From our experience emotional addiction usually precedes physical or chemical addiction.
In every case it's different of course.
But the pattern is that, if left alone, the emotional reasons behind an addiction, will work away in the background, below conscious awareness, then manifest from time to time as aggression/anxiety/other uncharacteristic behaviour, in a bid to protect access to the coping mechanism that alcohol or drugs have become.
This pattern will repeat itself over time, with both the addicted individual and family members entering into different degrees of denial, in order to maintain the status quo and prevent their loved one experiencing any kind of pain.
Meanwhile, in the background, the body's tolerance level physically and chemically for the substance grows and expands. The chemical requirements become greater and more difficult to satisfy as neurons become habituated in their reactions every time the alcohol or drugs are consumed.
And so the cycle continues. An event in the outside world gets interpreted with a certain meaning that acts as a trigger (e.g. "I'm not good enough"/"I'm not important"/connection to previous trauma) that pushes the individual emotionally back into the substance in order to feel good enough/worthy/etc, then the physical addiction comes into play and increases the amount of the substance required each time in order to satisfy the emotional craving.
Most folks in the latter phases of addiction will seek advice at a time when they are desperate as a result of the physical consequences of their addiction...but the physical symptoms are the last point in time that your body has alerted you to these issues.
They are the last point of expression of the inward struggle of the emotional addiction.
Seek professional help initially to understand "why am I addicted?" before the addiction gets a chance to express itself at a physical level.
Is this easy? No. But this is the work required to plan:
- alternative, more functional supports for those trigger situations;
- counselling or other emotional help with the underlying issues behind the addiction, e.g. self-esteem beliefs, core beliefs, etc
- the basic structural foundation back in life
...and these, are the fundamentals, of long term recovery from addiction.
Call us now on 01733 530 417 for free advice, on your unique situation.