Addiction, whether to gambling, alcohol, drugs, shopping, etc., can be detrimental to someone’s well-being. Left unchecked, it can wreak havoc with a person’s life, affecting their health, finances, academics and family.
But what about healthy addictions? Are they ok or can you take them too far? Can a healthy addiction become just as dangerous as a negative one?
The term “healthy addiction” appears to be a contradiction but it’s really not. If people can get addicted to negative habits, it stands to reason that they can also get hooked on positive ones. For instance, your teen son might be addicted to working out every day and your daughter might insist on only eating healthy food. Others may be keen on setting and achieving goals while some can’t do without socializing with their friends. These behaviors in moderation are considered healthy and are even encouraged.
The key difference between positive healthy addictions and their negative cousins is that the former enhance life. Healthy addictions can increase an individual’s confidence, creativity and happiness.
Healthy Addictions Gone Bad
However, it is possible to go overboard. Like anything else, healthy habits taken to the extreme can end up having a disastrous effect on your life and health. Once you lose complete control over a practice or habit- regardless of how healthy it appears to be- it has the potential to be detrimental.
Take healthy eating, for example. What might have started out as a desire to gain more control over an individual’s eating habits can rapidly spiral out of control. Your teen may end up obsessing over every calorie that goes into her mouth and may develop an unhealthy relationship with food or even a full-blown eating disorder. Likewise, it is possible to develop an unhealthy obsession with exercise leading to excessive weight loss, exhaustion and eventual body breakdown.
Parents should be particularly vigilant of teens who have just completed a treatment program at a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center – more so if they are recovering from an addiction. Oftentimes, these teens are directed to channel their energy into healthier and more productive pursuits such as working out, cooking, artistry, eating healthy and so on. As such, they are susceptible to getting hooked on other (albeit healthy) behaviors or substances to get the same rush their initial addiction provided.
Avoid These Pitfalls
Healthy habits are not harmful as long as your teen keeps them in check. If you are the parent of a teen who is struggling with addiction or one who has just come home from a therapeutic program, don’t hesitate to enroll in an educational course to learn the skills you need to cope.
For more information on such courses, contact the Parent Learning Center today.