Treatment For Soft-Addictions

April 27th, 2011 | Posted by Sherry Gaba in Addiction

By: Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life and Recovery Coach on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your copy of “Eliminate Limiting Beliefs”, from Sherry’s, Enrich Your Life series. Contact Sherry at for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.

There is a gray area of addiction, where the consequences seem lighter and the behavior appears “normal”. These substances and activities can create havoc and serious issues, but they are not in the spotlight as being dangerous. What is a “soft” addiction? How is a “soft” addiction treated?

Self-identified addicts that seek treatment are usually at rock bottom. Their disease has manifested dire consequences in their life. They may have used all of their financial resources, lost their family, their jobs and be suffering from extreme physical effects. We do not only have to be aware of the one end of the addiction spectrum. There is an increase of individuals who suffer from “soft” addictions. Their activities and substance of choice can appear to be completely normal, but the consequences can be devastating.

What Is A Soft Addiction?

Soft addiction refers to substances and activities that usually do not have extreme consequences. Soft addiction can involve any of the following items:

  • Caffeine
  • Gossiping
  • Procrastination
  • Extreme Texting/ IM’ing
  • Watching T.V.
  • Nail Biting
  • Email/ Internet Use

Red Flags For Soft Addictions

There are many other substances or activities that can be added to this list. Any activity that robs you of time and energy need to be evaluated. Behaviors that allow you to hide or escape can be problematic. These activities aren’t always seen as an “addiction”, due to their legal status and the fact that many people engage in these behaviors. The consequences are not seen as harsh. However, these “soft” addictions will create a chaotic life, filled with preoccupation and loss of energy. How does one treat “soft” addiction?

Treatment Options For Soft Addictions

In many situations, using the principles to treat “hard” addictions can be easily transferred to treating “soft” addictions. Having the person identify that they may have a problem, along with examining the triggers and motivation for their actions is a positive step towards treatment. By expressing to your client the importance of awareness, this allows room to offer your client alternative activities. It is common for the client to actively make choices that will curb their “soft” addiction. Once they have a list of behaviors to be mindful of, along with options to curb their current behavior, recovery is made possible.

Recovery Is Possible

While checking your email daily may not be a problem, being obsessed about checking your email every few minutes hinders your ability to complete other daily tasks. Soft addictions may not have horrific consequences, but they do not serve you in a positive manner. Creating an environment of awareness, mindfulness and offering tools to change these harmful habits will empower those suffering from “soft” addictions a way out. Once they are aware of the implications of their behavior, most will opt for creating healthy habits. These healthy habits, in moderation, will serve them in a positive way, thus increasing their quality of life.

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