Affective addiction: definition and examples

Affective addiction: definition and examples

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In English it sounds like "love addiction", Much cooler and more trendy than the term used in Italian: emotional dependence. In fact it is neither a cool nor trendy concept because this addiction is a problem for those who suffer from it and also for those who live with or attend those who suffer from it.

So far, as far as I know, affective dependence, due to insufficient experimental data, is not one of the mental disorders diagnosed in the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Like other disorders such as Internet addiction, pathological gambling, sex addiction, sports addiction, compulsive shopping, work addiction, is classified among the "New Addiction ", that is, among the new behavioral addictions. Beyond the scientific category in which it is placed, this addiction exists and creates big problems, let's see which ones and how to deal with them, not without the help of a specialist.

Affective dependence: definition

The fact that in English it sounds almost like a frivolous fashion, the love addiction it must be defined in a serious and conscious way, it is done based on the duration and frequency of the perceived suffering. Here is the official definition, it is “a maladaptive or problematic model of the love relationship leading to clinically significant deterioration or distress, as manifested by three (or more) of the following (occurring at all times over the same 12-month period). What are these criteria? Here are the main ones.

The existence of a withdrawal syndrome due to the absence of the loved one, characterized by significant suffering and a compulsive need for the other. The considerable amount of time spent on this relationship (in reality or in thought). The reduction of important social, professional or leisure activities. The persistent desire or presence of fruitless efforts to reduce or control one's relationship. The search for a relationship, despite the existence of problems created by it and theexistence of attachment difficulties, due to repeated exalted love affairs, without any period of lasting attachment or repeated painful love affairs, characterized by insecure attachment ".

Affective addiction: examples

If you are hypercritical you find yourself diagnosing yourself with an emotional dependency even if you are only very much in love. There is a big difference between the two conditions, let's try to tell it with some practical examples, so that anyone who falls in love doesn't have to find in a panic thinking of being a love addicted.

Let's see what happens when you fall prey to a "normal" romantic love. Our attention is focused on the object of love, the agenda and priorities are reorganized around it and we are more often in a state of euphoria.

Being in love also means having strong and often unmotivated mood swings, suffering from abnormal episodes of sweating and heart pounding. It is quite understandable that there is a high sexual desire and a certain sexual possessiveness, the presence of obsessive thoughts about the other and the persistent desire for emotional union. Lovers are constantly looking for gestures of affection, they behave stubbornly focused on maintaining the desired bond.

All this, if it occurs a "normal" level, measured, it is pure and simple falling in love, when instead these characteristics are transformed into rigid and pervasive attitudes, when desires become absolute necessities, then the boundary of falling in love is crossed and leads to the field of pathological affective dependence. If this is the case, the situation must be faced, because the couple bond comes to obscure one's own needs and desires, to chain us to the other, suffocating our individuality.

Affective dependence: symptoms

Let's see together the symptoms of emotional dependence trying not to get paranoid and forbid from taking a crush on someone for fear of relapsing. There love addiction leads us to a strong level of dependence on the partner and a continuous and obsessive desire for intimacy and passion. Obsessive means continuous and uncontrolled, in a pathological way.

More than in the intensity of the felt feeling, the dependence of measure in the actions of annihilation of the self. Let me explain, the most obvious symptoms concern from dependence on the other which, if pathological, leads us to an almost total cancellation of the self. We exist as subjects who love a certain person on whom all our actions and desires begin to depend. Here, if we feel in such a situation we are not only in love, we are addicted.

Returning to the English terms, we speak of "Love Passion" and of "Love addiction" and it should be noted that the former is a universal and necessary status for human beings that involves functional attachment to others. The second, on the other hand, addiction, is decidedly dysfunctional and is characterized by relationship models characterized by the persistent and assiduous search for closeness, despite the awareness of negative consequences of such behavior.

Affective addiction: natural remedies

Being a psychological problem not trivial, when seriously diagnosed, there is only one way to deal with it and provides the psychological treatment. With a specialist you become fully aware of the problem and begin to think about short and long term goals. The first consist in the resolution of daily suffering linked to behavioral dysfunctions.

The long-term goal, on the other hand, concerns theface early experiences of abandonment, physical and emotional neglect, mistreatment, abuse, etc. which generally underlie the belief that they are worthless and not worthy of being loved that characterize patients who suffer from Affective Dependence.

A well-structured therapy should help us return to being able to love in the right measure without our feeling becoming entangled by becoming a obsession that cancels our identity.

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Video: How to motivate yourself to change your behavior. Tali Sharot. TEDxCambridge (June 2022).