Why Do I Keep Making the Same Mistakes?

 In Articles

Have you found yourself doing the same thing over and over despite knowing it’s not good for you? We all eat too much food, or binge on junk food knowing it will not make us feel good. We skip the gym or procrastinate to watch a Netflix series knowing that we will regret it later. We all find ourselves at some point falling into unhealthy habits regardless if they are good for us or not. Why do we do this? Why do we continue negative behavior despite negative consequences?

For many of us, bingeing on junk food or Netflix shows is a way for us to cope with our stressful lives. It’s a way for us to relax even though we may very well be aware that it is not the best self-care technique. We all need an escape sometimes, but for some people, it can be taken to the extreme and it is here where our unhealthy habits can turn into an addiction. When we start relying on things like TV, junk food, or drugs and alcohol to help us manage our lives, although it may never be the intention for it to turn into an addiction, at some point it takes over. In the beginning, these choices may help you feel relaxed or calm, but if there is a lack of other healthy coping mechanisms, it can take over our lives, leaving chaos and destruction in its wake. 

Truly, we are creatures of habit. As humans, we fall into certain habits and learn to rely on deceptive coping mechanisms even when they are not healthy.  Turning to drugs or alcohol in order to avoid uncomfortable emotions for many people is a coping mechanism. Once one has become reliant on a substance or behavior it can start to change the way they think, feel and act as it starts to make changes in the brain. When someone is under the influence it can result in greater impulsivity and poor decision making.

So, Why Do I Keep Doing Things I Know are Bad for Me? 

An unhealthy habit becomes an addiction once it starts to negatively influence one’s life. The criteria for Substance Use Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) requires that an individual continues to use a substance or behavior despite the negative consequences. Several factors can contribute to turning an unhealthy habit into an addiction:

Genetics: 

Research has shown that some people have a predisposition to developing an addiction that is connected to their genetics. One’s genetics could determine how the drug impacts them resulting in a more positive euphoric response with limited negative effects. Genetics can also contribute to the development of an addictive personality. However, genetics are not the only factor that can predispose someone to addiction, is it also linked to one’s environment and personal experiences. 

Trauma: 

There is a strong relationship between trauma and substance abuse. Traumatic events often negatively impact one’s life including one’s ability to function and substance abuse can be a way to escape the pain. Events such as childhood trauma, neglect, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, natural disasters, accidents, war, domestic abuse, can leave lasting mental and emotional scars that can be hard to heal and live with.

Self Medicating: 

Many individuals may self medicate using substances to help with their mental health or physical pain. Many substances can dull the pain and help them navigate their lives.

Stress: 

Chronic stress coupled with poor coping skills can contribute to the development of an addiction as it can increase impulsivity and the aforementioned self-medication. Stress can contribute to the development of an addiction, including its maintenance and resistance to treatment. This can be stress from work, relationships, finances and other areas of one’s life. It’s important to find different ways to reduce stress in one’s life and develop alternative coping mechanisms.

Social Connection: 

We are social beings and we need healthy connections to others to support our well-being. Some people may use drugs or alcohol as a way to help them connect with others. They may start to rely on it to form connections despite negative consequences to help them meet this need.

Poverty: 

Those who live in an environment that is not conducive to economic growth are at greater risk of developing a substance use disorder. When one lives in poverty they are more likely to be bored, get exposed to the drug trade and lack access to rehabilitation and recovery resources. Those who live in poorer communities also have an increase in mental health issues, stress, and traumatic events all factors related to substance abuse.

Changes in the Brain: 

Research has shown that addiction can change the way the brain processes and integrates information. These changes in the brain result in increased motivation to seek out drugs and decrease the inhibitory control areas of the brain. An individual can lose their self-awareness and is controlled by cravings and compulsive drug-taking behavior.

Often, one turning towards a familiar addiction serves a purpose by helping them to fulfill a need in their life, although they are choosing to go about it in an unhealthy way. Since this can become someone’s main coping mechanism, it’s likely that they’ll continue the behavior, even despite the negative consequences. Stacked against them are the reasons cited above, in addition to the physical changes to one’s brain chemistry making it harder to learn new healthy behaviors.  

Addiction Treatment in West LA

To overcome an addiction, people need to find a healthy way to cope with the stressors in their lives so they rely less on their addiction to relieve them from facing their difficult emotions. In addition to a new way of thinking about their once-favorite pastime, individuals also need the support of a treatment team and recovery community to make a commitment to their sobriety and remain firm in their efforts to end their continued negative behavior. Launch Centers in Los Angeles provides addiction treatment to those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. Give us a call to learn about how Launch Centers can help you change your life and achieve your goals at 866-891-5757

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