Thought addiction (TA) is not a popular term to the general public or professionals, but the knowledge about its effects are spreading through the addiction field.
Thought addiction is very powerful, it is a fact and is a real addiction. What is very true is every addiction is driven by a thought. Thoughts like "drinking will make me more social", "I perform better on a drug" and "no one will like me if I am not high".
The cause of a thought addiction is when you focus a thought like - "if I drink then I will be more sociable", "I am smarter if I use a substance" or "using will numb out my pain", do that behavior and for a short time that thought is correct. The more you do the behavior the truer the thought becomes. When you attempt to stop the addiction the thought which started it is the last barrier to true healing or sobriety.
Whether it is substance addiction, eating addiction, emotional addiction, gambling addiction or sex addiction every addiction starts with a thought.
Let's break down this concept to a simpler idea. Understand every act in life starts with a thought. If the thought that started the addictive emotion, behavior or substance cycle is not resolved then that original thought will stand in the way of true healing or sobriety.
Because when a person becomes sober or attempts to heal from PTSD, the person is left with the original thought that started the addictive behavior in the first place. If the TA is not addressed in recovery then it highly possible that a relapse will occur due to the original thought which started emotion or behavior remains and the most important issue to resolve.
Post abuse, addiction or trauma, when the thoughts were formed during the events are not addressed, the thoughts can intensify the need to relapse and/or PTSD symptoms. Lingering distorted thoughts have no respect for time. Formed negative thoughts can strike at any time. Sometimes PTSD symptoms can surface or become more intense because of being triggered by a thought addiction.
How a thought addiction forms
Thought addiction causes suffering when a distorted, illogical, old core beliefs, a negative thought or set of such thoughts surface from your subconscious mind into your conscious mind. Once surfaced the thought or thoughts begin to loop uncontrollably in your mind. These types of thoughts seem to go on repeating endlessly no matter what you do. You feel unable to stop it.
These thought(s) can become so intense that you become intensely focused in looping of negative thinking, self-limiting ideas or negative beliefs. At that point, the beliefs or thoughts seem to take over your mind and feels like it is swallowing all your control and confidence.
To make it simpler and more understandable, think about when a song gets stuck in your head and no matter what you try you can not get rid of it in your head. Even if you go to sleep when you wake up these looping thoughts are still there. A thought addiction is the same experience and can cause you to act inappropriately to erase or quiet the thought even if it is hurtful to yourself or inappropriate.
Thought Addiction is Misunderstood
Thought addiction is a distorted thought that becomes true and starts you into repeating an emotion, behavior or substance.
A thought addiction can cause devastating effects to you mentally, physically and your health, as well as your well, being. These types of thoughts can overwhelm and overtake your mind causing false emotions and inappropriate behavior.
There are many different types of looping thoughts that can become addictive:
fears (real or imagined)
uncontrollable focus on a behavior
over focusing on an emotion
over predicting about an upcoming event
Tips on Thought Addiction Effects
If a looping thought is caught in the beginning stages, the thought set of thoughts can be shifted to become positive and productive. If not, then unshifted the thought(s) could result in additional addictions or destroy your attempts at PTSD recovery.
If your thought addiction is not caught until after you have to become sober Then the original thought addiction that got you started in another addiction will surface and you will surely relapse.
Good news. Even if the thought addiction is found after sobriety has begun, the original thought(s) which caused the thought addiction can be shifted and made a productive and positive thought, therefore, averting a relapse, as well as surfacing of inappropriate behaviors, increased negative self-defeating beliefs, increased PTSD symptoms, emergence of strong overwhelming negative emotions or possible destructive acting out behaviors.