Before we get into the ins and outs of addiction, self-reflection is the first step in identifying if addiction is present. Self-reflection is encouraged straight out of the gates not because the addiction is a spouses fault (it isn't) but because the spouse's recovery is separate from the person with the addiction. If a person wonders is their spouse has an addiction to police them, convince them to get help or to decide for their spouse that they indeed do have an addiction, coming to the conclusion that the spouse is an addict will have little value. If you're wondering about an addiction so that you can identify how you can respond to it and how to begin your own recovery, then knowing if an addiction is present or not will be helpful. Reflect on your intent.
There is a big difference between a problem, a habit and an addiction. A problem, by definition, is "a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome and harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome." Playing a lot of videogames is a problem.
A habit is "a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up." Playing videogames instead of hanging out with the family or instead of doing homework is a habit.
An addiction is the fact or condition of being physiologically or psychologically dependent on to a particular substance, thing or activity. Playing videogames for hours, neglecting family or other responsibilities, losing sleep to play videogames or having the majority of focus being on when you can next play videogames is an addiction.
A person with addiction typically has relationships deteriorate because the behavior becomes so excessive, extreme or disruptive. They also seem unable to stop engaging in the specific behavior, even when the individual experiences negative consequences that are directly related to the behavior.
Although the DSM 5 is very specific in what can or can't be considered a diagnosable addiction, there are any number of behaviors and substances that fall into that category.
If there are additional questions, concerns or if the consideration of these things seems to be a fit, have an open conversation with your spouse about your thoughts, feelings and the plans you have to begin your own recovery
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