Thursday, July 19, 2007
Medical Reports: Medical: Addiction Alert
When most people think of addictions, they think cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. But tonight, Seven's Richard Lemus has an Addiction Alert involving some of your daily routines.
WSVN -- Most of us consider relaxing in front of the TV or browsing the 'net completely normal, same for using the cell phone.
Alex Buitrago addicted to his cell phone: "I'm always on the phone. If I need something it is handy."
Fernando feels working out seven days a week is healthy.
Fernando Capablanca, addicted to exercise: "I probably spend close to 200 if not $300 a month just on the supplements, vitamins, minerals, shakes that I take daily."
But friends and family started telling him it was getting a bit extreme.
Fernando Capablanca: "Friends and family have told me that I work out too much. Why do I have to spend three or four hours in the gym a day? And, to me, it's just become part of my regimen."
Turns out both Alex and Fernando might have what doctors are calling a "soft addiction," meaning you're not addicted to a drug, but an activity.
Dr. Ana Rivas-Vazquez, psychiatrist: "Sometimes soft addictions go rather unnoticed and people use them because either it's sort of personality, their style and sometimes it's a way of reducing anxiety."
Soft addictions can be almost anything from shopping to playing computer games to overeating. Dr. Ana Rivas-Vazquez says it becomes a problem when it starts interfering with your life.
Dr. Ana Rivas-Vazquez: "If you engage in any behavior that is detrimental either to your health or either to your relations or to your pocket for that matter, then you know that you are really getting in trouble."
To overcome a soft addiction, Dr. Rivas-Vazquez says you must first recognize the problem.
Dr. Ana Rivas-Vazquez, psychiatrist: "You need to figure out, 'Is it because I'm depressed, and I go shopping because I feel depressed?'"
Next, get involved in other activities.
Dr. Ana Rivas-Vazquez, psychiatrist: "Try to find other ways, other methods that will help you reduce your anxiety."
And if you feel it's out of your control, look for professional help. As of now, Alex believes his addiction doesn't interfere with his personal life.
Alex Buitrago: "With the way technology is improving, I see myself using my cell phone more and more often than I do now."
And Fernando says also he recognizes a day will come when he has to cut back.
Fernando Capablanca: "In the future, I'd make a change if it was for my family, for a wife and for kids."
Richard Lemus: "Doctors say you also need to be careful not to substitute one fixation for another."