Compulsive & Addictive Behaviour

‘Naughty but nice!’ that’s how some people describe the urge to do things that get them into far more trouble than the occasional chocolate binge, shopping trip, cigarette or drink etc. In fact, for most people who suffer from lack of impulse control the sense of enjoyment or relief that follows an action very fleeting; then comes the remorse, guilt, shame, despair and even the lies.

Do you notice that you:
Compulsive Behaviour bulletCarry on even though it is causing problems at home or work
bulletFeel mounting tension just before carrying out the behaviour
bulletPut yourself or others at risk
bulletExperience pleasure or relief immediately after the behaviour
bulletNeed to do the behaviour more and more to reach excitement
bulletHave tried to stop or control your behaviour several times
bulletAre out of sorts when you try to stop
bulletUse your habit to feel better or escape from problems
bulletLie to yourself and/or others about the extent of your behaviour
bulletBorrow money or you are in debt to finance your behaviour
bulletAre suffering ill health as a result of this habit

If some of the above is true and you’re finding it hard to live life effectively, you are possibly suffering from addictive or compulsive behaviour.

If you cannot control your urge, maybe it’s time to enlist some help. Maybe you are not yet a criminal, obese, have health problems or in serious debt you could be in the very near future. You may feel ashamed of having an uncontrollable addiction or compulsive behaviour and this can contribute to low self esteem and affect every area of your life. All the secrecy and embarrassment can be causing you great anxiety too.

What Causes Compulsion or Addiction?

The reasons behind addictive and compulsive behaviour are many and varied, and may include: genetics; social influences; low self-esteem; early parenting; chaotic lifestyle; having lived with or are living with violent distressing experiences; injury; post traumatic stress or PTSD.

What Can I Do To Help Myself?

bulletUnderstand your behaviour by writing a journal of your history of addiction or compulsion. In the journal, list all your experiences, situations, hurts, sadness, helplessness etc, that led to an episode of addictive/compulsive behaviour, and recall the feelings that accompanied and followed each episode.

bulletWrite a list of consequences to you and a list of consequences to others (include feelings of guilt, disgust, disappointment, destruction, legal, social, vocational or relational).

bulletMake a chart and rate your episodes from 1-10 (10 represents the strongest urge to succumb to your compulsion down to 0 where you were able to resist).

bulletBe honest with yourself and notice from your writing and chart, what were you really trying to express through your behaviour, rather than using words to express your needs?

bulletCompliment yourself when you have actively stopped yourself from succumbing to your addiction or compulsion.

Seeking Professional Help

Remember, you don’t have to suffer a moment longer, you can access help by calling me, Dawn Haworth, on 07818 840 841 or email

What Sort of Issues have People Brought To Therapy?
bulletCompulsive habits
bulletExcessive washing
bulletExercise addiction
bulletFood addiction
bulletInternet/social media addiction
bulletIntrusive thoughts
bulletShopping addiction