Dependent behavior: an exit point

Addiction is an over-reliance on something that ceases to nourish our life and begins to destroy it. Whether it’s chemicals, food, an activity, a relationship, etc. But how does addiction arise and how can we overcome it?

The birth of addictive behavior occurs with the birth of a child. It is formed in the period up to a year old and directly depends on how well the mother took care of her child, how clearly guessed his needs and gave him what was vital. At the heart of any addiction is always an object relationship. That is, the I-it relationship. In psychoanalysis, this is the so-called “oral” stage, when a small child learns the world around him through his mouth. He forms a relationship with the breastfeeding as an object that provides for his life. And the more disturbances there are in the “baby-mother-breast” relationship, the greater the risk of addictive vulnerability (addiction) later in the adult.

They can be divided into three groups – according to the types of basic needs the child needs in the first year of life. If the needs are not systematically met, the child develops the basic anxiety which will subsequently push him/her to smoking, using alcohol, drugs, overeating, addiction to games, work or shopaholism, “getting stuck” in relationships, etc.

Basic needs of the child in the first year of life and disorders in their satisfaction:

1. Settling. It is important to the baby that the mother’s breast “appears” systematically and regularly. It is the regular, timely appearance of the breast as a nourishing and most important object for the baby’s life that gives him/her the feeling of comfort. That is – it forms the experience that “the environment responds to my needs and I am at peace with it”. If the feeding and “communicating with the breast” setting is systematically violated – the mother feeds the baby not in time, not as much as he needs (underfeeding or overfeeding), i.e. is not sensitive to the child’s personal rhythms, he begins to experience constant anxiety for his survival.

2. Contact. The child needs physical closeness, a touch, a caress, a cuddle. If the child feels that he/she is not loved or not wanted to be touched, he/she begins to experience anxiety that he/she is rejected. Such a child may become dependent on relationships in the future.

3. Power and control. The child needs a clear structure, rules, and predictability in the environment. If the child senses chaos in his life, that everything is changing and unstable, he begins to experience anxiety about his life. Such a child may become dependent on control and order in the future.

▫️ How Do You Overcome Addiction?

It is important to understand that addiction is not a weakness of character, but a disease that can be treated. However, in order to overcome an addiction, you must understand its causes and work on them. It is very difficult to cope with addiction on your own, so you need to see a specialist.

There are several methods of treating addiction:

1. Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps to understand the causes of addiction and learn to cope with it. There are different approaches to psychotherapy – individual, group, family.

2. medication treatment. Medications can help to cope with the withdrawal syndrome and reduce the desire to use the substance.

3. Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation centers offer a comprehensive treatment program that includes psychotherapy, medication, exercise, diet, etc.

4. Self-help. There are many self-help programs that help people cope with addiction. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Addiction is an illness that requires treatment. It is important to understand that addiction is not a weakness of character, but a disease that can be treated. It is necessary to see a specialist and work on the causes of the addiction. This is the only way to reach the point of recovery from addictive behavior.

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