Five Surprising Addictions

I’m pleased to host author and counselor Betsy Duffey who guest blogs today about some surprising addictions you your character may have.

I had the honor of reviewing The Shepherd’s Song which is a set of intertwined storied surrounding Psalm 23. It has the feel of a Dan Walsh or Mitch Albom story so definitely pick it up if you like that genre or just need a sweet, inspiring pick me up.

I’m giving away one hard cover copy of this novel! Leave a comment on this post to be eligible. Winner drawn on Sunday, May 3rd. 

Welcome Betsy!
When we think of addictions, alcoholism or drug use come to mind first. As the understanding of addiction increases we see that behaviors can be addictive. A good simple definition of addiction is compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Addiction to a certain behavior interferes with our work, relationships or health. The following behaviors are common behavioral addictions presented with some signs that your character would exhibit.
The Internet  
Not everyone who uses the internet will become addicted even when they use it excessively. Use of the internet can be unhealthy if it replaces real life interaction and causes dysfunction in relationships, health or work. Your character might be addicted to the internet if:

They are on line more than 30 hours a week.
They are irritable and anxious if they lose access to the internet.
They feel more normal online than in real life.
They try to control their time online but can’t.
Video Games
If playing video games becomes more important than family, friends, work, or school it might be an addiction. Your character might be addicted to gaming if:

They play for increasing amounts of time.
They use gaming to escape from real-life problems.
They lie to friends and family to conceal gaming.
They give up other pleasurable activities to play games.       
Love
Love addiction can seem to be about loving but is more about the need for the person to be in a relationship. Your character might be addicted to love if:

They constantly seek out new love relationships.
They won’t let go, obsessing or stalking.
They will change who they are to be in a relationship.
They will tolerate abuse to stay in a relationship.
Negativity
Brains react more strongly to negative thoughts than positive ones. Some people become addicted to the stimulation of negative thoughts. Your character might be addicted to negativity if:
They see the glass half empty.
They are never satisfied.
They dwell on negative past experiences.
They like to complain but don’t like to take action to fix problems.
Exercise
It’s hard to see addiction when we look at a behavior that is usually positive, like exercising. But even a positive thing taken to extremes can become an addiction. Your character might be addicted to exercise if:
They exercise beyond their physical needs.
They become anxious or guilty when they can’t exercise.
They put their bodies at risk exercising when injured.
They never feel satisfied with the amount of exercise.
If your character is exhibiting symptoms of behavioral addiction there is hope. Recognizing the problem is the first step. Finding help through counseling or a support group is the second.

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Betsy Duffey is a licensed counselor and also a writer. She grew up in a writing family and with her sister, Laurie Myers, began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars.  Betsy and Laurie went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults, The Shepherd’s Song, is being released in paperback  April 2015. You can connect with Laurie and Betsy on their monthly newsletter where they send out updates and their popular free devotional books. Contact them at WritingSisters.com  and find them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

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