Coffee and cigarettes, TV and porn: what do they have in common? They’re all addictive. There are different kinds of addictions. Physical addiction refers to substances that actually cause your body to become dependent on them. Narcotic drugs fall into this category; so do legal drugs like cigarettes, alcohol, and even caffeine. Behavioral addictions, on the other hand, are things that people do compulsively and that can be just as difficult to stop. These can include TV, web surfing, using pornography, shopping, and gambling. They can also include using drugs that aren’t physically addictive, like LSD or mushrooms. The therapist Judith Sewell Wright coined the term “soft addictions” to describe behavioral addictions that most people think of as “not a big deal” but that can be harmful over time.
With more research, though, it appears that many addictions once thought to be “soft” or behavioral addictions actually stimulate the same parts of the brain that physical addictions target—a recent study showed this to be true for overeating, for example. Just a generation ago, cigarettes were thought to be a soft addiction. Today we know that cigarettes and nicotine addiction are definitely physical, and that cigarette addiction causes an enormous toll in terms of deaths, illnesses, lost work days, and health care costs. Tobacco addiction, once considered harmless, is known to cause lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, diabetes, and many other extremely serious physical illnesses. We also know that soft addictions feed into physical ones: think of people who smoke when they drink coffee or alcohol, or overeat when they watch TV.
If you’re a smoker and you want to quit smoking, understanding how your habits and soft addictions feed into your smoking habit is an important part of the recovery process. It can help you change your lifestyle and your habits so that the triggers that make you crave a cigarette aren’t constantly going off. At Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches, you’ll beat your nicotine addiction with a twelve-step program and lifestyle adjustments that teach you how to restructure your life to quit cigarettes. Smokers and tobacco addicts from New York (NY), New Jersey (NJ), Washington, DC, Philadelphia (PA), Baltimore (MD), Florida (FL), New England, and all over the United States come to Archstone Recovery in beautiful Lantana, Florida, for residential and outpatient smoking cessation programs that really work. If you’re ready to quit smoking, get help from the professionals and contact Archstone Recovery today.