What is emotional addiction? How to break the cycle?

From explaining emotional addiction to how people can break from such a toxic cycle of fear and anxiety, here is all that you need to know.

In relationships or in family, the way we connect to the other member is important. And soon, it forms the basis of the relationship. It portrays the connection and becomes the cycle through which we see the next day with the person. However, often the foundation of such relationships is built on the floor of crisis. Psychologist Nicole LePera, through her treatment of people with substance abuse, came across this emotional analysis – “I realized that it was not just the drug that people were addicted to— it was the emotional cycles within themselves. The excitement, the fear, the shame. Families who lived with or love addicts are often within that same addictive crisis cycle. For many, it’s the only way they feel connected,” she reflected on her experience.


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This is what emotional addiction looks like – when the body and the mind does not feel safe within emotions of safety. They feel crisis, fear and anxiety as their home. “The cortisol + adrenaline spikes in the body create biochemical changes people become dependent on. Just as they’re dependent on external substances,” read an excerpt of her post. But how do we break free from such cycles of emotional addiction? Nicole cited a few tips:


Peace: It is important to make the mind feel safe in safe situations. It is also important to let the body know that it is okay to feel good.

Unlearn: When we are brought up in homes with rampant crisis situations, we often recognise our emotions with the feeling of anxiety. It is recommended to unlearn.

Chaos: We often look for chaos or create a situation of such emotions in order to feel honey. We need to stop and reflect.

Rebalance: “There is actually a state of withdrawal within the body when you stop engaging in these cycles. The nervous system will need to rebalance. Sleep, get sunlight, eat as well as you can,” wrote Nicole.

Boundaries: Draw boundaries and be specific about them. “You are worthy of a peaceful, slow, nourishing life free from adrenaline and cortisol spikes,” Nicole wrapped her post.


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