First, let’s define an addiction. My definition is any behaviour that we indulge in to an unhealthy extent because we feel compelled to.
So that might include:
- Overeating – or the opposite – compulsive dieting
- Drugs – prescription or non-prescription, soft or hard
- Over working
- The internet
- Any kind of obsessive compulsive behaviour
The commonalities are:
- A behaviour that causes some kind of problem, which might be physical, emotional, social or financial
- A belief that we enjoy the activity and it makes us feel better
- The true cause – some kind of anxiety that we can’t pinpoint, or that we don’t want to face, or a way to avoid doing something else
For example, you believe that surfing the internet relaxes you and you enjoy it. But the real reason you feel better might be that it enables you to avoid admitting that your marriage or job is in jeopardy. Or it might be stopping you working on a project that’s important to you. The anxiety there might be worry about whether you’ll be successful.
So, how does this relate to cravings?
The craving to indulge in our favourite activity is really anxiety. Any number of compulsive activities could cover it up. You might be able to use willpower to break your addiction but chances are something else will fill the void. That’s why many people stop smoking, then overeat.
So the primary way we’d approach an addiction of any kind is with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). We can work from different angles and use it in three ways:
- To help reduce the craving when it arises
- By looking at what triggers your addiction and reprogramming the habits
- To reduce the underlying level of anxiety so that you don’t need to push it down any more
We may still need to address the physical aspects.
It may be as simple as adjusting your protein / fat / carb ratios, or eliminating simple sugars for a while.
Food cravings are often caused by allergies. The substance we are addicted to might be a substance we are allergic to. So we may need to examine allergies as well, to rebalance the body at a biochemical level, as well as an emotional one.
We may also need to consider when the cravings kick in and create some new habits to distract us at certain times.