately, most people who struggle with depression don’t seek professional help to deal with their illness. Instead, it becomes an emotional pain addiction that can suck the joy out of their everyday lives.

In other scenarios, people who are depressed do seek out help, but they are ultimately unable to get their lives back. Eventually, they turn to drugs in order to finally feel better.

Once someone who is depressed begins using drugs, this can quickly become a raging chemical addiction. Many drugs also interfere with the brain’s chemical balances and endorphins, leading the addict unable to feel happy without their preferred drug. This leads them to a dual diagnosis of emotional pain addiction being remedied by chemical addiction.

5. Desire

Not all emotional addictions come from feelings associated with sadness. In fact, there are a few somewhat positive emotions that can leave a person susceptible to drug addiction.

One of these is desire.  Basically, someone who is always desiring something more can very quickly turn to drugs in order to chase a high that can make them feel even more alive. Although their curiosity can be innocent at first, it can quickly lead to problems down the line.

Desire is an emotional addiction that can lead someone to always want something new in their life. While some people channel it in positive ways, such as travel, others might look for drugs in order to experiment.

If a person is prone to desire, they are always wanting more in their life. While this can sometimes be a good thing, it also leads many of them to try different drugs. If they find one that thrills them, they can quickly become chemically addicted to that substance. 

6. Impulsiveness

Impulsiveness isn’t merely a personality trait. It’s an active emotional addiction that can lead a person to try new things on a whim. Sometimes the results are positive, but not always.

If a person addicted to impulsiveness is faced with an opportunity to try drugs, it’s highly unlikely that they will refuse. Their impulses will lead them to say yes, regardless of the possible consequences. Once they try the drugs, however, they can quickly become chemically addicted.

7. Pleasure

Pleasure is an emotional addiction that can lead a person to recklessly pursue it. This can lead to a variety of addictions, such as sex and gambling, but also leads to drug addiction as well.

Someone who is addicted to pleasure is always looking for new ways to feel good. In the beginning, that’s what leads most people to try drugs for the first time. However, once they’ve used the drugs, they can become chemically addicted almost instantly.

Seek Help Today for Emotional Addiction

Humans are faced with a variety of emotions that can lead to problems down the line. It’s natural to develop an emotional addiction, but it’s extremely important to find other ways to cope.

If you or a loved one has a substance addiction, recovery is possible. Start the process today in order to regain control of your life and your emotions.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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