Addictions impact mental health and success


I’ve had an interesting coming together of influences this week to inspire today’s topic (in the end only a minor detour from our Editorial Calendar). I had a request to write about addiction, and of course today is World Mental Health Day… So, I’ve decided to combine these and write about them in our usual context… [If you are in immediate need of assistance, please refer to the Hotlines provided here]

There are a number of addictions that impact our Journey. The most common addictions that you might be familiar with, and possibly even have in your own life, include:

Substance Related Additions – Illicit Drugs, Prescription Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Nicotine, Caffeine, Sugar

Behavior Related Addictions – Gambling, Internet, Gaming, Shopping, Plastic Surgery, Sex & Love, Codependency, Risk Taking, Anger, Exercise, Work

Yes, I’m adding Codependency as an addiction… This has also been called “Relationship Addiction”… In a nutshell, this is when a partner is so focused on the other partner’s wellbeing that they lose sight of taking care of themselves, and they have a difficult time changing this pattern of behavior…

Most of my writing has this lens as an underlying theme… I usually cover this from the angle of not Owning Ourselves and Loving Too Much… And, even have a simple test to determine if one loves too much – you can get it here: 40 Signs that You Love TOO Much

Addictions alter the functioning of the brain and hence impact Mental Health, some are even considered a Mental Illness themselves, and frequently they are co-morbid, co-occurring, or dual-diagnosis with other Mental Illnesses (anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, OCD, and so on)…

Addictions and Mental Illness are very intricately connected sometimes making it difficult to determine if either is the cause of the other… They affect brain structure (refer to the image below) and levels of neurochemicals affecting overall functioning and wellbeing.

The main neurotransmitters affected include:

  • Serotonin – associated with regulating body temperate, sleep, arousal, appetite, mood, pain
  • Dopamine – related to experiences of pleasure and the reward-learning process
  • Norepinephrine – helps moderate stress response

When our Mental Health (brain) is impacted, everything in our life is impacted…

We are born with a basic brain organ that continues to develop as we grow. It is actually not fully formed until our early 20s (Brainstorm)! The interactions, experiences and lifestyle we have growing up impact how our brain forms, develops and functions… This in turns informs our personality, gifts, skills, perceptions and pretty much everything else about us.

Addictions have been associated with attachment injuries and trauma (less than perfect parenting…) growing up, which impact the development of the connection center in the brain and the ability to self-regulate… This has obvious implications for relationship success…

Thankfully, the brain doesn’t stay static – it has neuroplasticity which means we can further develop it, enhance it, change it, and even heal it as desired. This is amazing news because we are not stuck with the brain we have (The Brain Warrior’s Way)… Whatever has been the negative impact on our brain it can be corrected.

Below is an image of brain scans conducted by Dr. Amen, psychiatrist, brain expert and founder of the Amen Clinics, that show a healthy brain and afflicted brains. Believe or not, he has demonstrated that the afflicted brains can pretty much go back to looking like the healthy one!

We can reverse any developmental and lifestyle negative impacts that have affected our brain. This means we can biohack our brain for relationship and life success!

So, where do we start? We start with the basics – self-regulating to begin rewiring, rebuilding, and further developing the parts that plays such a significant role in how we feel, connect and show up in our life…

Self-regulation can be tackled from so many angles… A basic and very accessible way is through Lifestyle changes… Sleep, nutrition, exercise, self-care, mindfulness practices and the like are key elements for creating Mental Health… Hence all the focus in my writing on building great daily routines with powerful wellness, connection and success habits…

It’s never too late to fix your brain and create your best life! 

Assignment: If you know you want to have your best life – live a long, healthy, productive, impactful and joyous life, then you have to do what it takes to make that happen… Are you willing to do that? Or, are you ok settling for mediocracy? If you’d like to join me in creating our best life, then the first step is in identifying what in your lifestyle is messing with your brain…

Then, create a plan to remove that – replacing it with a better Habit to help with your Discipline around it… And, finally is putting the pieces in place to support implementing your plan. Have at it, and have fun!

If it was easy to have a World Class Life, everyone would have one… Will you do what it takes to have yours? Decide now, and go for it!

Complete the Assignment, and share your takeaway, insights, and results with a note in the Comments box at the end! I’d love to hear how you are using this content.

Happy Fixing!




   Copyright (c) 2019 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.


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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com


About Emma

Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT has been in the mental health profession in varying capacities for the past 20+ years. She is the Founder and Director of MetroRelationship.com a psychotherapy and coaching practice specializing in working with busy professional and entrepreneurial couples who are struggling getting on the same page and feeling connected. The work helps couples create a radiant and successful relationship and meaningful life by becoming a strong partnership and increasing their connection, intimacy, and fun. Emma is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and the Successful Relationship Strategy™.

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