Compulsive Behavior Therapy
Is a compulsive behavior affecting your relationships?
Do you feel like things are out of your control?
Are cravings for substances or behaviors controlling you?
Would you like help changing this behavior?
If you can’t control when you start or when you stop a behavior or using a substance, you have a problem called compulsion. Compulsion is a sign of a life out of balance. Fulfilling unstoppable cravings often becomes addictive. Addicts continue to abuse substances and overdo behaviors despite the negative consequences. When they try to stop, they experience the pain of withdrawal. People addicted to alcohol, drugs and caffeine become ill when they try to stop. Compulsive exercisers, overeaters, and those whose habits don’t involve chemical substances suffer from a different kind of withdrawal. They feel intense anxiety or irritability when they are deprived of their “medication.”
I have collected a long list of activities and substances other than alcohol and drugs that people can’t say “No” to. My clients include people who are unable to control their behavior towards food, cigarettes, caffeine, shopping, sex, gambling, exercising, working, watching soap operas, computer games, Internet sex, computer chat rooms, reading, collecting things, watching sports, shoplifting, gum chewing, licking lip balms, hair cutting, self cutting, masturbating, doing crafts, hobbies, and worrying. What do all these people have in common? They are unable to cope with intense stress, so they turn to these activities in an attempt to soothe themselves.
Intense stress triggers craving, although the roots of craving lie in the brain. When dopamine and serotonin, two important brain chemicals, become imbalanced, there is a complex chain reaction in the survival mechanisms in the brain. When dopamine rises, the brain sends a message, “I gotta have it.” Dopamine helps us focus and drives us toward a goal, while serotonin creates the feeling of completion and satisfaction when we get what we are after. When dopamine is high and serotonin is too low to create sensation of wellbeing, the person keeps experiencing the urge without ceasing. That is why addicts say, “One is never enough and a dozen is not too many.” The compulsive person keeps feeling the craving despite the discomfort and misery caused by overdoing.
It is clear that compulsive activities relieve anxiety in the craving brain. You may be one of those people who abuse pleasurable activities like spending, eating, gambling and escaping from worries by spending hours at the computer to avoid the pain of the problems of living. The substance or behavior soon seems to be a solution to all problems. Life problems become harder to cope with as stress accumulates year after year. Energy Psychology techniques like EFT will reduce the stress level and allow compulsive people to solve problems that appear to be unyielding. EFT can take away cravings in minutes and eliminate binges of all kinds.