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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

The Explanation of Addiction

In the corporate world and in our our clinical practice, we find ourselves being told that someone has an "addictive personality". I know it is true and we can spot it as we get to know the players. What we find is that people don't always know what they mean when they say "Addiction" and they use the term loosely even when someone, in my opinion, is just "spirited." Addiction is often brought on by stress in those people who have a genetic defect in a defined area of the brain. Addictions include drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling and/or spending. A typical hallmark symptom is a loss of control, craving and persistent abuse in spite of negative consequences. These consequences can include marital conflict, missing work, poor performance reviews, DWIs, and other legal snarl es. According to Dr. Kevin McCauley from the Institute for Addiction Study, "Addiction meets the standard definition of disease even better than MS and Schizophrenia." It is not negotiable that people with true addictions learn to manage stress better. In the Smart Zone we talk about making sure you know how to empty your bucket when it gets full. More importantly, we all need to know when our buckets are getting full - when the stress is piling on. For those with addictions, it is mandatory that they be better bucket emptiers. Many people loose the ability to manage their emotions so it is also important that they increase their emotional intelligence so they are more emotionally in sync with themselves. People who are addicted to whatever can't get by with blaming their addiction on a brain malformation or their genetic history in my opinion. We all now know that addictions can be managed with the proper support and tools to overcome the tendency. This blog submission is being written with one person in particular in mind. It is for the wife of one of the executives we have worked with in a business outside of Texas. It is to help support the family who is working hard to deal with this thing called addiction that is a source of destruction for a husband, father, son and boss. But I believe that this information can help anyone who suspects that someone they care about, work with, or live with. Even people with addiction can work in the Smart Zone. It is just even more important that they recognize what they need to do for their sake as well as the sake of others.

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