Addiction: when X marks the spot
Proof that you can become addicted to pretty much anything has come from Scotland where a teenage boy is being treated for text-message and email addiction.
He spent £4,500 on texting in a year and had to resign from his job after sending over 8,000 emails in a month. The boy told the BBC that there was something comforting about receiving messages and an element of curiosity. 'When you look at your mobile and you've got a message you wonder who it could be.'
Stories like this make the press because the numbers are big. But you don't have to be sending as many texts or emails as this individual to have a problem. The same applies to drink or drugs or anything else.
'It's not about quantity, it's about how it makes you feel,' said Jim Pollard, editor of malehealth. 'If it once made you feel good but now you're not so sure, you may have a problem.'
Gambling, masturbation, porn, eBay, working-out, hamburgers, jelly beans, computers, the internet, shoes, gaming — you can become addicted to almost anything so how do you know if you are affected?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you feel preoccupied with X (Do you think about X when you are doing something else and look forward to it?)
- Do you feel you need more X each time to get the same level of enjoyment?
- Have you made efforts to control, cut back or stop X?
- Do you do X longer than originally intended?
- Have you put X before the more important things in life like your relationships, job, education or career?
- Have you lied to others about your involvement with X?
- Do you use X as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving, for example, feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression?
If you're answering yes to more than a couple of these, you should talk to someone. All the links you need can be found here at the Addiction Recovery Foundation website.
The Scottish teenager got help from counsellors at the Renfrewshire Council on Alcohol Trust in Paisley and now has his addiction under greater control.
Page created on October 17th, 2005
Page updated on June 11th, 2013